Usage and Grammar

Q. In the following sentence, should the word number have an s at the end? I think it is correct as it is; however, I was asked what the grammatical rule is for it, and I do not know that. Is there a rule? “As the number of pain patients grew, it became apparent that there was an unaddressed need in the area.”

A. Your sentence is fine, and don’t be bullied by your critic. Ask her for the grammatical rule that doesn’t allow your phrasing.