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  1. #1
    Odessa Dawn is offline Key Member
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    "One in five Americans still die/dies ..."

    One in five Americans still die using emergency services, with more than 14% of these deaths occurring among patients 85 years and older. Although death is our only exit strategy in life, few of us are preparing for it. Ask any person how they want to die and they will have a definitive response, “quick and painless.”
    Preparing for Death


    I have checked the rule, but I am still confused.
    The phrases "one in [plural number]" and "more than one" always take a singular verb:

    Which one is natural, please?

    "One in five Americans still die using emergency services, ..."

    "One in five Americans still dies using emergency services, ..."
    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/...reparing-death
    Last edited by Odessa Dawn; 30-Apr-2013 at 23:21. Reason: Adding a link to my quotation.

  2. #2
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Re: "One in five Americans still die/dies ..."

    Again, please acknowledge the source of your quotation.

    'One in five Americans still die' is what I would say, as it means 'a lot of Americans'.

    Rover

  3. #3
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    probus is offline Moderator
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    Re: "One in five Americans still die/dies ..."

    It's an interesting question, With all respect to Rover and notwithstanding that the number one requires a singular verb, dies sounds more natural to me.

  4. #4
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    Re: "One in five Americans still die/dies ..."

    I always use a plural verb there. "One in five dentists charge reasonably." The reason is that the sense of the subject is plural, It means "Twenty percent of dentists". It also means "One in this five plus one in this five plus one in this five ..." until all the dentists have been counted.
    PS: The subject is "One in five dentists" not 'One dentist'.
    Last edited by Raymott; 01-May-2013 at 07:42.

  5. #5
    5jj's Avatar
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    Re: "One in five Americans still die/dies ..."

    I would interpret 'One in five Americans' as '20%/a fifth of all Americans' and use a plural verb.

    If it were rephrased as 'One American in five' I would use a singular verb.

  6. #6
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: "One in five Americans still die/dies ..."

    Quote Originally Posted by Odessa Dawn View Post
    I have checked the rule, but I am still confused.
    So are many native speakers. I'd do the same as 5jj, but wouldn't worry about other people doing things differently.

  7. #7
    5jj's Avatar
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    Re: "One in five Americans still die/dies ..."

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    I'd do the same as 5jj, but wouldn't worry about other people doing things differently.
    Quite. I used the word "I would interpret ..." to suggest that this was my personal feeling. I hope I did not give the impression that it was the 'correct' and only acceptable answer.

  8. #8
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: "One in five Americans still die/dies ..."

    Sorry- I may have worded that badly. I didn't mean that my not worrying implied you did.

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