Directions (Q.1): Read each sentence to find out whether there is any error, if any, will be in one part of the sentence. The letter of that part is the answer. If there is no error, the answer is (E). Ignore the errors of punctuation, if any.

The merchant counted (A)/ the number of pearls (B)/ to make sure that (C)/ none of them were missing. (D)/ No error (E)

I am very confused because of two answers on internet.

  1. (B) The 'number of' is redundant it should be 'The merchant counted the pearls'.
  2. (D) 'were' replaced with 'was' as the following Indefinite Pronoun generally takes Singular Verb.

Help me which of these should be the answer.


2 Answers 2


(B) is incorrect. Not because of redundancy, but because you count the pearls, not the number. So:

The merchant counted the pearls to make sure that none of them were missing.


I believe you have already ansered your own question.

‘Indefinite Pronoun’ generally takes Singular Verb

generally != always, therefore you should go with B being the incorrect one. As to why it is wrong it is not because of redundancy but the nature of the object of "count". Some nouns can be counted and others cannot (happiness, love, summertime). Abstract things like an actual number cannot be counted.

If you want to delve more into why D is ok, then see the explanation here

None can be either singular or plural indefinite depending on what it refers to. Here it is "them", which is plural.

  • 1
    If redundancy were wrong there would be no poets.
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 16, 2018 at 3:00
  • @HotLicks Nothing in this answer says redundancy is wrong. The problem is that while the answer addresses why D doesn't have an error, it doesn't actually explain why there is an error in B.
    – ColleenV
    Jan 16, 2018 at 4:02

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