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I have discovered that while the phrase

" dozens of people bought..."

is common, the phrase

" dozens of people will buy..."

is not (it almost doesn't exist). Why? And how to reword it so as to make it idiomatic?

  • I don't think there's anything particularly unidiomatic about "dozens of people will buy". Where did you find "dozens of people bought" to be common? My best guess is that if it's more common, it's because most stories are told in the simple past. – stangdon Dec 16 '16 at 15:22
  • For "dozens of people bought" Google gives 96,100 results. For "dozens of people will buy" - 8 – Serguei Dec 16 '16 at 16:02
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    I think it's probably just unusual to make such a specific prediction, rather than being idiomatic or unidiomatic. I mean, what exactly would lead you to predict "dozens" specifically? By way of comparison, if you look for "hundreds of people bought"/"hundreds of people will buy", the proportions are reversed. – stangdon Dec 16 '16 at 17:18
  • Yes. English is incognizable :( – Serguei Dec 16 '16 at 17:28
  • "dozens of people bought": 96,100 results; "dozens of people will buy": 8 results. That's not quite right. First rule of thumb when using Google, ignore the number of results Google is telling you. If you try to go beyond page 14 of "dozens of people bought", you will see that it's impossible. I just tried the two alternatives (with quotes) on my browser. "dozens of people bought": 139 results; "dozens of people will buy": 100 results. – Damkerng T. Dec 16 '16 at 17:31
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For "dozens of people bought" Google gives 96,100 results. For "dozens of people will buy" - 8

My guess is that the simple present "dozens of people buy" is commonly used instead of "will buy" when talking in general about actions or trends. Otherwise there is nothing wrong with "dozens of people will buy":

Dozens of people will buy houses in this neighborhood in the coming year.

Although if talking in general about home sales (and not referring to a specific future time frame), I would usually say:

Dozens of people buy houses in this neighborhood every year.

Of course, your results could just be a quirk of the Google algorithm.

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