Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 14
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Japanese
      • Home Country:
      • Japan
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Mar 2009
    • Posts: 363
    #1

    The number of

    Can I say, "The number of cars and car accidents is increasing," instead of "the number of cars and the number of car accidents are increasing"?
    If the answer is yes, can I use the form "The number of XXX (plural), YYY (plural), and ZZZ (plural) is increasing."?

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 41,925
    #2

    Re: The number of

    Quote Originally Posted by Snappy View Post
    Can I say, "The number of cars and car accidents is increasing," instead of "the number of cars and the number of car accidents are increasing"?
    If the answer is yes, can I use the form "The number of XXX (plural), YYY (plural), and ZZZ (plural) is increasing."?
    I would use "are". Effectively, you have said "The number of cars and the number of car accidents ..." so that's a total of two "numbers", therefore use the plural. It's easy to see why people would simply look at "The number" and assume it would be followed by "is" but you need to check the rest of the sentence.

    The number of cars is increasing.
    The number of car accidents is increasing.
    The number of cars and accidents are increasing.

    You might even hear "The numbers​ of cars and car accidents are increasing".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2009
    • Posts: 3,505
    #3

    Re: The number of

    Quote Originally Posted by Snappy View Post
    Can I say, "The number of cars and car accidents is increasing," instead of "the number of cars and the number of car accidents are increasing"?
    If the answer is yes, can I use the form "The number of XXX (plural), YYY (plural), and ZZZ (plural) is increasing."?
    I would use "is" because the subject is "number".

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 24,983
    #4

    Re: The number of

    Quote Originally Posted by billmcd View Post
    I would use "is" because the subject is "number".
    I would use "are" because the number is not the same in the two cases. So there are actually 2 numbers.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Japanese
      • Home Country:
      • Japan
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Jan 2013
    • Posts: 34
    #5

    Re: The number of

    I'm not a native speaker, but as billmcd says the subject it "number." I teach my students when the subject is singular, use "is." I would use "is" in this pattern.

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 24,983
    #6

    Re: The number of

    Quote Originally Posted by hetzer View Post
    I'm not a native speaker, but as billmcd says the subject it "number." I teach my students when the subject is singular, use "is." I would use "is" in this pattern.
    But there is an intended ellipsis after "and" in this case. This is a case of notional accord, which overrules the rule.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 57,937
    #7

    Re: The number of

    Quote Originally Posted by hetzer View Post
    I'm not a native speaker, but as billmcd says the subject it "number." I teach my students when the subject is singular, use "is." I would use "is" in this pattern.
    But there really are two different numbers, aren't there?

    I'd be more likely to use the numbers + plural here, but the singular doesn't bother me.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2009
    • Posts: 3,505
    #8

    Re: The number of

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    But there is an intended ellipsis after "and" in this case. This is a case of notional accord, which overrules the rule.
    I must have dozed off during the class on "intended ellipses" and "notional accords" , but I'm going to stick with "is" based on the Humpty Dumpty Rule and his quote from Through the Looking Glass, "When I use a word it means exactly what I want it to mean, nothing more, nothing less".
    Last edited by billmcd; 24-Jun-2013 at 22:14.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Jun 2010
    • Posts: 24,516
    #9

    Re: The number of

    Quote Originally Posted by Snappy View Post
    Can I say, "The number of cars and car accidents is increasing," instead of "the number of cars and the number of car accidents are increasing"?
    To summarise, Snappy — you can please yourself.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Japanese
      • Home Country:
      • Japan
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Jan 2013
    • Posts: 34
    #10

    Re: The number of

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    But there really are two different numbers, aren't there?

    I'd be more likely to use the numbers + plural here, but the singular doesn't bother me.
    Yes, but if you talk about two different numbers, then I assume the subject should be "the numbers." "The numbers of ~ are" is of course fine.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. volume number and issue number
    By skystar30097 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 27-Apr-2012, 21:40
  2. Replies: 3
    Last Post: 27-Nov-2010, 08:59
  3. Speaks the number as a whole number
    By fenglish in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 20-Jul-2010, 10:26
  4. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 25-Oct-2007, 19:34

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

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