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How to use “tens of” and “hundreds of”?

Take this example:

Hundreds of pieces were used to create it.

What if the amount were something like 20 or 30? What would the equivalent sentence be that would sound natural?

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    Hundred : Hundreds :: Ten : Tens. – ShreevatsaR Aug 6 '11 at 5:57
  • I know this is not correct English but I like the sound of "deceds", as in, "There were deceds and deceds of them..." – Engineer Aug 6 '11 at 10:13

I confess, my first thought was "dozens". While "tens" is probably more accurate, it doesn't feel as comfortable to say (to me, anyway).

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    Most of the time I see it used ironically. – AttackingHobo Aug 6 '11 at 8:57
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    Actually, you're right. If it's supposed to sound natural, and it doesn't have to be exactly precise (24 instead of 20 or 30, etc), dozens fits the bill perfectly. Hundreds doesn't have to refer to even multiples of 100 (as in 300, 400, etc); people use it for amounts such as 472. In the same way, if you wanted to generally describe, say, 52 objects, dozens would be better than tens. – Daniel Aug 6 '11 at 12:23
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    Agree, would rarely say tens though I would sometimes. Would often use dozens. Also "scores" for multiples of 20 is very common. – Rincewind42 Aug 7 '11 at 14:53
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    Related: How flexible is "a dozen"? – Daniel Nov 1 '11 at 21:18

The equivalent sentence would be

Tens of pieces were used to create it.

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    Doesn't this sound weird though? – language hacker Aug 6 '11 at 10:13
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    Sounds fine to me. – Groky Aug 6 '11 at 10:35
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    Isn't it also tens of thousands? So its not weird at all. – Ivo Flipse Aug 6 '11 at 13:00

Scores are 20s. (I don't have a good answer for 30s.)

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    What if you wanted to specify any number that is a multiple of 10? – language hacker Aug 6 '11 at 5:46

"Dozens of".

You can use http://translate.google.cn/ for the answer.

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    Eh... Dozens are multiples of 12, not 10, I suppose. Aren't they? – Vladislav Rastrusny Aug 14 '11 at 9:50
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    @FractalizeR: Maybe mathematically, and maybe at the bakery, but not conversationally. "I saw dozens of pidgeons at the park" would imply the speaker saw as few as 25, or as many as 100 or so. Not in my wildest dreams would I assume the speaker had counted the pidgeons, and only used the word dozens because the total number happened to be an exact multiple of 12. – J.R. Apr 14 '12 at 2:38

"Lots of pieces were used to create it."

While this may not be particularly ideal, nobody has added an ambiguous answer yet, which can be useful sometimes.

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