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  1. #1
    Unregistered Guest

    Default problem with the word "number" plurial or singular (there are a large number of...)

    I would have said : "there is a large number of galaxies"... Why must we say "there are" ?
    And, what is the right sentence : "the large number of galaxies is" or "the large number of galaxy are" ?

    Thank you !

  2. #2
    MrPedantic is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: problem with the word "number" plurial or singular (there are a large number of..

    Hello Unreg,

    1. The number of visitors to the website has decreased.
    2. A number of visitors to the website have complained about its controversial content.

    It depends on the meaning of the sentence.

    In #1, for example, it is the number that has "decreased". The underlined part simply qualifies "number". So the verb is singular.

    In #2, on the other hand, it is the visitors who have "complained". The underlined part simply qualifies (pre-modifies) "visitors". So the verb is plural.

    Let me know if it's still puzzling!

    Best wishes,

    MrP

    Not a professional ESL teacher.

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