There is any number of ...

There are any number of ...

Intuitively I'd say 'are', but 'number' is singular, right?

Please note that this question is different from these two questions here:

This is because verb agreement is not nearly so straightforward in existential constructions. We see many phenomena that occur in existential constructions that don't occur in normal sentences. This question is asking about this choice within an existential construction.

Also, would it be more appropriate to put " in the title of this question, or ' ?

  • 2
    To address the "number of" construction you must not leave out the things being enumerated. So "a number of stars" and "a number of magazines" both turn out to be plural. Remember that the words "number of" constitute an expression that is equivalent to "many" or "some" and therefore would take a plural agreement from verbs and pronouns. – Robusto Oct 22 '15 at 23:57
  • @Robusto I don't see what could be placed after "any number of" such that it wouldn't be equivalent to, say, "any number of things". Also I think there's a difference between "any" and "a" here. "a number of things" could be replaced by "a collection of things" and a collection is in itself a thing so "there is a number of things" works, whereas "any number of" could indeed be replaced by "many". – Blrp Oct 29 '15 at 23:54
  • @SvenYargs See my previous comment. "a plethora of" is the same as "a number of", but it's not obviously the same as "any number of". – Blrp Oct 29 '15 at 23:56

As to the quotation marks, there are only rare examples (generally scientific) that a single ' would be used unless it's a quote or title within a quote or title. The other option is to use italics. The Chicago Manual of Style uses the italic format, but my Android doesn't let me do that so ... use "

| improve this answer | |

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.