In this first in a series of spelling activities, let’s listen to – and attempt to spell – some tricky names!
According to a recent census, there are 265 millions people living in Indonesia.
Yes, I know it seems right. But it isn’t. Only put an ‘s’ on million when million is the main noun in a noun phrase. Very often million is the main noun in a noun phrase when it is at the beginning of a sentence..
- Millions of people live in Indonesia, a huge archipelago in south-east Asia.
..but not always. It might appear somewhere inside a sentence:
- Indonesia spends millions of dollars every year subsidising fuel.
In the noun phrase millions of people, millions is the main noun, modified by of people. We know exactly which millions you’re talking about – not millions of bananas, for example! The same goes for millions of dollars (not millions of rupiah!).
When million is not the main noun, for example when it is modifying another noun, don’t add an ‘s’:
According to a recent census, there are 265 million people living in Indonesia.
In the noun phrase 265 million people living in Indonesia, the main noun is ‘people’. All of the other words in the phrase give us information about ‘people’ – how many, and where they live.
The same rule applies to hundred(s), thousand(s), etc.
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