Singular/plural - 0.5 liter

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"

?
 
  • Au101

    Senior Member
    England, English (UK)
    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.
     
    Last edited:

    Au101

    Senior Member
    England, English (UK)
    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.
     

    Au101

    Senior Member
    England, English (UK)
    No, no, I'm so sorry. I shouldn't have made the mistake of typing fractions.:eek: 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.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    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:tick:
    A half are less than three quarters:cross:

    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.
     

    Au101

    Senior Member
    England, English (UK)
    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.
     
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