one in five is / are

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  • Pakal

    Senior Member
    Mexico/spanish
    "One in five homeless people is employed". Or (I think this is also correct) One out of five homeless people is employed"

    Regards,
     

    irisheyes0583

    Senior Member
    English (USA)
    You can say "One in five homeless people is employed." or "One out of five homeless people is employed."

    Also, a lot of native speakers will say "One in five homeless people are employed.", even though it is NOT correct English!
     

    EmmanuelOA

    Senior Member
    México - Español, English, Français
    The noun people is always plural (opposite to Spanish gente, which is singular).

    In the sentences we're talking about, however, the subject is one and not people, hence the singular form of the verb.

    ;)
     

    jacinta

    Senior Member
    USA English
    We have to consider what we are saying in this sentence. We are considering that there are many homeless people. The construction of the sentence says that one in five is. Grammatically, we want to say that this is a correct construction. Actually, we are considering a number of people who are homeless.
    If you were to say "One out of those five people over there is homeless," you are speaking of only one person, not of a collective group.

    Look at this example: Many homeless animals are euthanized daily, at least one in five.
    One in five animals are euthenized daily.

    Because we are considering a larger number than one, our minds and our ears want to say, "One in five are homeless..."

    It sounds awful to my ear to say, "One in five is homeless".

    This is only my opinion and rationale. I would have to look up a rule and I don't know if it exists. :)
     

    EmmanuelOA

    Senior Member
    México - Español, English, Français
    Now you've made me doubt. I still believe, however, that grammatically the subject is one, and the verb must therefore be singular, no matter what the sense of the sentence is:

    Many homeless animals are euthanised daily, at least one in five. (here the subject is animals, hence the plural conjugation)
    One in five animals is euthanised daily. (here the subject is one, hence the singular conjugation)

    And yet your explanation is so logical, I don't know anymore.

    Maybe it's because you're American, and with all due respect, I consider British English to be more correct overall. Let us wait other opinions.
     

    jacinta

    Senior Member
    USA English
    EmmanuelOA said:
    I consider British English to be more correct overall. Let us wait other opinions.
    Wooooo, careful, emmanuelOA. I will let your comment go for now...

    There may be Americans who disagree with me.
     

    EmmanuelOA

    Senior Member
    México - Español, English, Français
    NO, NO, PLEASE! Don't get me wrong!

    It's got nothing to do with people being American... what I meant was that in many cases AmE and BrE are different... being the BrE 'version' more appropiate.

    It's like if one says European Spanish is more correct than Mexican one --I'm Mexican-- because we misuse a lot... present perfect, for example. I know that, and I accept it.

    I know we use a lot of slang, and if I weren't Mexican, I would probably prefer to learn Spanish Spanish because it's the original one.

    It's the same case. Please, don't misinterpret me. I just like BrE more, just like maybe you like Spanish Spanish more. And I'd agree with you.
     

    CatholicSchoolGrammar

    New Member
    English - United States
    Pakal, IrishEyes0583, and EmmanuelOA are all correct.

    The verb must match the subject: "one is". Otherwise you end up with "one are." You must ignore the prepositional phrase ("in five" or "out of five"), as it has nothing to do with the actual subject. People have a habit of conjugating the verb after the last noun (i.e., "people" and "animals"), and it's incorrect. The same problem happens with the "each one of ___" construct. Many people follow it with "are" instead of "is."

    Hope this helps!


    We have to consider what we are saying in this sentence. We are considering that there are many homeless people. The construction of the sentence says that one in five is. Grammatically, we want to say that this is a correct construction. Actually, we are considering a number of people who are homeless.
    If you were to say "One out of those five people over there is homeless," you are speaking of only one person, not of a collective group.

    Look at this example: Many homeless animals are euthanized daily, at least one in five.
    One in five animals are euthenized daily.

    Because we are considering a larger number than one, our minds and our ears want to say, "One in five are homeless..."

    It sounds awful to my ear to say, "One in five is homeless".

    This is only my opinion and rationale. I would have to look up a rule and I don't know if it exists. :)
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    Is it one in five homeless people ARE in employed or
    one in five homeless people IS employed?
    For most of us, it's "One in five homeless people are employed" but "One homeless person in five is employed". "One in five" refers to a fraction of the total, but "one person" is a person.

    "A lot of people" is plural, "lots of rice" is singular, "one hundred people" is usually plural, as is "a dozen people". "A number of people" is plural when it refers to people (e.g. "A number of people were reporting our dog to the police") but singular when it refers to an actual number (e.g. "A number of people is written in the ledger next to each address, but if the number of occupants is zero, 'none' is written").

    We say "A ton of people is too much for the boat" but "A ton of people were all trying to get in the boat at once."
     

    Wandering JJ

    Senior Member
    British English
    In the above example, "a ton of" is not meant as a concrete weight, it means "a great many" and it therefore takes a plural verb.

    We would say "A ton of coal is too much for the boat to carry" because we mean "a ton" and not "a great many".
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    In the above example, "a ton of" is not meant as a concrete weight, it means "a great many" and it therefore takes a plural verb.

    We would say "A ton of coal is too much for the boat to carry" because we mean "a ton" and not "a great many".
    Yes, and "A ton of coal was all being dumped in the boat at once."

    It all depends on what is meant, not by which noun is outside the "prepositional phrase".
     
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