You may have seen the phrase “Lots of love” at the end of an email, in a greeting card, or even on a mug or t-shirt in a souvenir shop. What does this phrase mean, and when is it correct to use?
It is correct to say “Lots of love” in informal writing to someone with whom you share a deep personal relationship. Usually, you would use this phrase as a closing salutation at the end of a note. For example, you might receive a birthday card signed “Lots of love, Grandma” from your grandmother.
Read on to learn more about the origins and uses of this phrase.
What Does “Lots of Love” Mean?
“Lots of love” is an informal expression you use to show a great deal of affection toward another person. It usually signals the close of a conversation, card, or other written message to a loved one.
Both of the keywords in this phrase have multiple meanings in English, so let’s look at them more closely.
In this expression, “love” is a noun that means a feeling of deep affection (source). It differs from the intimate love you feel toward a romantic partner and your fondness for chocolate cake. In “lots of love,” you are speaking of the bond between close family members, such as between children and parents.
“Lot” also has multiple meanings. You might think of “a lot” as a piece of land, such as a parking lot. But here, we are using “lots” as an informal way of saying “a lot” to describe a large quantity or degree of something (source).
This use of “lot” originates from the Old English word “hlot” which means a portion designated to someone (source). Other English words such as “allot” and “lottery” share the same root word.
When we put the meanings together, we see that “lots of love” describes a great degree of affection or strong fond feelings toward another person.
How Do You Use “Lots of Love”?
“Lots of love” is an informal phrase that usually functions as a closing salutation in written communication. For example, we typically write it in a letter, card, or email, but you can also say it to someone before you leave.
There are multiple ways to express quantity or degree in English. Some are formal, others are informal, and a few are suitable in either situation. “Lots” is among the most informal options (source).
“A lot” is another common way of saying “much” or “many.” By using the plural form, “lots,” you imply that “a lot” is insufficient to describe the amount or degree you intend to communicate.
This emphasis on magnitude evokes an emotional response in the reader, which is why we are careful only to use “Lots of love” when addressing those closest to us.
When Can You Use “Lots of Love”?
Usually, you use “Lots of love” when directly addressing another person, and you want to remind that person of your deep affection toward them. You seldom use this phrase when you are simply describing your feelings.
You use “Lots of love” in direct addresses because the phrase developed as an expression of love, not a description of love.
In an earlier example, Grandma used “Lots of love” in a birthday card. It looks and sounds natural in a greeting card and works as a closing in other forms of personal communication, including personal letters, emails, and text messages.
In a text message, “Lots of love” could even stand alone to say “I’m thinking about you.” If you like to leave handwritten notes for your family members, you might even include “Lots of love” on a note in your child’s lunch or your spouse’s car.
Using “Lots of Love” in a Full Sentence
“Lots of love” is a minor sentence you may use without any other words. You will rarely use it in a full sentence.
A minor sentence is a grammatically incomplete sentence missing a subject, a verb, or both but still functions as a complete sentence (source).
When you write “Lots of love,” the reader understands that you mean “I wish you lots of love” or “I send this with lots of love.” English speakers have shortened this expression through everyday use to a minor sentence that represents the more significant meaning.
You usually write “Lots of love” to the person you love, not simply about that person. When you write about your love for another person (or object), you need to use a complete sentence instead of a minor sentence:
- I have lots of love for chocolate cake.
- I put lots of love into buying gifts for my family.
- My puppy greeted me with lots of love when I came home.
Two of these examples give us a picture of affection. One shows affection between a gift giver and her recipients, and the other shows affection between a puppy and his human companion.
The example about chocolate cake looks out of place. This is because we use “lots of love” to express affection, and no matter how much you like chocolate cake, it will never be with the same kind of love you would show another person.
When Not to Use “Lots of Love”
Do not use “lots of love” in formal writing or contexts that aren’t about affectionate feelings. It is too informal for most contexts and awkward to use with people outside of close friends and relatives.
As we see from the chocolate cake example above, our love for food, music, or activities differs from our love for people and pets. “Lots of love” works exclusively with the interpersonal definition of love.
Of course, we wouldn’t use such an endearing expression with everyone, but only with those closest to us. You probably wouldn’t sign a card to a coworker with “Lots of love,” and you would probably avoid using it at the end of a group email or text to multiple friends. These situations don’t rise to the level of affection that “Lots of love” expresses.
For this reason, you would never use “Lots of love” in any kind of formal communication. So if you send emails to business associates, classmates, or others with whom you have a more cordial or professional relationship, choose salutations that suit the context.
What Can You Use Instead of “Lots of Love”?
Below are suitable closings for formal writing where “Lots of love” is not appropriate, as well as alternate ways to express your affection to your close friends and family.
In a professional setting, use one of these common phrases to close a message or letter:
- Much thanks
In a friendly conversation where you want to be less formal but still don’t want to appear overly affectionate, try some of these closings:
- Stay well
- All the best
Even when writing to close friends and family, you can add variety by using these substitutes:
- Much love
- All my love
- Hugs and kisses
In a full sentence, you may substitute “a lot” for “lots,” especially if you don’t need to express as much emotion.
- I put a lot of love into buying gifts for my family.
- My puppy greeted me with a lot of love when I came home.
And when you describe your fondness for chocolate cake, it is usually sufficient to say, “I like chocolate cake a lot“ or “I really love chocolate cake.”
Noun Inflection with Countable and Uncountable Nouns
Inflection is a grammatical term that describes changes you make to a noun to show traits, such as whether a noun is singular or plural. Uncountable nouns do not have a distinct plural form.
Uncountable nouns (also called mass nouns) are nouns that you can describe in quantity or degree but not in a numerical way. Countable nouns are just that; things that you can count.
|Countable Nouns||Uncountable nouns|
One of the least complicated ways to tell if a noun is countable is to place a number in front of it and change it to a plural form:
- Two snowflakes
- Two snows
You see that “two snowflakes” sounds natural, but “two snows” doesn’t. That is because “snowflake” is countable, and “snow” is uncountable.
Like other uncountable nouns, snow does not change its inflection. You don’t change “snow” to “snows” when you have more. As a noun, it is always “snow.”
Certain adjectives that describe quantity and degree pair with countable nouns, and others pair with uncountable nouns (source). You might have a pitcher of ice water that contains too much water and many ice cubes. “Much” pairs with the uncountable water, while “many” describes the countable ice cubes.
To see more examples of uncountable nouns, read our article Is It Correct to Say “Much Love”?
“A lot” works with both countable and uncountable nouns. You can have a lot of soup or a lot of beans. “Lots” usually sounds odd with countable nouns, so we almost always pair it with uncountable nouns.
- Lots of money
- Lots of time
- Lots of love
This article was written for strategiesforparents.com.
As a noun, “love” is uncountable when it refers to a feeling. You don’t feel two or three loves; you simply feel some uncountable degree of love, whether a little or much love. So the correct form is always “Lots of love” and never “Lots of loves.”
“Lots of love” is a helpful way to express affection to another person. It is an expression you will only use in informal writing to someone with whom you share a deep personal relationship.