Number of

Summary: When to use a singular or a plural verb with the word 'number'.

With the word number, we sometimes use a singular verb and sometimes a plural.

A number of + plural verb

A number of is used with a plural countable noun and a plural verb:

  • A number of people have complained about the price increase.

The same is true with a large number:

  • A large number of protesters were outside the parliament building yesterday.

The number of + singular verb

  • It's a popular school and the number of students has risen again this year.

The numbers of + plural verb

  • The numbers of students are rising steadily.

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