which one is correct?

  1. the number of family has been changed.
  2. the number of families has been changed.
  • Essentially, a duplicate of the number of residents has grown vs the number of residents have grown. And general reference. – Edwin Ashworth Nov 12 '17 at 15:33
  • @EdwinAshworth it is not duplicate of that question. This one is whether not the "number of..." is singular or plural, but what form should be used in inferior clause. I will second this question because have met the construction like "number of apple" in sense "number of applies" and now want to understand whether it is allowed and under what conditions. – Netch May 20 '19 at 6:58

"The number of" should always be used with a plural of a countable noun.

The phrase "the number of Xs" then acts as a singular subject for the verb, so the third person singular form of the verb should be used.

The number of families has changed.

  • 1
    You're right, of course. Interestingly, if the indefinite article "a" is used with "number", a plural verb would be required: "A number of families have been evacuated". – BillJ Nov 12 '17 at 14:22

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