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Fairtrade coffee sales ranged from 0.8-3 million euros over a 6-year period in these five countries, whereas banana sales also mostly clustered between 0.6 and 2 million euros, with Switzerland the outlier at a huge 15 million euros.

I don’t get why it can say “at a huge 15 million euros”? Isn’t “euros” a plural word?

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  • I feel like there have been a lot of questions here about the use of articles with things that don't normally take articles, like "a smiling Joe Biden" or whatever. I'll see if I can find some.
    – stangdon
    Jul 2, 2021 at 13:59
  • You have overlooked the inversion in the question title. It should be Why can the word "a" be used here?
    – phoog
    Jul 2, 2021 at 22:27

3 Answers 3

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Conceptually, the object of the preposition at is a number, a value, or a figure. The person was thinking of Switzerland's banana sales as a singular entry on a ledger. It's effectively short for with Switzerland the outlier at a huge value of 15 million euros.

A similar example might be the runner finished the race in a blazing (time of) three minutes.

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Yes, "euros" is plural here, because of the number "15 million". But "a" does not modify "euros". We can demonstrate this by replacing "a" with a plural equivalent:

*...with Switzerland the outlier at several huge 15 million euros.

Another clue is "huge". It doesn't modify "euros" because "15 million huge euros" is nonsense. "Huge" refers to the total amount of 15 million euros, and therefore so does "a".

So, the overall meaning is that 15 million euros is a huge amount.

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It's referring to the total value of sales, which is a singular quantity, rather than the individual euros that make up those sales.

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  • Yes. 15 million euros/pounds/dollars (etc) is a lot of money. Jul 2, 2021 at 10:06

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