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How Many is Many?

In 1982, Ried's Table was published to help newspaper readers understand the numbers and numerical estimates being used by reporters. The goal was precision....!

Table of Absolute Values for Common
American Phrases Denoting Nonspecific Quantities

The format is Common Phrase : Absolute Value(s):
  • One : 1
  • Only one : 1
  • A couple : 2 to 4
  • A few : 3 to 5
  • Quite a few : 3 to 6
  • Several : 3 to 9
  • Many : 3 to 8
  • Most (i.e. "most authorities") : 4 to 6
  • Half a dozen : 5 to 7
  • About a half dozen : 4 to 8
  • A lot : 6 to 10
  • Quite a lot : 7 to 11
  • A whole lot : 8 to 17
  • Ten : 9 to 11
  • Around ten : 7 to 13
  • A dozen : 11 to 13
  • About a dozen : 9 to 15
  • A bunch : 8 to 15
  • A whole bunch : 9 to 19
  • Two dozen : 22 to 26
  • About two dozen : 21 to 27
  • A few hundred : 75 to 125
  • A couple of hundred : 99 to 139
  • Two or three hundred : 140 to 175
  • Half a million (i.e. Promoter's crowd estimate) : 90,000 to 125,000
  • Most (expressed as a percentage) : 10% to 20%
  • A majority : 50% + 1
  • A clear majority : 51%
  • A vast majority : 52% to 60%
  • An overwhelming majority : 61% to 70%
  • Almost all/everyone : 71% to 75%
  • Practically all/everyone : 76% to 80%
  • All/everyone : 81% to 85%
  • Absolutely all/everyone : 86% to 90%
  • 100% of those surveyed : 91% to 95%
  • Street value (narcotic agent's valuation) : Divide by 100 to find actual
  • Note: The table was named for Don Ried, a technical writer, who suggested the first two values.

    If you do not believe all of this, check it out!

    Source: Infoworld, December 6, 1982, p. 46