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The number of pupils is increasing.
The number of pupils are increasing.
A number of pupils are absent today.
A number of pupils is absent today.

When we precede number by the it denotes a unit and is singular. When it's preceded by a it means several or many and is plural.

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The fire caused much damage.
The fire caused many damages.

The plural form damages denotes money paid to make good a loss: The insurance company paid the man damages.

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Tom as well as Mark are coming.
Tom as well as Mark is coming.

Two singular nouns joined by as well as require the verb to be singular.

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Ten sheeps are grazing the field.
Ten sheep are grazing the field.

Sheep, deer, salmon, and a few other nouns have the same form for singular and plural. We say one sheep or ten sheep.

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I want to buy three dozens eggs.
I want to buy three dozen eggs.

(A dozen = 12): I'd like to buy a dozen eggs. When dozen isn't preceded by a numeral (like three) or by a we use the plural form: There were dozens of eggs

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