A/the great majority

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goobee

New Member
Czech
Hello, just a little question to native English speakers: Is there any difference between "a great majority" and "the great majority", such as in "the great majority of visitors are British"? I've seen both, but "the great majority" seems to be more common. Does any one of them sound more natural than the other? To me, "a great majority" makes more sense, because we do not specify how big this majority is; it is just "some" majority. Nevertheless, native speakers probably don't perceive it this way, or do they?
 
  • london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Hello and welcome.:)

    Both are used, you are right. Let's look at this sentence, taken from the archive.spectator.co.uk website, I quote:A great majority of Welsh farmers are Nonconformists, and their political action is a little peculiar. I take that to mean that 'a great number of Welsh farmers'..etc. If I were to read this, however:

    The great majority of Welsh farmers are Nonconformists, and their political action is a little peculiar. I would take that to mean 'almost all/most Welsh farmers'...etc.

    Wait for some more opinions, however.;)
     

    michael13

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Hello and welcome.:)

    Both are used, you are right. Let's look at this sentence, taken from the archive.spectator.co.uk website, I quote:A great majority of Welsh farmers are Nonconformists, and their political action is a little peculiar.

    I take that to mean that 'a great number of Welsh farmers'..etc. If I were to read this, however:

    The great majority of Welsh farmers are Nonconformists, and their political action is a little peculiar.

    I would take that to mean 'almost all/most Welsh farmers'...etc.

    Wait for some more opinions, however.;)
    Oxford:

    eg In the nursing profession, women are in a/the majority.

    Are they exactly the same?
     

    TommyGun

    Senior Member
    Hello,
    Hello and welcome.:)

    Both are used, you are right. Let's look at this sentence, taken from the archive.spectator.co.uk website, I quote:A great majority of Welsh farmers are Nonconformists, and their political action is a little peculiar.

    I take that to mean that 'a great number of Welsh farmers'..etc. If I were to read this, however:

    The great majority of Welsh farmers are Nonconformists, and their political action is a little peculiar.

    I would take that to mean 'almost all/most Welsh farmers'...etc.

    Wait for some more opinions, however.;)
    Does "a majority" imply "the majority"?

    That is, if you read

    1. A great majority of Welsh farmers are Nonconformists, and their political action is a little peculiar.

    does it follow from this sentence that

    2. The great majority of Welsh farmers are Nonconformists?

    I am curious about the sense of the word "majority" in 1), whether it is just a synonym of "number", or it also implies a quantity > 50%.
     
    Last edited:

    Ivan_I

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Hello and welcome.:)

    Both are used, you are right. Let's look at this sentence, taken from the archive.spectator.co.uk website, I quote:A great majority of Welsh farmers are Nonconformists, and their political action is a little peculiar. I take that to mean that 'a great number of Welsh farmers'..etc. If I were to read this, however:

    The great majority of Welsh farmers are Nonconformists, and their political action is a little peculiar. I would take that to mean 'almost all/most Welsh farmers'...etc.

    Wait for some more opinions, however.;)
    Is it possible that "a majority" means different majorities at different times while "the majority" is a current majority within a certain period of time?
     
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