Results 1 to 4 of 4
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Oct 2007
    • Posts: 1,538
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #1

    Most of its population live/lives

    Most of its population live/lives in cities or close to them.
    One third of its population is/are farm workers.

    Are both verb forms fine with the subject? Which is better or preferred?

    Thank you in advance.
    Last edited by joham; 12-Dec-2011 at 03:43. Reason: One sentence added.

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Dec 2009
    • Posts: 5,309
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #2

    Re: Most of its population live/lives

    [QUOTE=joham;831660]Most of its population live/lives in cities or close to them.
    One third of its population is/are farm workers.

    NOT A TEACHER


    (1) I cannot answer your question with confidence, but I can share some of my research:

    (a) Mesdames Celce-Murcia and Larsen-Freeman's admirable The Grammar Book (1983 edition, pages 38- 39) tells us that:

    Fractions and percentages take ... either the singular or the plural ... when they modify a collective noun.

    The two scholars give these examples:

    One tenth of the population is Christian/ are Christians.

    Ten percent of the population is Christian/ are Christians.

    (2) Can we conclude, therefore, that the "correct" sentence would be:

    One third of its population are farm workers.

    (3) Regarding your first sentence, I dare not venture a guess, but I shall offer these items:

    (a) I did some googling, and I noticed examples of "Most of the

    population work/works ...."

    (b) Back in 2006, I copied this sentence from the Los Angeles Times (supposedly one

    of our better newspapers): "50% of the population lives in poverty."

    (c) I once heard a well-known (and well-educated?) TV journalist say this:

    "80% of the population disagrees."

    (d) I once copied this sentence from a Los Angeles Times columnist: "The overwhelming majority of Third World inhabitants still lives outside urban centers." (I guess that we can say that "majority" = "most.")

    (3) I shall sit back and wait for the teachers to join the discussion. Thank you for your great question.

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2009
    • Posts: 3,505
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #3

    Re: Most of its population live/lives

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    Most of its population live/lives in cities or close to them.
    One third of its population is/are farm workers.

    Are both verb forms fine with the subject? Which is better or preferred?

    Thank you in advance.
    Nice research by The Parser. My personal reaction if I had read either verb form with your examples, would be 'no reaction'. That is, I would not have considered either form wrong.

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 44,225
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #4

    Re: Most of its population live/lives

    They both work for me too.

Similar Threads

  1. Usage of 'our population'
    By Tan Elaine in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 04-Oct-2011, 19:15
  2. [Grammar] A/the temperature/population/etc. of
    By Snappy in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 20-Dec-2009, 09:23
  3. surface population
    By KLPNO in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 11-Nov-2009, 15:17
  4. population don't/doesn't
    By Sunshine in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 16-Apr-2009, 17:30
  5. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 18-Oct-2007, 01:40

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •