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Jane Straus - The Number vs A Number

"The Number" vs "A Number"


 
Jane Straus is the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation and Enough is Enough! and developer of GrammarBook.com

 

 

The expression the number is followed by a singular verb while the expression a number is followed by a plural verb.
Examples:
The number of people we need to hire is thirteen.
A number of people have written in about this subject.

Pop Quiz
1. The number of people lined up for tickets was/were four hundred.
2. A number of suggestions was/were made.
3. There is/are a number of important announcements in the bulletin.
4. Here is/are the number of milk shakes you requested.

Pop Quiz Answers
1. The number of people lined up for tickets was four hundred.
2. A number of suggestions were made.
3. There are a number of important announcements in the bulletin.
4. Here is the number of milk shakes you requested.

 

 

Jane Strauss

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