Collective Numbers

Collective numbers are those that even in their singular form indicate a group of beings or things:
Eles são um quarteto famoso paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio They are a famous quartet
Sometimes they indicate the exact number of things in the group, as in the example above. A quarteto is a musical group of 4 people. Other times, they are more general:
A médica salvou várias dezenas de pessoas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio The doctor saved several dozens of people
In this example, dezenas technically means tens, but it is used in the same way that we often use the word dozens in English. The implied meaning is that the doctor saved a lot of people, not that she specifically saved people only in groups of 12. However, if you wanted to be specific (if you were talking about a dozen eggs, for example), the Portuguese word is dúzia paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio dozen. Notice that collective numbers function as nouns.
Here are a few more common examples:

  • parpair
  • duo paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio duo
  • dueto paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio duet
  • trio paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio trio
  • década paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio decade
  • centenas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio hundreds
  • milhares Play normal audio thousands

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