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    #1

    1 in 2 people is/are poor...

    Census shows 1 in 2 people is / are in the US are poor.

    Which verb should I use?

    Thanks.

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    #2

    Re: 1 in 2 people is/are poor...

    Census shows (that) 1 in 2 people in the US are poor.

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    #3

    Re: 1 in 2 people is/are poor...

    Thanks, Waflob, for telling me that it should be "One in 2 people in the US is poor." However, I am surprised to see 'has' used in the following sentence.

    Insomnia (Poor Sleep) | Health | Patient UK
    Health Information and Advice | Medicines Guide | Patient.co.uk Information LeafletsInsomnia (Poor Sleep) - About one in five people has some difficulty with sleeping. However, there are many things you can do to help yourself.

    I am really confused why 'has' is used in the above sentence in relation to 'one in five people". In fact, I sometimes see a singular verb used and sometimes a plural in similar constructions.

    Could someone please clear my doubt?

    Thanks.

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: 1 in 2 people is/are poor...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tan Elaine View Post
    Thanks, Waflob, for telling me that it should be "One in 2 people in the US is poor." However, I am surprised to see 'has' used in the following sentence.

    Insomnia (Poor Sleep) | Health | Patient UK
    Health Information and Advice | Medicines Guide | Patient.co.uk Information LeafletsInsomnia (Poor Sleep) - About one in five people has some difficulty with sleeping. However, there are many things you can do to help yourself.

    I am really confused why 'has' is used in the above sentence in relation to 'one in five people". In fact, I sometimes see a singular verb used and sometimes a plural in similar constructions.

    Could someone please clear my doubt?

    Thanks.
    If you consider that "one in five" means "one person [out of every five]" then it's a little easier to see why "has" was used. I'm sure you wouldn't say "One person have difficulty sleeping".

    "If you take any group of five people, you will find that one of them has difficulty sleeping."

    Of course, one in five people does not mean that just one person in the whole country has difficulty sleeping. If there are 5 million people in the country, then 1 million of them have difficulty sleeping.

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    #5

    Re: 1 in 2 people is/are poor...

    Thanks, Emsr2d2.

    Can I conclude from your explanation that either singular of plural verb can be used in constructions such as "One in five people..."?

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: 1 in 2 people is/are poor...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tan Elaine View Post
    Thanks, Emsr2d2.

    Can I conclude from your explanation that either singular of plural verb can be used in constructions such as "One in five people..."?
    If you follow emsr2d2's line of thinking, then only the singular verb is possible.

    Some people think that, as 'one in 5 people' means '20% of the population', several million people, then the plural verb is acceptable.

    I go with the singular, but I have no great objection to the plural.

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