and a small number who <are/is> very rich

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Senior Member
Inside these nations there will be mass prosperity, but with a large minority in serious poverty, and a small number who are very rich.


My question is: a small number who are/is very rich, which 'be' is correct? Thank you.
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    I prefer "are" here because the noun "number" refers to "a number of people": "A small number who are very rich." Coming after the relative pronoun "who", the verb sounds better to me when stated in the plural. Saying "...a small number who is very rich.." sounds wrong. Saying "a small number that is very rich" sounds OK although I still prefer "who are".
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