a (huge) number of vs. (huge) numbers of

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JungKim

Senior Member
Korean
A Telegraph article titled "Tumble drier scandal: Whirlpool 'sold out' of popular replacement machines" has this:
The Daily Telegraph has heard from a number of frustrated Whirlpool customers who have been unable to get the replacement they want.

Belinda Marsh says she first registered her dryer as faulty with Whirlpool in September but last week heard from Whirlpool, which informed her that the dryers which meet her requirements are all out of stock. She said she was told to keep looking online as they are "regularly" coming back in stock.
...
If Whirlpool's stock issues are not resolved it could lead to huge numbers of customers becoming tempted to use their machines as a result of being forced to dry their clothes by hanging them up for week or months on end.
In front of the same noun customers, the first sentence has a number of and the last huge numbers of.

Can you replace a number of with numbers of in the first sentence?
The Daily Telegraph has heard from numbers of frustrated Whirlpool customers who have been unable to get the replacement they want.

Also, can you replace huge numbers of with a huge number of in the last sentence?
If Whirlpool's stock issues are not resolved it could lead to a huge number of customers becoming tempted to use their machines as a result of being forced to dry their clothes by hanging them up for week or months on end.
 
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  • Scott AM

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    I think both of these are perfectly acceptable. Both "a number of" and "numbers of" are used to describe an indeterminate number of people.
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    (1) The Daily Telegraph has heard from numbers of frustrated Whirlpool customers who have been unable to get the replacement they want.
    (2) If Whirlpool's stock issues are not resolved it could lead to huge numbers of customers becoming tempted to use their machines as a result of being forced to dry their clothes by hanging them up for week or months on end.

    I agree that (2), as shown in the article, is okay.
    But I'm not sure if (1) is okay although Scott AM and Packard say so.

    I've searched for "numbers of people" in the Google News, where I couldn't find a single example of the phrase being used as in (1) in the first five pages. The examples were either "the numbers of people" (focusing on "numbers") or "large/huge/record/growing/etc. numbers of people".
     

    Scott AM

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    (1) The Daily Telegraph has heard from numbers of frustrated Whirlpool customers who have been unable to get the replacement they want.
    (2) If Whirlpool's stock issues are not resolved it could lead to huge numbers of customers becoming tempted to use their machines as a result of being forced to dry their clothes by hanging them up for week or months on end.

    I agree that (2), as shown in the article, is okay.
    But I'm not sure if (1) is okay although Scott AM and Packard say so.

    I've searched for "numbers of people" in the Google News, where I couldn't find a single example of the phrase being used as in (1) in the first five pages. The examples were either "the numbers of people" (focusing on "numbers") or "large/huge/record/growing/etc. numbers of people".
    A good question, but I would point out that if "huge numbers" is acceptable usage, then the unmodified "numbers" should be fine. In the same way that "Sums of money change hands at the market every day" and "Vast sums of money change hands at the market every day" are both acceptable.
     
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