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    #1

    equal or equals?

    two thirds (equal / equals) thirty-three point thirty-three.
    Thank you.

  1. Soup's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: equal or equals?

    Quote Originally Posted by Samia Khalaf View Post
    two thirds (equal / equals) thirty-three point thirty-three.
    Would you say, "It equals" or "They equal"?


    ______________
    Related topic "two and two is/are four": see page 921-922 here.
    Last edited by Soup; 24-Apr-2011 at 14:48.

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    #3

    Re: equal or equals?

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    Would you say, "It equals" or "They equal"?
    A good question, and one I asked myself before deciding I would not respond originally.

    If I think of the fraction 2/3, then I see it as a singular figure, and would say, "two thirds equals nought point six six (recurring).

    On the other hand, I think that I would say, "One third equals nought point three three (recurring); two thirds equal nought point six six (recurring)". In that statement I would feel a change from singular to plural.

    I am not sure whether this is standard BrE practice or personal idiosyncrasy.

    What would you say in these two situations?

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    #4

    Re: equal or equals?

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    What would you say in these two situations?
    Either singular or plural works for me. It seems to depend on how a person interprets the fraction, either as a singular unit (is/equals) or as a plural part of a unit (are/equal):


    • Two-thirds is yours.
      • Meaning, that fraction is yours.
    • Two-thirds are yours.
      • Meaning, two parts are yours.

    Are they both grammatical? Yes. The pattern learners are taught (see below) is based on the presence of a noun:


    • singular verb with mass nouns
    • plural verb with plural nouns
    • singular or plural verb with collective nouns



    When the noun is left unstated, however, is where learners run into problems:


    • Two-thirds of the milk is yours.
    • Two-thirds of the cookies are yours.
    • Two-thirds is/are yours.



    As for me, I prefer this explanation: Singular or plural verb with numbers, percentages and fractions - Topic

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    #5

    Re: equal or equals?

    Quote Originally Posted by Samia Khalaf View Post
    two thirds (equal / equals) thirty-three point thirty-three.
    Thank you.

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    (1) The teachers seem to be telling us that either singular/plural is

    "correct" -- depending on what you are thinking.

    (2) You may wish to consider what I found in a Google e-book

    (from the year 1908) entitled The Inland Printer: Volume 40:


    Nine times out of ten, "two-thirds" does not mean two individual

    thirds but one quantity equal to two third portions put together.

    (That is why the book tells printers to use a hyphen between

    "two" and "thirds.")

    (3) I am a learner like you, so I understand that you want a rule to

    give you confidence. In such a sentence such as yours, you would

    probably always be "correct" if you used the singular.

    P.S. If a of- phrase follows "two-thirds," however, that is a different

    matter. Study the excellent examples given us by Teacher Soup.

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    #6

    Re: equal or equals?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    a Google e-book

    (from the year 1908) entitled The Inland Printer: Volume 40:
    Nothing against your post as such but I wouldn't consult books from 1908 for grammar in 2011.

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    #7

    Re: equal or equals?

    I'm struggling to make two thirds equal 33.33.

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