What is the difference in meaning between:

  1. Two score of books.

  2. Two score books.

  • Two score books are where you record the cricket match. Similarly with gross. Two gross eggs have gone off, but two gross of eggs will make a lot of omelettes. Commented May 2, 2020 at 19:22
  • Disagree with @WeatherVane: score is rare, but perfectly possible to use it like dozen, without a linking of.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Jun 13, 2020 at 17:09
  • I disagree as well. Two score-books are used for recording scores. Two score books refers to forty books. Commented Nov 23, 2020 at 12:26
  • I disagree. Two scorebooks are dual cricket score recorders. Two score books is a Nineteenth Century Londoner demanding forty books; a snuffle and a coal-cough help convey context. Two score-books is one hyphen too many.
    – EllieK
    Commented Nov 23, 2020 at 13:12

4 Answers 4


The simplest rule I can offer is that the usage of "score" meaning 20 is exactly the same as the use of "dozen" meaning 12.

The only difference is that dozen is still widely used and score is not.

I have two dozen books on my shelf <----> I have two score books on my shelf.

I have dozens of books on my shelf <----> I have scores of books on my shelf

Note that the mention of books for keeping scores during a sporting event is a red herring. These are written as score-books with a hyphen. So:

I have two score-books on my shelf.


I think "dozen" and "score" work the same. Like 'dozen', we usually use 'score' (meaning 'twenty') without 'of' after a number :

e.g. "three score years and ten" ( = 70 years).

Similarly, it is right to say :

Two score books (NOT, two score of books)

But when 20 items will be selected from a particular group, you can say :

"A score of your choicest books" Or, "Two score of the books from this shelf".

However, "scores of books" means "a lot of books".


The correct way is

Forty books.

You can use "score", rarely, in the plural to mean "a significant number but less than hundreds". You use it with "of"

Scores of books were lost in the fire.

But when you mean exactly 20 the use of the word score is obsolete. You should use normal numbers and say "forty books" and not "two score".

  • so you mean “two score of books” is a wrong usage and only “scores of books” is correct? Commented May 3, 2020 at 4:08
  • In my grammar book there is a statement “There are two score of books which are lying unused in the library” . So is usage of “two score of books” wrong in this sentence? Commented May 3, 2020 at 4:13
  • 1
    It is grammatically correct and it means "40 books" However I can't think of any situation that you are likely to be in, in which "two score" would be better than "forty". It would be like using "non-extinct pachyderm" instead of "elephant".
    – James K
    Commented May 3, 2020 at 8:04
  • Thankyou so much for your help. I got that score is extinct. My doubt is “two score books” and “two score of books” mean the same thing( 40 books)? Or Are they different? Commented May 3, 2020 at 9:52
  • The same, except "two score books" could be misunderstood as "two scorebooks"
    – James K
    Commented May 3, 2020 at 11:07

Two score of books = 40 books, assuming the antiquated use of score = 20

Two score books = 2 note books for the purpose of keeping score (or tally) for sports, events or competitions etc.

  • I disagree score-keeping books are called score-books (hyphenated). Commented Nov 23, 2020 at 12:10
  • I would call them scorebooks and notice that spellcheck gave it an OK. Compound words are OK. You can do it.
    – EllieK
    Commented Nov 24, 2020 at 21:20
  • 'Scorebook' means 'A book in which the score for a game or sport is noted'. So, "two scorebooks" is correct in this sense while "two score books" means forty books. Commented Dec 6, 2020 at 12:26

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