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I am using Word to write an article. It keeps suggesting that Number of users are should be replaced by Numbers of users are or by Number of users is.

My question is whether either of the following is correct, and why?

  • Number of users are
  • Numbers of users are
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Rule 1: Don't trust Word's grammar checker. But both "Numbers of users are" or "A number of users are" could be correct, depending on context. You haven't given us any context. –  Andrew Leach Nov 26 '13 at 19:05
'number of users is' may also be correct. –  Edwin Ashworth Nov 26 '13 at 19:49

3 Answers 3

The short answer is that the verb and subject should match so a singular noun like "number" goes with the singular verb "is".

"On the StackOverflow website, the number of users is going up each year." "On the StackExchange websites, the numbers of users are going up each year."

June Casagrande covers this really well in Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies.

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Although the expression ‘a number’ is strictly singular, the phrase ‘a number of’' is used with plural nouns (as what grammarians call a determiner (or determiner)). The verb should therefore be plural:

A number of people are waiting for the bus.

This is not the case with ‘the number’, which is still singular:

The number of people here has increased since this morning.


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Could you also shed some light on "Numbers of users are". –  Aman Deep Gautam Nov 29 '13 at 11:19

The number of people we need to hire is thirteen.

A number of people have written in about this subject.

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This isn't really answering the question. It's just two examples of usage. Perhaps you could elaborate? –  Matt Эллен Jun 25 at 11:21

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