When I want to express the count of something, can I say "xxx number" instead of "the number of xxx"? 

For example:

"Location number" to mean the number of locations.

"Apple number" to mean the number of apples.

If putting the word "number" after the counted thing like this applies conditionally, what's the conditions?

Thank you for your help.


You can use the word count though.

'Location count' refers to the total number of locations.

'Apple count' refers to the total number of apples.


If I understand you correctly, then I don't think what you're asking is acceptable usage. If you said "target number 3" or even "target 3", I would assume that you were indicating a label, not the amount. I would assume you're talking about the third in a series of targets, but I wouldn't assume I have any information about how many targets there are total.

  • Thank you Jme, that is what I thought. I asked this b/c I found this (incorrect) usage on some work material and got confused. – Jun Kyoto Jan 9 '15 at 7:40

As others have said, you can't generally use the word number to mean count. That is, you can't say "Location number: three" to mean "There are three locations".

There does exist one specialist, specific instance where number does mean count: in inventory listings.

  • Screws, large, 24 number
  • Screws, small, one gross

It's not very common, and it is rather old-fashioned. It's probably used to ensure that the meaning of 24 [in this case] is understood as a number of items rather than anything else, and could be a contraction of in number.

For your locations example, you might be able to use "24 in number".

[In such listings, off is also used to indicate the number (the phrase "one-off" is still current), but I have seen number used in this way.]

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