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  1. #1
    hela is offline Senior Member
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    Default majority + singular or plural ?

    Dear members,

    We say :
    a) a small number of people are here
    b) the number of people is...

    Is it the same thing with the word "majority"?
    a) a majority of people are
    b) the majority of people is ?

    Many thanks,
    Hela

  2. #2
    CHOMAT is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: majority + singular or plural ?

    Yes Hela, both can be used, although with a slight difference of meaning.
    Majority of +plural : you focus on the individuals belonging to the group :
    The majority of people drink alcohol : that's the individuals who drink 1+1+1+1
    The majority elects our candidate: the group as a whole opts for this election.
    ....The majority of people is against isolationism
    a majority of people go to the cinema. That is not the decision of a whole but the common tendency of individuals belonging to a definite group.

  3. #3
    2006 is offline Banned
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    Default Re: majority + singular or plural ?

    Quote Originally Posted by hela View Post
    Dear members,

    We say :
    a) a small number of people are here
    b) the number of people is...

    Is it the same thing with the word "majority"?
    a) a majority of people are
    b) the majority of people is ?

    Many thanks,
    Hela
    (A)(The) majority of people/students/teachers,etc are..........
    When majority or minority refers to a specified set of persons, including "people", use a plural verb. It is clear that you are talking about more then one person/student/teacher,etc.

    When you just say (a)(the) [minority][majority] use a singular verb. The majority is in favor of refunding the money. (majority)(minority) is an 'it'.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: majority + singular or plural ?

    "Number of [whatever]" takes a plural verb.
    A number of us are studying English.
    A number of soldiers were against the war.

    "Majority of [whatever] takes a plural verb.
    The majority of Canadians live near the American border.
    The majority of our streetcars are over thirty years old.

    In these cases you have to think of the meaning, which is plural.

    regards
    edward

    Quote Originally Posted by hela View Post
    Dear members,

    We say :
    a) a small number of people are here
    b) the number of people is...

    Is it the same thing with the word "majority"?
    a) a majority of people are
    b) the majority of people is ?

    Many thanks,
    Hela

  5. #5
    hela is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: majority + singular or plural ?

    How about the following, please?
    The majority of judges are in your favour ?
    and
    The majority of the judges is in your favour ?

    All the best,
    Hela

  6. #6
    CHOMAT is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: majority + singular or plural ?

    I opt for the second solution since the judgement is seen as a whole a collective decision.
    Alain

  7. #7
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    Default Re: majority + singular or plural ?

    Great illustration of how complex language can be!

    The majority of the judges is...
    I'd use this only if the votes are being counted, one by one.
    55 say yes, 45 say no. The majority is in favor.

    But if "the majority of judges" means simply "most judges", then it's plural.
    The majority of the judges are in favor.

    I have been speaking English for more than 60 years and I still feel like a beginner! The complexities are endless.

    edward

    Quote Originally Posted by CHOMAT View Post
    I opt for the second solution since the judgement is seen as a whole a collective decision.
    Alain

  8. #8
    CHOMAT is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: majority + singular or plural ?

    Quote Originally Posted by baqarah131 View Post
    Great illustration of how complex language can be!

    The majority of the judges is...
    I'd use this only if the votes are being counted, one by one.
    55 say yes, 45 say no. The majority is in favor.

    But if "the majority of judges" means simply "most judges", then it's plural.
    The majority of the judges are in favor.

    I have been speaking English for more than 60 years and I still feel like a beginner! The complexities are endless.

    edward
    and this humbleness honours you Edward!

  9. #9
    hela is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: majority + singular or plural ?

    Hello Edward,

    What about this:

    1a) There are three chairs and a table in the room.
    b) There is a table and three chairs in the room.

    2a) Either the accused or the witnesses were lying.
    b) Either the witnesses or the accused was lying.

    3a) There is a table and three chairs in front of him.
    b) In front of him is a desk, three chairs and a few books
    c) In front of him are three chairs, a table and a few books.
    d) The desk, the chairs, and the books are in front of him.
    e) The books, the chairs, and the desk are in front of him.

    4a) The events or the story that has been related is untrue.
    b) The story or the events that have been related are untrue.
    c) The events and the story that have been related are untrue.


    Correct?

    Have a nice day.
    Hela
    Last edited by hela; 10-Dec-2007 at 07:10.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: majority + singular or plural ?

    1a) There are three chairs and a table in the room.
    This is correct.

    b) There is a table and three chairs in the room.
    This is not correct, but might be said in casual speech, especially if you contract to "There's..."

    2a) Either the accused or the witnesses were lying.
    b) Either the witnesses or the accused was lying.

    Neither is correct. The best way around this problem of verb agreement would be to reword the sentence:

    Either the accused was lying, or the witnesses.

    3a) There is a table and three chairs in front of him.
    Reword: A table and three chairs are in front of him.

    b) In front of him is a desk, three chairs and a few books
    In front of him are...

    c) In front of him are three chairs, a table and a few books.
    Correct.

    d) The desk, the chairs, and the books are in front of him.
    Correct.

    e) The books, the chairs, and the desk are in front of him.
    Correct.



    Quote Originally Posted by hela View Post
    Hello Edward,

    What about this:

    1a) There are three chairs and a table in the room.
    b) There is a table and three chairs in the room.

    2a) Either the accused or the witnesses were lying.
    b) Either the witnesses or the accused was lying.

    3a) There is a table and three chairs in front of him.
    b) In front of him is a desk, three chairs and a few books
    c) In front of him are three chairs, a table and a few books.
    d) The desk, the chairs, and the books are in front of him.
    e) The books, the chairs, and the desk are in front of him.

    4a) The events or the story that has been related is untrue.
    b) The story or the events that have been related are untrue.
    c) The events and the story that have been related are untrue.

    I hope this helps. It's certainly important in written English, and I try to be accurate even in casual speech. But you'll hear many sentences that are technically wrong in this regard.

    regards and best wishes for success
    edward

    Correct?

    Have a nice day.
    Hela

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