Do you wonder why we sometimes use a singular verb for ‘number’ and sometimes a plural verb? If you do wonder, this is the grammatical rule for ‘a number’ and ‘the number’.

A number vs The number Grammar rule

The expression the number is followed by a singular verb while the expression a number is followed by a plural verb.


The number of people we need is 10. (The number = singular verb)

A number of people have written in about this subject. (A number = plural verb)

The number of people lined up for tickets was four hundred. (The number = singular verb)

A number of suggestions were made. (A number = plural verb)

If you would like to learn about more grammatical rules, come join us for our weekly P3 – P5 classes via zoom or at the centre!

2023 P5 English tuition timetable

BranchDayStart timeEnd time
Bukit TimahTHU3 pm5 pm
Bukit TimahSUN12 pm2 pm
Hougang PelikatWED5 pm7 pm
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Hougang PelikatSAT3.30 pm5.30 pm