# Is it correct to say “Group of one or more things”?

The context that I need to use this phrase is that I have a category/group where in there may be only thing or multiple things. I believe that using "Group of things" is correct.

But it is appropriate to use "Group of one or more things" even if the group/category contains only one thing?

• It's correct, but if you know that there's only one thing in it, why call it a group at all? If you're talking about it in the general sense, and not about a specific instance where you know it contains only one thing, it's quite acceptable to indicate in this manner that there may be times when there's only one thing in the group. (This is not an unusual concept in data processing; sometimes your inquiry retrieves only one object, but your code is written to handle a multiple-return case.) – Jeff Zeitlin Jul 13 '17 at 17:30
• Sure, that's fine. If you need apples in cooking, no one will say "I don't have apples. But I have one apple." There will be no argument that an apple is not apples in that case. We know that. – Yosef Baskin Jul 13 '17 at 17:31
• @JeffZeitlin: As I said, the usage is about general sense. – Here_2_learn Jul 13 '17 at 17:33
• By the way, while the group may contain one or zero members at some point, it is not necessary to announce "A group of one or more things." "A group of elements that are ABC or do XYZ" will do. You also don't need the is/are clutter: 'This group is defined as having a number(s) of element(s) that is(are) fitting this pattern.' – Yosef Baskin Jul 13 '17 at 18:10

This is easy to answer in the world of mathematics, where "group" implies certain properties (operators) related to all elements of the group.

But even in non-math use, there's nothing wrong with a group of one element, or even zero. If you are separating fruit into groups, you might have a group of 35 blueberries, another group of 3 oranges, but since you have no apples, that group has zero members.

• Nicely explained. – Yosef Baskin Jul 13 '17 at 18:14
• The wrong thing about 'a group with nothing in it' is that this is not using English idiomatically. 'A group consisting of no musicians was booked' is ludicrous. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 13 '17 at 19:17
• However, you guys are a bunch of zeros / group of zeros or thanks for ditching me and making me go to the party alone - you guys were such a fun group to hang out with or it sucks we all got no bonuses this year - actually, I've been here 10 years and I have a group / collection of bonus checks like that all sound idiomatic to me. – Brillig Jul 13 '17 at 23:18