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number

 

A number represents an amount that can be counted. The word "number" can be used as a noun or as a verb.

  • The crowd numbered in the thousands.
  • The teacher told the students to number their sentences.
  • Players on a football field are numbered so that fans can pick them out more easily. (pick them out = identify them)
  • I can number several good reasons for eating a healthy breakfast in the morning.

The word "number" is often used in front of a number when speaking about it directly.

  • The number four is evenly divisible by two.
  • The number three is not evenly divisible by two.
  • Five is Joe's lucky number.
  • The number seven is regarded as lucky.
  • The number 13 is regarded as being unlucky.
  • Tom Brady wears number 12 on his jersey.

The word "number" is often used in the form of a plural when talking about amounts of things that are significant.

  • The doctor told me to pay attention to the numbers on my health chart.
  • Our numbers are increasing at the school. (We're gaining students.)
  • Quarterly numbers indicate that the company made a good profit.
  • The numbers we're using show that profitability is possible within two years.
  • The numbers in this budget proposal just don't add up.

Notice that there is a difference between "a number" and "the number."

  • A number of people are interested in this subject. ("A number" is a plural subject in this sentence. We don't know what the number is, but we know it's greater than one.)
  • The number of people interested in this subect is increasing. ("The number" is a singular subject in this sentence. Here we are thinking of one number.)
  • The police arrested a number of people who were protesting in the street.
  • The number of people arrested was reported in the newspaper.
  • A number of people called to complain about the noise coming from the building. The city received about 30 calls.
  • This writing assignment has a number of mistakes on it. (This sounds like a lot of mistakes!)

number one fan

He claims to be the team's number one fan.

 

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This page was published on April 19, 2017.

 
 

 

 

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