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Is it formal to add quantitative adjectives before plural nouns, like "a large number of people", "many people", "many men", etc. If not what is the correct usage?

Also, is it more appropriate to use "a large number of man" - singular nouns with quantitative adjectives.

To clarify quantitative adjectives further: What is the difference between "Lot of people wear jackets" and "A large number of people wear jackets"? Is "large number of" more definite than "lot of" or "a lot of"? Thanks again.

  • Also, is it more appropriate to use "a large number of man" - singular nouns with quantitative adjectives. – Shiya Shamsu Jan 7 '17 at 2:44
  • Welcome to English Language & Usage. If you have any clarifications to your question please paste them in--do not leave in the comment section. – Cascabel Jan 7 '17 at 2:49
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    @Shiya: Perhaps you meant to say "a large number of men"? – Robusto Jan 7 '17 at 3:45
  • @Shiya - No, you can't use a singular noun with a quantitative adjective like that. If it's "a large number of" something, then it must be plural, like men. – stangdon Jan 7 '17 at 13:59
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A large number of people gathered outside the embassy - how many

We use a large number of when we want to indicate how many.

Many people gathered outside the embassy - how many
Many people believe that the commng year will be difficult - what proportion

We can use many to indicate either how many, or what proportion. As a proportion, many can used for about 40 to 80%, so it fits between quite a few and most.

When we want to indicate how many, we more often use a large number of because it is clearer than many, which has two possible meanings.

If you use a large number of, you have to use a plural noun- men. You would only use a singular noun to describe a quantity when there is only one, or the noun is uncountable, for example sugar. For non-count nouns, you would use amount rather than number.

A large amount of sugar.

You can't say "lot of": you can say "lots of" or "a lot of" . Both have exactly the same meaning as "a large number of" but are less formal. Even less formal are "loads of" or "a shed load of". You can use these informal expressions with countable nouns eg people or uncountables eg sugar.

  • Thanks all. To clarify quantitative adjectives further: What is the difference between "Lot of people wear jackets" and "A large number of people wear jackets"? Is "large number of" more definite than "lot of" or "a lot of"? Thanks again. – user47425 Jan 8 '17 at 8:26
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    I have added this to your question, as you should have done, and and updated my answer accordingly. – JavaLatte Jan 8 '17 at 9:41

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