( is ) or ( are ) Chinese ?

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whl626

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More than one fifth of the world population is or are Chinese ?
 

Red5

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Aaaah, this old bugbear! ;-)
 

Casiopea

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whl626 said:
More than one fifth of the world population is or are Chinese ?

In English, a verb argrees in number with its subject. Consider,

Chinese speakers make up one fifth of the world's population.
Subject = Chinese speakers (they, plural)
Verb = make up (plural)

One fifth of the world's population is made up of Chinese speakers.
Subject = One fifth of the population (it, singular)
Verb = is (singular)

Now,

One fifth of the population (singular) is (singular) Chinese.

:D
 

whl626

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Even though I know so well about the agreement. But to Oriental people, they dare not use ( is ) :(. It doesn't sound right to them :p.

This makes me wonder if there is exception.

But to double confirm is a good thing to clear up the mess once and for all :)

Thanks Cas
 

Tdol

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In British English, we don't really care much about the distinction between singular and plural in such cases and will happily use both 'is' and 'are'. I would say that the majority would go for the plural. Many AE speakers find this strange, but we say 'the team is\are' without any concern. ;-)
 

whl626

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Huh, tdol

This is what I want to hear :) Well, I would stick to the root of the grammar but give some leeway for the exception :)
 

Tdol

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To us it's a matter of interprtation. If you say 'the company is', then you view it as an identity. If you use the plural, you see it as a collection of individuals. We feel either view is OK. ;-)
 

RonBee

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I agree with Cas that it should be One fifth of the world's population is Chinese. The subject is one fifth, which is singular.

:D
 

RonBee

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CitySpeak said:
And if the subject is "two fifths"?


:)

Then it is two fifths are.

:D
 
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CitySpeak

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Which one is correct?

1. Two thirds of the cake has been eaten.

2. Two thirds of the cake have been eaten.
 

Tdol

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In BE, the plural would be much more comon, but again, we wouldn't worry about it.
 
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CitySpeak

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tdol said:
In BE, the plural would be much more comon, but again, we wouldn't worry about it.


We concern ourselves with it in AE.



:shock:
 

RonBee

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Tdol

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The logic is unarguable, but BE usage runs against it. People would be divided and a lot of people would use both forms. I think we don't bother with the logic. Many say 'there's two reasons', those others would deplore that. It quite simply doesn't seem to worry us. We wouldn't use it in the other examples either, but the second there's a plural knocking around, we're happy to treat the verb as plural. ;-)
 

Tdol

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RonBee

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I think that two thirds by itself is clearly plural. However, that is different from two thirds of the cake, which I believe is singular and which follows the pattern I already outlined.

:)

[Edited to correct my goof.]
 

Tdol

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In BE, many would take their logic from the 'two' and not think of it as a single thing. ;-)
 

Casiopea

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CitySpeak said:
Which one is correct?

1. Two thirds of the cake has been eaten.

2. Two thirds of the cake have been eaten.

Two thirds have been eaten. (OK)

Two thirds of the population are Chinese. (OK)

Note:

One third are Chinese. (OK)

copular verb: X = Y. (X and Y must agree in number.)

Since "Chinese" is plural here, 'One third' is plural, too.

:D
 
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Stunz1

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Casiopea said:
CitySpeak said:
Which one is correct?

1. Two thirds of the cake has been eaten.

2. Two thirds of the cake have been eaten.

Two thirds have been eaten. (OK)

Two thirds of the population are Chinese. (OK)

Note:

One third are Chinese. (OK)

copular verb: X = Y. (X and Y must agree in number.)

Since "Chinese" is plural here, 'One third' is plural, too.

:D

I'd say:
Two thirds of the biscuits have been eaten.
But:
Two thirds of the cake has been eaten.

To me it seems to depend on whether the "two thirds" is countable or not.
 
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