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Singular and plural. Partitive expressions

Interuniversity Style Guide

    The content of these guidelines is taken from the Vives University Network’s Interuniversity Style Guide for Writing Institutional Texts, an interuniversity project in which the UPC participated with the support of the Secretariat for Universities and Research of the Government of Catalonia.

       

      Partitive expressions

        • The expressions half of and none (of) may take either a singular or a plural verb when the noun they modify is countable. Otherwise, the verb must be singular.

          None of our graduates has had / have had problems gaining a grant for further studies.

        • The expression the majority (of) takes a plural verb if the following noun is a collection of individuals.

          The majority of our graduates have had no problem gaining a grant for further studies.

        • When a number (of) means several, it takes a plural verb.

          A number of applications are still to come.

        • Meanwhile, the number (of) takes a singular verb.

          The number of applications is small.