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There are two score of books which are lying unused in the library.

Why is two score of books used instead of two score books? What is the difference between them? Similarly can we use five dozen of bananas instead of five dozen bananas?

Example: He bought five dozen of bananas.

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"Two score of books" sounds wrong to me. But "two score books" would be perfectly acceptable.

A famous example of this phrasing is Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address:

Four score and seven years ago...

This is obviously slightly archaic, but so is the use of "score" generally; I've never heard it in normal speech.

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That sentence is wrong: it should be 'two scores of books'; you need the plural there.

The 'of' is used because 'score' isn't exactly synonymous with 'twenty', rather, it means a set of (about) twenty things. Therefore, the word 'of' is used, just like you would say 'two sets of books'. Another example: you say 'hundred books' but 'hundreds of books'.

'dozen' also means a set of twelve, but it seems to have evolved into a proper cardinal numeral. Therefore, you say 'five dozen' instead of 'five dozens', and omit the 'of'. 'He bought five dozen bananas.' would be correct.

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  • However, if we don't specify a number with the plural, then we do use of: He bought dozens of bananas. Omitting the preposition in that case would be incorrect. – Jason Bassford May 10 '20 at 15:57
  • @JasonBassford yes; the same holds for other numerals (thousands of bananas). – Glorfindel May 10 '20 at 17:53
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    You may say "hundreds of books", but not "two hundreds of books". "Two scores of books" is wrong in the same way. – hobbs May 10 '20 at 20:53
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    @hobbs Is correct. "scores" in the plural is more like "lots", rather than a specific number. – Barmar May 10 '20 at 21:32

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