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So far, I've learned:

1) A number of internet users were in Paris.

2) The number of internet users was in Paris.

1) and 2) are grammatically correct, and have a little different meanings.



But I'm not sure about:

  • <Number> + of + plural noun/nouns . . .

  • <Unit> + of + plural noun/nouns . . .

  • <Number> + plural noun/nouns . . .

  • <Unit> + plural noun/nouns . . .


1. Should we treat "<Number> + of + plural noun/nouns" and <Unit> + of + plural noun/nouns" as "A number of"?

a) 7.8 million of internet users was/were in Paris. < Was || Were >

b) Millions of internet users was/were in Paris. < Was || Were >

c) 7.8 million internet users was/were in Paris. < Was || Were >

d) Millions internet users was/were in Paris. < Was || Were >




2.
I know that we can usually say "Millions of internet users" and "7.8 million internet users".

How about saying "Millions internet users" and "7.8 million of internet users", are they usual?




3.
Is it usual to use article "the" to specify the mentioned quantities in the sentences?

And should we treat "The <number> + of + plural noun/nouns" and The <unit> + of + plural noun/nouns" as "The number of"?

e) The 7.8 million of internet users was/were in Paris. < Was || Were >

f) The millions of internet users was/were in Paris. < Was || Were >

g) The 7.8 million internet users was/were in Paris. < Was || Were >

h) The millions internet users was/were in Paris. < Was || Were >




4.
In 2005, Paris had the largest number of internet users at 7.8 ___________.

Which should be filled in the blank?

a) million people

b) million of people

c) million

  • 1
    Although (2) is grammatical, it means something quite different from (1) in your opening pair. – Lawrence Oct 16 '18 at 14:01
  • Users is plural, so were would be the correct choice with any number (other than 1) of them. -- Please ask only one question at a time. – michael.hor257k Oct 16 '18 at 16:55
  • @michael.hor257k Can I say that we treat "7.8 million of " as the phrase "a number of"? How about "the 7.8 million of "? Do we treat this as the phrase "the number of"? – hbtpoprock Oct 16 '18 at 17:01
  • 1
    You're welcome. Follow your intuition in your Q2. Upon re-reading your question, I think there's an interesting element that you should highlight (by editing the question). That is, why "millions of" when the number of millions is left unspecified, but of is left off when the number is specified. Then there's also the case where you have "2 million of them were ...", which kind of mixes the previous cases. – Lawrence Oct 16 '18 at 22:53
  • 1
    That depends on whether you're thinking of the group as separate individuals (plural agreement) or a monolithic group (singular agreement). Compare: the 2 million of them were well-prepared vs the 2 million of them was a force to be reckoned with. – Lawrence Oct 17 '18 at 7:25
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The gist of your question is: when to use of with numbers. Here's an attempt to collate some use cases and attempt a generalisation.

Use of if you 'apply' the number to the noun; leave it off if you simply count them.

Consider the following in light of the various dictionary entries for the word "of" relating to the use of the word to express associations or relationships:

  • 5 million of them: part-whole relationship
  • millions of people, a lot of people: quantifier-noun relationship
  • 5 million ( ) people, no ( ) people: simple count
  • 1
    I'm not particularly happy with my answer in its current form, but I'm leaving the answer up for now in the hope that linguists would chip in, either with their own answers or in comments. It's clear that of isn't used uniformly - that's simply a matter of usage. The interesting question is why. – Lawrence Oct 16 '18 at 23:40
  • Do we usually say "millions people" without the word "of"? – hbtpoprock Oct 17 '18 at 6:43
  • 1
    @hbtpoprock No, unless "millions" is a description of the people, like "American people". – Lawrence Oct 17 '18 at 7:15
  • Thank you again @Lawrence, however if you don't mind me asking, can you help me for the one last thing please? The question 4. is waiting for your answer. – hbtpoprock Oct 17 '18 at 11:55
  • @hbtpoprock You’re welcome. Both (a) and (c) work with your Q4. – Lawrence Oct 17 '18 at 12:37

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