In the following sentence, is the usage of multitude correct?

A major challenge is the vast multitude of possible adversaries.

The sentence sounds a little "off" (for lack of a better word), but I am unable to pinpoint what the problem is.

I would appreciate it if I could know if the sentence is fine, or if any changes are needed.

  • It maybe could be worded better, but it's correct.
    – Hot Licks
    Jul 2, 2015 at 11:54
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    A multitude generally applies to a large "homogeneous" group. In OP's context the possible adversaries probably don't manifest as a cohesive set all in one place at the same time (a "horde"). What matters is the fact that there are lots of them (and perhaps the implication that they are of many different types), so I think multiplicity would be more appropriate. Jul 2, 2015 at 12:43

1 Answer 1


I would say the the word multitude makes sense in this context, being defined as:

multitude (noun) A large number of people or things.

However, in this sentence I think that the use of "vast" is a tautology, and you should use one or the other; rather, one or the other will suffice.

Source: Oxford Dictionaries Online

  • Ah! I think I realized, now, what felt "off" - the usage of "vast multitude". Thanks :) Jul 2, 2015 at 11:51
  • Apparently "vast multitude" was more popular in the past: books.google.com/ngrams/…
    – Hot Licks
    Jul 2, 2015 at 11:56
  • @HotLicks: Whoa! Did not know about Google Ngram Viewer. Thanks for that :) Jul 2, 2015 at 12:01
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    Please credit Oxford Dictionaries online as the source of your direct quotation.
    – user98990
    Jul 2, 2015 at 12:07
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    What I would think is that the real problem with the sentence is that a multitude is not the same thing as a variety. If there were 10,000,000 orcs, all exactly alike, that would indeed be a vast multitude. But if one of them can be dealt with, any of them can be dealt with. You really should say "A major challenge is the vast variety of possible adversaries." Jul 2, 2015 at 14:20

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