Singular/plural - the majority

nisshin_flower

New Member
Australia, English
I am unsure of the correct form for sentences such as 'the majority of (collective noun) (verb phrase)'

For example:
'the majority of errors occur when tasks are not properly planned' or
'the majority of errors occurs when tasks are not properly planned'

It seems to me that 'majority of errors', as noun phrase, is singular and so should take the verb form 'occur', however the quote that I want to use in an assignment uses occurs. I don't want to put a quote with incorrect grammar into my assignment, as I feel this may cast doubt on my references.
 
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Hi nisshin_flower

    I would treat 'the majority of errors' as equivalent to 'most errors', and say 'the majority of errors occur...'

    In practice, I would actually prefer 'most errors' over 'the majority of errors'....

    Loob
     

    chelseaintheskyy

    Member
    CA
    U.S.A-English
    I agree with loob in that I would say "majority of errors occur". But i think majority of errors sounds just as good as most errors if only more formal sounding. The difference between "majority of errors" and "most errors" might be a British thing because its used evenly in the US.
     

    fernandotorres

    Senior Member
    India -Marathi and English
    I agree with loob in that I would say "majority of errors occur". But i think majority of errors sounds just as good as most errors if only more formal sounding. The difference between "majority of errors" and "most errors" might be a British thing because its used evenly in the US.
    I don`t think any such difference exists between AE and BE,it`s a matter of personal choice,the only thing is that " most errors" would be used in spoken English more widely compared to a "a majority of errors"
     
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