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  1. milan2003_07's Avatar
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    #1

    a number / the number

    Hello.

    1) A number of severe health problems have been reduced with the help of modern treatment methods

    2) The number of severe health problems have been reduced with the help of modern treatment methods

    What's the difference between these 2 sentences, if any?

    Thanks

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    #2

    Re: a number / the number

    Hi.
    I'm not a teacher and I risk to be corrected by the experts, but I distinctly remember that

    a number of (several) + plural verb
    the number of (an amount that can be counted) + singular verb

    Longman Dictionary of Common Errors

  2. milan2003_07's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: a number / the number

    1) A number of severe health problems have been reduced with the help of modern treatment methods

    Here I think we definitely use "have" because, as Verona has said, "a number of something" really means "several", "some"

    2) The number of severe health problems have been reduced with the help of modern treatment methods

    What should we write here - "have" or "has"? Is "the number of" synonymous with "several from a fixed number"?

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    #4

    Re: a number / the number

    I would write 'has' in your second sentence; that's what I was taught; and it's not synonymous with 'several"



    The number of unemployed is rising steadily - that's an example from Swan's grammar

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    #5

    Re: a number / the number

    Quote Originally Posted by milan2003_07 View Post
    1) A number of severe health problems have been reduced with the help of modern treatment methods

    Here I think we definitely use "have" because, as Verona has said, "a number of something" really means "several", "some"

    2) The number of severe health problems have been reduced with the help of modern treatment methods

    What should we write here - "have" or "has"? Is "the number of" synonymous with "several from a fixed number"?
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Milan,


    (1) My books tell me that "A number of" = Many; "The number of"

    means exactly that.

    (a) A number of American newspapers have gone out business

    during the last decade.

    (b) The number of severe health problems has been reduced to 20

    (from the previous number of 35).


    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

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    #6

    Re: a number / the number

    I see now. Thanks!!!

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