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  1. CarloSsS's Avatar
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    #1

    dozens vs. tens

    When I say:

    Dozens of millions of dollars (I imagine an amount somewhere between 30 and 300 millions of dollars)
    Tens of millions of dollars (20 to 100 millions of dollars)

    what kind of numbers come to your mind? I imagine that, in this context, "dozens" refers to a higher amount of money than "tens". Are my estimations at least roughly in the same ballpark as yours?
    Please note that I'm not a teacher.

  2. CarloSsS's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: dozens vs. tens

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillnetter View Post
    How did you come up with a function of 10 (30 and 300) when using 12 as a multiplier? I have not heard of dozens of millions, though it is possible. I would imagine something like 24 or 36 million. Tens of millions is more common and generally means a large number. I wouldn't associate any particular number with tens of millions, just a lot of money.
    Longman dictionary (here dozen - Definition from Longman English Dictionary Online) says that "dozen" or "dozens of something" can informally mean "a lot of something", that's how I came to the rough estimation of "between 30 and 300 millions" -- that means a lot to me. I guessed that "dozens" does not have to necessarily refer to multiples of "12".

    In the dictionary, there's this example sentence "She's had dozens of boyfriends.", which is supposed to mean that she's had a lot of boyfriends. Can it be used in this sense for money?
    Last edited by CarloSsS; 27-Jun-2012 at 18:09.
    Please note that I'm not a teacher.

  3. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: dozens vs. tens

    Quote Originally Posted by CarloSsS View Post
    Longman dictionary (here dozen - Definition from Longman English Dictionary Online) says that "dozen" or "dozens of something" can informally mean "a lot of something", that's how I came to the rough estimation of "between 30 and 300 millions" -- that means a lot to me. I guessed that "dozens" does not have to necessarily refer to multiples of "12".

    In the dictionary, there's this example sentence "She's had dozens of boyfriends.", which is supposed to mean that she's had a lot of boyfriends. Can it be used in this sense for money?
    No, it can't be used for money.

  4. CarloSsS's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: dozens vs. tens

    As far as "tens" are concerned, does it mean that "tens of something" does not usually refer to multiples of 10? For example, "tens of plates" doesn't mean 10, 20, 30... plates?
    Please note that I'm not a teacher.

  5. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: dozens vs. tens

    Quote Originally Posted by CarloSsS View Post
    As far as "tens" are concerned, does it mean that "tens of something" does not usually refer to multiples of 10? For example, "tens of plates" doesn't mean 10, 20, 30... plates?
    We wouldn't say "tens of plates", at least not in most dialects (no, I don't know of any dialects where it is used), we would use "dozens".

  6. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: dozens vs. tens

    Simply, we'd say:
    There were thousands of people there.
    There were hundreds of people there.
    There were dozens of people there.

    Millions of dollars were spent...
    Tens of millions of dollars were spent...

    But we would not say "There were dozens of hundreds of people there" or "There were dozens of millions of dollars spent."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #7

    Re: dozens vs. tens

    Quote Originally Posted by CarloSsS View Post
    As far as "tens" are concerned, does it mean that "tens of something" does not usually refer to multiples of 10? For example, "tens of plates" doesn't mean 10, 20, 30... plates?
    No, it's an estimate. If I said "there were hundreds of people there" I wouldn't mean there had to be an even number multiple of 100. There could be 326 people.

    "Tens of" is not usually used.

  7. CarloSsS's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: dozens vs. tens

    Thank you all for your responses. Still, I'm not very clear about the usage of "tens", "hundreds", "thousands" etc. What else, apart from money, can it be used for? What about these? Are they natural?

    tens/hundreds/thousands of people (that should be all right, at least "hundreds" and "thousands" is fine in my book)
    tens/hundreds/thousands of apples
    tens/hundreds/thousands of trees
    tens/hundreds/thousands of cows
    Last edited by CarloSsS; 27-Jun-2012 at 18:57.
    Please note that I'm not a teacher.

  8. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: dozens vs. tens

    I think the confusion here is stemming from that use of "tens of millions of dollars". That is one of the only uses I can think of for "tens of + anything"! And we really do only associate that "tens of" with "thousands", "millions", "billions" or even "trillions" but nothing smaller. We never say "tens of hundreds", probably because that would be the same as "thousands".

    For almost everything else, we (inexplicably) use "dozens" as the smallest suggestion of "lots of".

    There were dozens of apples.
    There were hundreds of apples.
    There were thousands of apples.

    There were dozens of trees.
    There were hundreds of trees.
    There were thousands of trees.

    There were dozens of cows.
    There were hundreds of cows.
    There were thousands of cows.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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