a few, several, and many before hundred / hundreds of...

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raymondaliasapollyon

Senior Member
Chinese
Hello,

Please examine the following phrases:

  1. a few hundred books
  2. a few hundreds of books
  3. several hundred books
  4. several hundreds of books
  5. many hundred books
  6. many hundreds of books
I think #1, #3, and #6 are correct. What about the others? Also, it seems to me (although I'm by no means certain) that "many" patterns differently from "a few" and "several." If that's the case, do you have an explanation?
 
Last edited:
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    #3 and #6 are okay. I wouldn't use the others. (I think #3 is the same as, and to be preferred over, #1.)
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    As I see it:
    1. a few hundred books -> few hundred is a noun phrase and hundred is used uncountably as a single unit of quantity. -> Acceptable
    2. a few hundreds of books -> old-fashioned
    3. several hundred books -> as 1. above -> Acceptable
    4. several hundreds of books -> as 2. above
    5. many hundred books -> as 1. above -> Acceptable
    6. many hundreds of books -> hundred is used countably as a single unit of quantity. -> Acceptable
    Compare:
    1. a few dozen books -> Acceptable -> dozen is used uncountably as a single unit of quantity
    2. a few dozens of books -> old-fashioned
    3. several dozen books -> as 1. above -> Acceptable
    4. several dozens of books -> as 2. above
    5. many dozen books -> as 1. Above but this is awkward, I don’t know why.
    6. many dozens of books -> dozen is used countably as a single unit of quantity. -> Acceptable
     
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