Such a small number of bacteria (does/do) not cause food poisoning.

EdisonBhola

Senior Member
Korean
In a sentence such as the following:

Such a small number of bacteria (does/do) not cause food poisoning.

Is "such a small number" singular or plural? I know that "the number of" is singular, and "a number of" is plural, but what about "such a number of"?
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    I think you could say either. In this example it really is the number or quantity that does (or doesn't do) something - it's not just a synonym for '(not) many' - but also of course the bacteria do (or don't do) omething.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    If you reduce the subject of the verb to its minimum, you would get: "Such a small number of bacteria (does/do) not cause food poisoning." Such, small, and of bacteria are adjectival to "number." Number is singular, therefore "Such a small number of bacteria does not cause food poisoning."
     
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