"One in five Americans still die/dies ..."

Status
Not open for further replies.

Odessa Dawn

Key Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2012
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Arabic
Home Country
Saudi Arabia
Current Location
Saudi Arabia
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/iage/201304/preparing-death
 
Last edited:

Rover_KE

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jun 20, 2010
Member Type
Retired English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
England
Current Location
England
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
 

probus

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 7, 2011
Member Type
Retired English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
Canada
Current Location
Canada
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.
 

Raymott

VIP Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Member Type
Academic
Native Language
English
Home Country
Australia
Current Location
Australia
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:

5jj

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Member Type
Retired English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
Czech Republic
Current Location
Czech Republic
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.
 

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Japan
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.
 

5jj

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Member Type
Retired English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
Czech Republic
Current Location
Czech Republic
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.
 

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Japan
Sorry- I may have worded that badly. I didn't mean that my not worrying implied you did. :up:
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top