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Which is correct, "one dozen transactions" or "a dozen transactions"? As in,

The cashier conducted one dozen transactions.

(I researched my Oxford mini dictionary but it did not provide the help I need). (English is my first language).

  • Seems like either is fine to me. – MeltingDog Oct 11 '18 at 0:51
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Both are grammatically correct.

"A dozen transactions" might come across as slightly more informal than "one dozen transactions".

It's also possible, depending on context, intonation, etc., that "a dozen transactions" will be understood as an inexact number, maybe something between 10 and 15 transactions. "One dozen transactions" will be more likely understood as meaning exactly 12 transactions.

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In English, this is what generally works here.

If you are counting counting (actually counting something), you use "one". If there is no reason to suppose you are actually doing a count, you can use a.

For example, when actually counting, you would write:

  • Cashier #1 had one dozen transactions.
  • Cashier #4 had four dozen transactions.
  • Cashier #3 had zero transactions. [the station was closed].

So, if your sentence is in the middle of some text where actual counts do not matter, you would not generally use the word "one", in the same way that you would not use it here:

When I was a teenager, I had a car. My family actually had three, but my brother and I used the oldest one. However, when my father was my age, his family only had one car.

So, when contrasting numbers, you use one. When you are not actually contrasting numbers, you wouldn't use it.

  • A dog suddenly appeared in front of the house. [understood to be one].
  • Two dogs suddenly appeared in front of the house. One dog was black and the other brown.

Another example:
- They have a dozen eggs in the refrigerator. [meaning: one dozen].
- What? A dozen?
- Yep, one dozen. That's all.

Summary: both one dozen transactions and a dozen transactions are grammatically correct. The use of one or the other will depend on your context.

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