Results 1 to 4 of 4
  1. #1
    Lenka is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    863
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default there were a quantity of...

    Why is verb "to be" used in plural in the sentence below?

    There were a quantity of overgrown lettuces.

    The word quantity is a singular noun, isn't it?

  2. #2
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    13,925
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: there were a quantity of...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lenka View Post
    Why is verb "to be" used in plural in the sentence below?

    There were a quantity of overgrown lettuces.

    The word quantity is a singular noun, isn't it?
    Yes, and was would be preferable. However, the user was thinking of "a quantity of" as meaning several, many, etc. It is a minor error.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    150
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: there were a quantity of...

    From Practical English Usage, by Michael Swan:

    "The expressions a number of and a group of are used with plural nouns and pronouns, and the verb that follows is also plural.

    A number of my friends
    are on holiday.
    A group of us have decided to hire a boat."

    I assume that the expression a quantity of is used in the same way.

    A quantity of lettuces were in the truck.

  4. #4
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    13,925
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: there were a quantity of...

    Quote Originally Posted by boothling View Post
    From Practical English Usage, by Michael Swan:

    "The expressions a number of and a group of are used with plural nouns and pronouns, and the verb that follows is also plural.

    A number of my friends are on holiday.
    A group of us have decided to hire a boat."

    I assume that the expression a quantity of is used in the same way.

    A quantity of lettuces were in the truck.
    Part of this is probably a difference between AE and BE. In AE, "group" is no different from "herd". It is a singular collective noun. "Number" is different. It doesn't fit the normal definition of collective. Even AE speakers would normally use a plural verb following a "number of.....".

    I see quantity as being different from all the others, since it can be used with non-count nouns.

    A quantity of ethanol was....
    A quantity of flour was....
    A quantity of sand was....

Similar Threads

  1. Pls comment this argument essay for GRE AW:)
    By creative in forum Editing & Writing Topics
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 30-Aug-2006, 01:06
  2. Pls comment this argument essay for GRE AW:)
    By creative in forum Editing & Writing Topics
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 25-Aug-2006, 18:53
  3. adverb of quantity
    By esophea in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 10-Feb-2006, 08:56
  4. Quantity
    By laura ionica in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 13-May-2005, 15:59
  5. Limited Quantity
    By jack in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 01-Dec-2004, 09:36

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •