Can the word "thousands" be a noun? Please give an example.

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kplhardison's profile pic

Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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The word thousands is the plural of thousand, which is a number and as such is in the Noun Word Class. Additionally, American English classes thousand as an Adjective when used in a noun phrase, while British English classes the same use in a noun phrase as a Determiner (simply a variance in naming because noun phrases are comprised of one or more of these: article, determiner, adjective followed by the head noun).

One point to specify is that thousands is considered the informal usage of thousand as it is not Standard English to say things like: "There were twelve thousands jelly beans." Thus thousands is used in nonspecific expressions of quantity, which is considered informal usage, though very common usage: e.g., Thousands of gulls descended on the shore. Corporations created thousands of jobs.  

So to answer your question, yes, thousands is used as a noun as it is a number, and numbers are nouns. As to examples, thousand, singular, is a noun in sentences like these:

  • The car cost less than ten thousand dollars.
  • Eight thousand alumni were in attendance.

Thousands, plural informal, is a noun in sentences like these:

  • There were thousands of sandpipers on the beach.
  • Thousands of runners competed in the meet.
  • The field sported thousands of flowers in bloom across it.

For the sake of comparison, thousand is an adjective/determiner in noun phrases in sentences like these:

  • A thousand stars in the sky shine tonight.
  • A thousand cricketers converged on the tournament.
  • The crop was threatened by a thousand crickets.
  • The regatta hosted a thousand ships.
beefheart's profile pic

beefheart | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 3) Honors

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Thousands had gathered to listen to the famous speaker.

Is that a noun? Or is it a contraction of 'thousands of people'? Who knows?


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igmimi's profile pic

igmimi | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

Yes the word thousand is a noun shows the place hierarchy in the number is a cardinal number ,the fourth house after hundred....starting from ones...

Example:ten thousand , thousands, hundreds, tens ,ones

This is according to the international system of numbers.The symbol for thousand is 1000 or 10 times 100.It can also denote the thousands place in the place value column.

Most commonly 'thousand' is used as an adjective of quantity or number denoting a great amount of something...

anna691's profile pic

anna691 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

No because a noun is a person, place, or thing. and "thousands" is more like an adjective describing how many there are of something.

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