Is "figure" used correctly in the following sentence?

In terms of postgraduates, further study and part-time work remain the most prevalent options, with the figures of 2725 and 2535 respectively.

I don't think its correct yet I don't know how to make it better.

  • You have two figures, so don't you want to call them figures? You could also replace 'with the figure of' with the word 'at.' Jul 4 '17 at 11:31
  • Thanks Yosef. Do you see a way where I can keep the word "figure"?
    – Sheldon
    Jul 4 '17 at 11:33
  • If you are attached to using the singular, 'with each figure at' Jul 4 '17 at 11:35
  • 1
    You need respectively for the odd reader who thinks A goes with X, and B goes with whatever's left. You could say the bride and groom put on their gown and tux, without respectively, leaving it to the reader to figure the match-ups, which are clear though not absolute. Jul 4 '17 at 11:44
  • 2
    The problem with the sentence isn't the word figure. It's (primarily) that the sentence tries to identify "further study" and "part-time work" with numbers, without specifying the measure. E.g. these might be the numbers of graduates, numbers of students, or numbers of those who have just acquired postgraduate status, etc. There's also potentially an issue with using the word postgraduates instead of, say, postgraduate studies.
    – Lawrence
    Jul 4 '17 at 12:00

I don't know why you don't want to use figures, since that's exactly the way it should be used:



  1. A number, especially one which forms part of official statistics or relates to the financial performance of a company.
    ‘the trade figures’
    ‘by 1998, this figure had risen to 14 million’

If "figures" is counting the postgrads, maybe just say it simply how you mean it (unless duplicating the word postgraduates drives you nuts):

Further study and part-time work remain the most prevalent options for postgraduates, employing 2725 and 2535 postgraduates respectively this year.

...or come up with a fancy word. I'd love to see what it is!

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