• What is the difference between たくさんの本を読んで and 本をたくさん読んで?

  • Is たくさん an adverb in this case?

Another example, 多くの食料が輸入される and 食料が多く輸入される where 多く is an adverb here.

  • I'm too much of a Japanese newbie to propose an actual answer, but here's my take on it: I suspect たくさん is one of those words that can fulfill multiple roles. In the first sentence, it's a noun (that, through の, acts like an adjective by describing membership in a category)... like in 紫の本を読んで. In the second, it's a counter (taking the place of, say, 3冊), which I suppose is considered an adverbial role.
    – rickster
    Commented Aug 19, 2015 at 6:41

2 Answers 2


「たくさんの本を読んで」 and 「本をたくさん読んで」 have the same meaning which is "read many books then...", "because of reading many books, ..." or something like that, I think.

たくさん in 「たくさんの本を読んで」 is a noun.

たくさん in 「本をたくさん読んで」 is a noun originally, but it's working as an adverb here.

Which たくさん should be used in a sentence depends on the context or the other words in the sentence.


One of the purposes of using adverb-type たくさん is not to use too many の in a sentence. For example,


this sentence contains five のs and it sounds too many. In some situations, using many のs sounds childish or having a poorer writing/speaking skill. There is a Japanese picture book called 『これはのみのぴこ』 in which の is used again and again, and the sentence seems to keep growing forever. (This is the cover and last page of the book, if you are interested in it.) It's fun and I like it. But the way of using の like the book is not practical for most adults.

Using adverb-type たくさん helps polish the sentence.


And dividing a sequence of の is commonly preferred. The sentence above can be modified like this.


This sentence looks better than the five-の version of it.

If there is no other の before 本を, 「たくさんの本を読んで」 is totally fine.


I think that 「多くの食料が輸入される」 and 「食料が多く輸入される」 also have the same meaning which is "Many foods are imported." or something like that.

In both cases of たくさん and 多く, it's common for Japanese people to select noun one or adverb one in order to make the meaning of a sentence clearer and to make a sentence sophisticated. I guess that the word balance in a sentence or sentences is the key. For example,


in this case, 輸入される already has a modifier 安全に before it. So, if a speaker says 「食料が多く安全に輸入される。」, the listener might feel it's a little congested before 輸入される while there is no word before 食料が, and her/his understanding process might not go smoothly. 「多くの食料が安全に輸入される。」 sounds more balanced and natural.


In this case, 食料 has a modifier 家畜用の before it. So, putting 多く before 輸入される is a better idea than 「多くの家畜用の食料が輸入される。」, I think. 「多くの家畜用の食料が輸入される。」 is not wrong, though.

If I combine the two sentences above to form a new sentence, I would say


This order of modifiers sounds natural to me. (By the way, I'm Japanese.)


Please note that there are other reasons people use noun-type one or adverb-type one. I can't explain all of them, sorry. I hope this answer is helpful.

  • 1
    Thank you for letting me know it. I edited the second link. Commented Aug 19, 2015 at 12:25

I think it's a difference in emphasis.

Case 1:


Here the thing that is emphasized is the number of books read. It's saying: (I) read a lot of books.

Case 2:


Here the thing that is emphasized is the action of reading. It's saying: (I) do a lot of reading of books.

That said, I think they're mostly equivalent.

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