'many thousands of trees' vs 'many thousand trees'

angelsp

Member
Chinese
Here are some sentences, would anyone please tell me which one is gramatically correct?

1. A thousand trees have been cut down.
2. Thousands of trees have been cut down.
3. A few thousand trees have been cut down.
4. a few thousands of trees have been cut down.
5. Many thousand trees have been cut down.
6. Many thousands of trees have been cut down.

I am quite sure the 1st two are correct, but not sure the last 4.
Thank you for help.
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    After searching in COCA* and COHA*, I found a few examples for "a few thousands of...". I found many more examples for "a few thousand".

    The only sentence that I find wrong is (5). All the rest of the sentences are good. I prefer the shorter version "a few thousand trees".


    *Corpus of Contemporary American English
    *Corpus of Historical American English
     

    Benkarnell

    Member
    US English
    I would be most likely to say:

    A thousand trees
    A few thousand trees
    Thousands of trees

    "Many thousands of trees" sounds unusual, but not ungrammatical. It might be used for emphasis.
     

    angelsp

    Member
    Chinese
    Thank you owlman, but did you really find examples of "many thousand" or "many thousands of" sentences?

    Why did you say 5, Many thousand trees is wrong?
    I thought if we can say a few thousand trees, why can't we say many thousand trees.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I can only say that it sounds unnatural to me, though I did find a few examples in COCA for your version in (5). Here's a typical example of this use:
    Experience does not run one way but many thousand ways.

    I wouldn't use this. I'd write: Experience does not run one way but many thousands of ways.

    There is some support for your version in number (5). I used COCA instead of Google because many have noted that finding something on Google doesn't mean that it's good English. I must note, however, that I only found 25 examples using the construction "many thousand + plural noun". Those numbers are too small to establish that this phrase is common. I still recommend that you avoid number five. All the rest sound fine.
     

    angelsp

    Member
    Chinese
    Thank you Owlman, but does "A few thousand + plural" sound unnatural to you as well?

    what if it says, "Experience does not run one way but a few thousand ways." ?

    Also, Why didn't you think my NO 3 "A few thousand trees" unnatural as well?

    Thank you for your help.

     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    You are welcome. For some reason "a few thousand ways" sounds better to me than "many thousand ways". I think this is nothing more than idiom here. I hear speakers using "many thousands" much more than "many thousand". There is no grand grammatical reason for this, but "many" implies plurality, and it's common for speakers to pluralize "thousands" in the phrase.
     
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