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The article is the key

Posted by ESC on June 05, 2004

In Reply to: There is or There are ...? posted by R. Berg on June 05, 2004

: : : Which of the above is correct or either one is fine?

: : Are. "Number" is plural.

: Um, well, "number" is singular, but "are" is correct.

A little clarification from the Chicago Manual of Style:

Number as a collective noun takes a singular or plural verb depending on the article (definite "the" or indefinite "a") that precedes it:

THE number of pizzas ordered this year has doubled.


A number of studies have shown that stuffing a pizza with spinach triples the edibility of that sinewy vegetable.