a dozen or so/a dozen or more/several dozen/a few dozen

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zaffy

Senior Member
Polish
1. What do I say If I mean a number between say 13-17?

-A dozen or so people were injured.
-A dozen or more people were injured.

2. And a number between say 50-70

-Several dozen people died in that fire.
-A few dozen people died in that fire.
-A couple of dozen people died in that fire.
-Dozens of people died in that fire.

Are those all correct?
 
  • DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Although "a dozen", strictly speaking, means twelve, in ordinary everyday casual use it frequently denotes about twelve, or roughly twelve, particularly when you don't know what the exact number actually is.

    The only one of those examples which I would personally class as wrong is using "a couple of dozen" to mean 50-70.
     

    zaffy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    So if you hear 'a dozen people died in the plane crash' on the news, the first thing that springs into your mind is 12 or about 12?
     

    zaffy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    1. And can a number as high as 17 also be covered by dozen? Or here it is better to say 'a dozen or more'?

    2. 'A dozen or so' can also mean 10 or 11, right?

    3. Generally are 'a dozen or so' and 'a dozen or more' commonly used?
     

    Enquiring Mind

    Senior Member
    English - the Queen's
    Hi zaffy,
    1. And can a number as high as 17 also be covered by dozen? Probably not. Or here it is better to say 'a dozen or more'? Yes.
    2. 'A dozen or so' can also mean 10 or 11, right? Yes.
    3. Generally are 'a dozen or so' and 'a dozen or more' commonly used? Yes.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    Or here it is better to say 'a dozen or more'?
    Since it was at least 13, then strictly "a dozen or more" is not correct in the usual way that "or" is interpreted.
    If I say "three or four", then it was either three or four, no other numbers are possible.
    If I say "three or more", then it could have been three or four or five or ...
    But if it was definitely at least four, I would not say "three or more".

    I would therefore suggest that "more than a dozen" or "over a dozen" would be better than "a dozen or more".

    For the 50-70 case, another option is "scores of people". A score is 20.
     

    zaffy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    And 'a dozen' or 'several dozen' will never refer to money, right? So what can I say if something is between 13-17 or 50-70 dollars?

    In Polish we can say e.g. 'It costs a dozen or so dollars'. Or 'It was several dozen pounds"
     

    Enquiring Mind

    Senior Member
    English - the Queen's
    Dozen refers to things that we count individually (there were about a dozen people waiting for the bus), or to groups of 12 (a dozen eggs).
    When we're taking about a sum of money, we treat is as one uncountable amount, e.g. fifty pounds is a lot to pay for a pair of jeans (not fifty pounds are a lot to pay ..... :cross:). We don't count the pounds individually, nor do we count them in groups of 12. We ask "how much does it cost?", not "how many pounds does it cost? :cross:
    So don't use dozen with sums of money.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    So if you hear 'a dozen people died in the plane crash' on the news, the first thing that springs into your mind is 12 or about 12?
    It would suggest to me that the death toll hadn't been confirmed and so it was an estimate - "about 12".
     
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