How about, "I need some forks." It's not a literal translation but isn't that a natural translation into English?
I'm for including it, since the two sentences are interchangeable in both languages.
It's just a use of a different phrase. Making the translation maybe not exact.
Does מספר imply a large number? When I hear "I need a number of forks" there is a different implication than "I need some forks".
Is there a rule when shel/of isn't needed? Because as a native English speaker my natural inclination is to think
מספר של מזלגות . is it wrong this way or just not needed? How do we know when we need "of" ? Thanks airelibre!
I'm struggling to think of a rule, I think it's more an intuition thing that you will pick up over time. But possibly, because מספר here is not a literal "number", and just a different way of saying כמה, it's probably more natural not to use של because of that. You couldn't say כמה של מזלגות for example.