Is "Number" Singular or Plural?
"The Number" Is SingularThe phrase "the number" is singular. For example:
- The number of visitors is increasing.
- The number has dropped dramatically.
- The number of votes was twenty-two.
"A Number Of" Is PluralThe phrase "a number" is plural. For example:
- A number of visitors are leaving.
- A number have disappeared.
- A number of votes were lost.
What Type of Word Is "Number"?When used in the phrase "the number," "number" is a common noun. It is similar to "quantity." However, when used in the term "a number," "number" is an indefinite pronouns. It is similar to "some."
More about "Number" as a Plural Indefinite PronounThe words "number" is classified as an indefinite pronouns when used in the term "a number." As an indefinite pronoun, "number" follows the same ruling as other indefinite pronouns such as "all," "any," "more," "most," and "some." These are singular when they refer to something singular but plural when they refer to something plural. For example:
- Some of the cheese has been eaten.
- Some of the biscuits have been eaten.
"A Number" Can be SingularWhen "a number" refers to the number symbols (i.e., not letters), it can be singular. For example:
- A number is visible beneath the varnish.
The Difference between "Amount" and "Number"The word "amount" should be used with a single item. The word "number" should be used when there is more than one.
- A large amount of people (This is wrong because "people" is plural.)
- A large amount of flour (This is correct because "flour" is singular.)
- A large number of people
- At that stage, a huge amount of sugar and a vast number of chocolate buttons are poured in and stirred. There is a short wait and then a seemingly infinite number of chocolates whizz along the belt.