<A, the> number of ...

mimi2

Senior Member
vietnam vietnamese
Could you please explain to me how to use "a number of" and "the number of". In this sentence, I think it is "the number of" but I am wondering why it is not "a number of". Please help me.
"The great number of people in this country nowadays own a TV set."
Thanks.
 
  • paulio

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    Grammatically, I would say 'a great number' in this coontex seems to make more sense. However, I think it is being used to mean 'the majority' or 'most' rather than simply 'a lot'.
     

    mimi2

    Senior Member
    vietnam vietnamese
    Hi paulio.
    I also think of "majority" but the word "great" made me hesitate. Please look at this sentence again and please give me your opinions.
    "The great majority of people in this country nowadays own a TV set."
     

    paulio

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    If it said the great majority, all would be very clear. I think it is implied. I would like to know what other natives think though.
     

    AWordLover

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Hi,

    I would use the following sentences.

    A number of people in this country nowadays own a TV set.
    A great number of people in ....
    A great majority of people in ....
    The majority of people in....
    The great majority of people in....

    I would not say.
    The great number of people in this country nowadays own a TV set.

    I hope this helps,
    AWordLover
     
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