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    #1

    The majority

    •The majority of people are poor.
    •The population of the town is 1,000 inhabitants. The majority is poor. / The majority are poor.
    •There are 1,000 inhabitants in the town. The majority is unemployed. / The majority are unemployed.
    •The majority of population is unemployed.

    Can I use „the majority of“ with „population“ and uncountable nouns? Are all these examples correct?
    Thanks in advance.

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    #2

    Re: The majority

    I have a feeling that some of the other teachers might disagree, but I would answer thus:

    The majority of people are poor.

    This is grammatically incorrect because I understand that The majority of people is a singular noun phrase, and according to the rules of grammar, you should get:

    The majority of people is poor.

    However, the former sentence is not only natural but probably more common than the second, and certainly conforms to Standard English. I personally would use the former.

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: The majority

    I would use "are" too, on the basis that "The majority of" in this context means the same as "Many" or, at the very least, "More than half".

    Many of the people in this town are poor.
    More than half [of] the people in this town are poor.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #4

    Re: The majority

    With a plural word I use 'are' and with a singular word I use 'is'.

    'The majority of the voters of Calidelphia are in favour of Donald Clinton.'

    'The majority of the electorate of Philafornia is in favour of Hillary Trump' ('electorate=the body of people eligible to vote).

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    #5

    Re: The majority

    Okay, but this rule is based on a common misunderstanding: grammatically, it doesn't matter that 'voters' is plural.

    The subject of the sentence is the singular noun phrase 'The majority of voters'. It's the word 'majority' that we focus on in both sentences, being the headword in the subject phrase.
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 31-Mar-2016 at 08:09. Reason: Deleting quote.

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    #6

    Re: The majority

    "With a plural word I use 'are' and with a singular word I use 'is'."

    This the "rule" I usually rely to. That's why I wrote:

    The majority of people are poor.

    The majority of population is unemployed.


    However, I find it a bit confusing.
    In my native language, we always use the singular verb since we follow this rule:
    "It's the word 'majority' that we focus on in both sentences, being the headword in the subject phrase."

    How about "the majority"(without "of")? Does it again matter which word it refers to (plural or uncountable)?

    The population of the town is 1,000 inhabitants. The majority is poor. / The majority are poor. (Though "the majority" maybe can refer to "inhabitants" as well.)
    There are 1,000 inhabitants in the town. The majority is unemployed. / The majority are unemployed.
    Last edited by Meja; 31-Mar-2016 at 06:28. Reason: typo

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: The majority

    English is changing in regard to some words like 'majority'. The headword of the subject phrase does not always determine the verb form. (It does as a rule, and students should learn this).

    By the way, I wouldn't write: The population of the town is 1,000 inhabitants. 'Inhabitants' can be inferred. "The population of the town is 1,000." If it were true, you might write, "The population of the town is 50 cats."

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