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Determiners of Quantity [#permalink]
14 Jun 2012, 18:24
The rule from GMAT Grammar book states the following: If the object of the preposition is singular, use a singular verb. If the object of the preposition is plural, use a plural verb.
Half of the dresses are dirty. Half of the sugar is gone. A high percentage of the population is educated. A high percentage of the people are happy. The majority of Congress has voted for the bill. The majority of Senators have voted favorably.
Contrary to popular belief, extinction is a common phenomenon in nature; in fact, the majority of the species that have existed on our planet are already extinct, with most disappearing long before Homo sapiens evolved.
Shouldn't it be: the majority of the species has existed?
Is there a set of words that fall under that rule?
Re: Determiners of Quantity [#permalink]
14 Jun 2012, 19:03
This post received KUDOS
Hi, words like majority,plurality,minority can be either singular or plural depending on their context.If one means the many individual parts of the totality,then use a plural verb form.
e.g. The majority of the students in this class 'are' hard workers.
The student majority 'is' opposed to the death penalty.
So while species may otherwise be singular,but in the context of this sentence 'majority of species' it is considering species as a big group with sub groups of species as smaller parts hence the 'have' in the sentence.