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I need cars Can it mean I need one car as in 'I need some cars' or 'I need a car' if I don't know how many cars I need? Ex. 'The predicate consists of the verb and its complements and also most adverbials.' why complements and adverbials, not complement and adverbial?

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It is rather unusual not to know if you will need one or more than one. Two is 100% more than one! What you can say will depend on how likely you believe the various situations are.

How will we travel to the festival?

We'll need cars. One for every five people.

In this context, if only five people are travelling, then only one car would be needed, but it suggests that the speaker expects more than five people. If fewer than five are expected, but more are possible you might get (in spoken English)

How will we travel to the festival?

We'll need a car; perhaps two if we get more than five people.

In practice, this isn't actually a difficulty. You don't normally say "we need {plural}". You'd probably say "We'll need a few {plural}". It means "more than one" but it is understood that if it turns out you only need one, that is not a grammatical mistake, it is just an error of fact.

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If you do not know how many you need, but you know it is more than one, you would use the plural: "I need cars" or "I need some cars". If you only need one car, you would say "I need a car." If you know how many car you need and it is more than one, you could use the number: "I need ____ cars" (fill in the blank: five, or seven, or two, etc.).

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  • If I don't know it is more than one?
    – ABU
    Nov 8 '20 at 2:39
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    It would depend on context and your assumptions. What do you need the car(s) for? This is a situation where English doesn't necessarily have built in context clues, and if you are uncertain you may have to qualify that in speech. Aka "We will need at least one car to get everyone to the party, maybe more, depending on how many people show up."
    – MarielS
    Nov 8 '20 at 4:54

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