Several vs. Numerous

several and numerous are a little bit different.

"Several" vs. "Numerous" in the English Grammar

What Are Their Main Differences?

'Numerous' refers to a large number; while 'several' refers to a small number. Actually, to be more clear, we have to say that 'numerous' is almost many, but 'several' means not many.


Grammatical Functions

  • 'Numerous' is used as:
  1. an adjective.

'Numerous' as an adjective is used to describe a noun and tell how large in number the noun is.

There are numerous articles on HPV. → adjective

Numerous errors had been made by the workers. → adjective

  • 'Several' is used as:
  1. a *determiner
  2. a pronoun
  3. an *adjective

Determiners are used before nouns to define them. 'Several' as a determiner is used before plural countable nouns. As a pronoun, several is used alone with no nouns immediately following it. As an adjective, 'several' is used before nouns but it does not refer to a quantity. In this case, it means separate.

I wrote several letters to John. → determiner

Several go for a walk everyday. → pronoun

There are several partitions for you to try on your cloth. → adjective

What Several and Numerous Mean

  • 'Numerous':

refers to a larger amount, such as 'many'; while 'several' refers to a smaller amount such as 'a few'.

We have had numerous memorable moments together.

The singer sang several songs just before he fainted on stage.


How Verbs Agree with Nouns

  • 'Numerous' and 'several':

are followed by plural countable nouns. As a result, they are used with plural verbs. Remember, after all, they refer to a plural noun even if there is not a noun used after them. So, the verb is always plural with them.

These artists wrote numerous books.

Several animals are going to be extinct.

Numerous students are taking part in this event.

Several soldiers were killed in World War II.


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