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I want to form a sentence in which I say that 'Puzzle is divided into pieces', and in the same sentence I want to say that the number of pieces is equal to 'N'. How can I say it correctly and shortly?

Puzzle is divided into pieces, in a number of N

Puzzle is divided into a number of pieces, equal to the number N

Puzzle is divided into pieces, equal to the number N

Puzzle is divided into pieces, the number of pieces is equal to the number N

Puzzle is divided into pieces, their number is equal to the number N

Actually these are wild guesses, what is the best way?

Note: I don't want to say "Puzzle is divided into N pieces"

  • 2
    If N = 500, This is a 500-piece puzzle. – J.R. Jun 25 '15 at 9:23
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    Good point - is the puzzle already divided i.e. is this a jigsaw puzzle, or are we about to divide it? – Steve Ives Jun 25 '15 at 14:05
  • Why don't you want to say "The puzzle is divided into N pieces."? This is the most natural phrasing. – JKreft Jul 30 '18 at 19:34
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The best answer is the one you don't want :-) You could say:

The puzzle is divided into a number of pieces, which we will call N

Although grammatically this sounds as though we are calling the pieces N, the meaning will be clear. You could also say:

The puzzle is divided into pieces, the number of which we will call N

  • I don't want to call it number N, the number N is known – Marc Andreson Jun 25 '15 at 9:35
  • Then the question has to be asked: why don't you want to say "The puzzle is divided to 5 pieces?" (or 2, or 387, or 14,216) – Steve Ives Jun 25 '15 at 9:39
  • OK - just seen the other comment - the puzzle is already divided; you are not doing the dividing. Then "This is a N piece puzzle" is probably the best way. – Steve Ives Jun 25 '15 at 9:40
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If you don't want to say "The puzzle is divided into N pieces," (a perfectly good option), you can say:

The puzzle has 8 pieces. (Good)

It is an 8 piece puzzle. (Good)

The puzzle is divided into pieces, numbering N. (awkward, but understandable)

The puzzle is divided into pieces, equaling number N. (more awkward)

The rest are even worse. Putting the number of pieces into a separate phrase makes you come across like a bad math textbook that is deliberately trying to confuse students by wording questions poorly.

  • how about "The puzzle is divided into pieces whose number is equal to N." ? – Marc Andreson Jul 8 '15 at 9:42
  • A reader will be able to figure out what you mean, but it's awkward and roundabout. Why are you trying so hard to avoid saying "divided into N pieces?" If we knew why, we might be able to help with better suggestions. – Karen Jul 8 '15 at 12:52
  • because N actually stands for a number of something else, so it could be replaced by e.g. "whose number is equal to the number of fingers" or something like that. So I can't say "divided into number of fingers pieces" – Marc Andreson Jul 8 '15 at 17:56

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