In today’s Washington Post article titled “For federal workers, anxiety over a possible shutdown", I found a strange quote of number—‘a thousand and one questions.’ I understand it’s simply an exaggerated form of ‘a lot of questions.’
However, I’m curious to know why it is 1,001, not ‘hundreds’ or ‘numerous’ or even in round number? Is it simply a trope? Is ‘big number plus one’ well-accepted usage? Can I say ‘a hundred and one’ or ‘ten thousands one question’ when I have many questions?
The number, ‘a thousand and one’, is quoted in the following sentence:
The government could shut down in a week if Congress can’t reach a budget deal. And the Obama administration hasn’t told workers what a shutdown would look like — who will be asked to come to work and who will be told to stay home. Rank-and-file federal workers have a thousand and one questions. Kane, Energy’s human resources chief, is fielding many of them.