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I bumped into this sentence in IELTS writing task 1:

Male students studying philosophy at University of Cambridge in 2001 numbered 50

My question: Can I use "amounted to" and "totaled" instead of "numbered" because I notice that I can write:

The number of male students studying philosophy at University of Cambridge in 2001 totaled/amounted to 50

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    It's a somewhat bizarre utterance anyway (normal Anglophones would more likely say something like There were 50 male students studying philosophy at... or just 50 men studied...), so it's not obvious to me that switching between amounted to, totaled, and numbered makes it any more or less "natural". They're all syntactically valid, and will be equally well understood. Sep 2, 2020 at 11:06
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    The lack of a definite article before 'University of Cambridge' here makes me wonder whether this is a new vogue, or whether example questions aren't vetted adequately for standardness. @FF seems to have similar doubts. // I'd say 'total[l]ed' would be reasonable iff there were a prior discussion (looking at subsets, say) but 'amounted to' sounds at best clunky. Your last suggestion is also sub-optimal, unnaturally tautological; why not 'was'? Sep 2, 2020 at 11:18

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