a number <of> things/people

yokohama134072

Member
Japanese
We can find more than 10,000 occurrences of "there are a number people"
or "there are a number things" in the web.
However I think the correct English for each of them is
"there are a number of people" or "there are a number of things".
Can we omit the "of" after "a number"?
 
  • JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Google is just as efficient at finding errors as it is at finding correct forms! You have found "more than 10,000 errors". No, you cannot omit the "of".

    Searching the Google books database is a better idea than the whole internet:D

    "Ngrams not found: are a number people"
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Actually, if you click through to the end of the results, you'll find that there are only 79 google hits for "there are a number people"; and only 272 for "there are a number things".
    And all of them are mistakes:).

    As Julian says - no, you can't omit the "of".
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    And even then only colloquial-E and informal-E spok-EN :D I’ve heard it and it’s often hard to tell whether there was a swallowed schwa (representing a vestigial “of”) between the two words.
     

    Hildy1

    Senior Member
    English - US and Canada
    I have just tried saying "a number of things" and "a number of people" fast. The "of" was probably not audible, but it was certainly there in my mind. That may be what happens in some movies and TV shows.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I use it often.
    Do you mean that you often use "a number things"/ "a number people"?
    That would really surprise me....

    If you mean that you often use "a couple things", that surprises me much less: I've seen other AmE-speakers use that formulation here.

    However, it's still not one that works for me:(.
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    Do you mean that you often use "a number things"/ "a number people"?
    That would really surprise me....

    If you mean that you often use "a couple things", that surprises me much less: I've seen other AmE-speakers use that formulation here.
    The latter. I was responding to post 14, immediately before mine.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top