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  1. RYJ
    Guest
    #1

    Singular or Plural

    Hi Teachers,

    I am wondering which form, singular or plural, should be used after "a half of things".
    i.e. A half of things is/are ..........?

    If anybody can give me an answer, that would be very nice.
    Thank you,


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434
    #2

    Re: Singular or Plural

    Since the verb links to "half", it will be singular.

    It's an odd phrase.


    • Join Date: Jan 2008
    • Posts: 5
    #3

    Re: Singular or Plural

    Thank you very much.
    But, what sounds odd with this phrase?
    Could you explain to me for my education?


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434
    #4

    Re: Singular or Plural

    Welcome to the forums. Hope we will be able to help!

    Can you give the full sentence which has this phrase in it?


    • Join Date: Jan 2008
    • Posts: 5
    #5

    Re: Singular or Plural

    Well, the actual sentence will be
    "A half of the atoms remain(s) disordered.".

    So the question is if I need to add the "s" after "remain".
    Thank you,


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434
    #6

    Re: Singular or Plural

    In this context, I would say "Half of the atoms remain disordered".


    • Join Date: Jan 2008
    • Posts: 5
    #7

    Re: Singular or Plural

    OK. I think I am getting it.
    One more question.
    In this case, the "half" is used in a singular form without any article.
    Is this OK? (although "halves" does not sound right.)


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434
    #8

    Re: Singular or Plural

    That is right.

    My understanding is that there is research into the behaviour of atoms, and it can be shown that half of the [total number] of atoms remain disordered [following some application of an outside force or something similar].

    Am I close?
    Last edited by Anglika; 17-Jan-2008 at 18:46.


    • Join Date: Jan 2008
    • Posts: 5
    #9

    Re: Singular or Plural

    Yes, your understanding is right.
    Would you suggest "half of the total number of atoms" is more adequate expression?


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434
    #10

    Re: Singular or Plural

    Not really - your context will tell the reader that.

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