"I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve hit my thumb with a hammer."

In this sentence, do "the number of" and "count of" not have the same meaning? why do we use it twice? Can we use it with those forms:
"I've lost the number of times I've hit..."
"I've lost count of times I've hit..."

I'm not native speaker and this sentence confused me, i hope i can express what i want to ask, thanks in advance

  • Tell us what you found for the meaning of "to lose count". – GEdgar Jul 8 '19 at 12:11
  • 2
    Yes, you could perfectly well say "I've lost count of the times that...", but not "I've lost the number". – Kate Bunting Jul 8 '19 at 12:17
  • You could say I've lost count of how often I've hit my thumb if you don't like the number of times, but there's nothing wrong with the original. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Jul 8 '19 at 22:33
  • "I've lost track of the number of times I've hit my thumb" would mean the same thing. That might help you understand the construction. – jejorda2 Jul 12 '19 at 18:55

I understand why it sounds odd. From a mathematical point of view, you count something and then the aggregated total is "the number of" the thing you counted.

However, it is quite idiomatic to say "count the number of..."

This ngram shows use of the phrase and will link to examples.

Logically then it is equally correct to say that you have "lost count of the number".


You've misunderstood. There isn't a thing called "count of the number of times...", which has been lost. Rather, "lose count" is a phrasal verb meaning to fail to count correctly.

"Count the number of times" is redundant, but in common usage. I prefer just "count the times" and "I've lost count of the times..." is, in my opinion, better. But there's nothing wrong with "I've lost count of the number of times..."

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