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Dozen(s), hundred(s), thousand(s), million(s)?
This grammatical point is quite easy, yet it is among the most frequent mistakes made by students and learners... It looks as if students often decide for plural or singular randomly... I hope that at the end of this lesson, you'll be able to do the test and pass it easily and that you'll never make this mistake again...
1) a score (= 20, in Old English), a dozen ( = 12 ), a hundred ( = 100 ), a thousand ( = 1,000 ), a million ( = 1,000,000 ) and a billion remain in the singular when they are multiplied by a precise number or preceded by several, some, a few, many.
Clearly, they are numeric adjectives, and like all adjectives, they always remain in the singular. They are followed by a noun (expressed or not).
- Sixty thousand fans were attending the final of the World Cup and screaming to encourage their favourite team!
- There were at least seven or eight hundred demonstrators to protest against the arrest of a political leader...
2) On the contrary, ten, score, dozen, hundred, thousand, million, billion can be in the plural, when they are followed by ‘of' and by a noun.
Indeed, they stop being adjectives and become nouns linked to other nouns by the preposition ‘of'.
-Thousands of students were taking the exam all over the country.
- Millions of suburbans commute to NYC every morning.
NB: When is a billion not a billion?
In British English :pgb billion traditionally means a million million = 1,000,000,000,000 = 1012 (ten power twelve)
In American English :pus billion means a thousand million=1,000,000,000 = 109 (ten power nine)
The American billion has become standard in technical and financial use.
However, to avoid confusion it is better to use the terms "thousand million" for 109 (ten power nine) and "million million" for 1012 (ten power twelve).
Milliard is French for the number 109 (ten power nine). It is not used in American English but is sometimes, but rarely, used in British English.
You'll simply have to determine whether the numerals are preceded by a specific number or if they are nouns expressing quantities which are not specific.
Come on! Good luck! I hope you'll enjoy it!
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