Majority/minority: is or are? (Comment)

 

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We asked which form of the verb should go in each of the blank spaces.

1. A sizable majority __________(feel/ feels).

2. A sizable majority of teachers ___________(feel/ feels) .

3. Of those who use an on-line service, the vast majority _______(go/goes) on-line everyday. 

A:

It sounds better to my ears to use the plural when the 'feelers' are identified (teachers, in this case). When they are not identified-when they are a group (vast majority, sizable majority)-the singular sounds better to me.

Dace Kezbers
dkezbers@uic.edu

A:

It's all the same! Like "The government/police/team, etc. has/have made an important decision." Depends on whether you know the people concerned, have-or want to create-an emotional link with them, and whether you want to consider them as individuals etc. Think about, e.g., "The team enjoys training activities" vs. "The team enjoy their training activities." Am I wrong? Let me know.

Helen Tooke
hctooke@tin.it

[From The Grammar Exchange team:

Indeed, the majority of our group agree with Dace, and think the verbs should be (1) feels, (2) feel, (3) goes.]

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