# Singular/plural - 0.5 liter

#### Andreas_Jensen

##### Senior Member
Being native of a language with no distinction between singular and plural in verbs and where "liter" is the exact same word in singular and plural, this confuses me a bit...

But... If I write:

"0.5 mL was/were added to the solution"

Would it be "was" or "were"?

And what if it's more than one milliliter?

"6.2 mL of coca cola was/were added to the mixture"

?

• Hi, decimals are usually plural and they should both be "were", but unless I'm very much mistaken there are many threads on a similar subject which it might be worth taking a look at. Good luck with English.

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Alright... Thank you very much... I'm currently writing my first scientific report in English, so suddenly all these issues that have been overlooked before are all very real!...

Oops, just to be clear, you would say "half a litre", "six and a fifth of a litre", etc. was added. Where I said fractions before, it was something of a mistake.

Okay, so it is "was" in every case? Even for more than one liter?

No, no, I'm so sorry. I shouldn't have made the mistake of typing fractions. As I'm sure you know a fraction is something like 1/2, or 3/4 (a half, or three-quarters.) A decimal is something like 0.5 or 0.75. You would say "half a litre was added", or "0.5 litres were added." Similarly, you would say "six and a fifth of a litre was added", or "6.2 litres were added." Sorry about that.

Hi, fractions and decimals are usually plural and they should both be "were", but unless I'm very much mistaken there are many threads on a similar subject which it might be worth taking a look at. Good luck with English.

I'm very surprised you say this, Au101.

I say half a pint is not much beer. I couldn't say half a pint are not much beer.

A half is greater than a quarter
A half are less than three quarters

I'd accept either of:

Three quarters is more than a half.
Three quarters are more than a half.

As for Andreas's questions:

"0.5 mL was added to the solution"
"6.2 mL of coca cola were added to the mixture"

I think my practice is to use the singular if it's one or under one, and the plural if it's more than one.

I wonder if that's what most people do.

Yeah, sorry about that Thomas, I'm not even sure what I did, I thought I'd changed it. Anyway, the necessary ammendments have been made above. Having read your post, I've also realised that "was" is actually used. However, I think that you should say 0.5 mililitres and therefore it should be 0.5 mililitres were added. However, I have seen and heard 0.5 mililitres was added. I'm not sure about how correct that is though. But my original post was a mistake. I'm so sorry.

"half a litre", "six and a fifth of a litre"
Would you please write it in digits?

Thank you.

0.5 and 6.2 litres respectively.

If we're really doing fractions, should that be ½ litre and 6⅕ litres?

As pointed out earlier, it's ½ litre (half a litre) but 0.5 litres (nought point five litres).

6.2 litres respectively.
"six and a fifth of a litre"

Why did you use the word "fifth" here? We don't have 5.

We don't have 5.
We have 1/5. That is "a fifth".
Just as 0.25 is "a quarter" (Americans sometimes say "a fourth"), or 0.33 is (approximately) "a third".

0.4 would be "four tenths" or "two fifths".

Why did you use the word "fifth" here? We don't have 5.

A fifth = 0.2, so six and a fifth = 6.2

Six and a fifth is not a term that would ever be used in a scientific report.

Oh my god. My math is terrible.