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Hi everyone! May I have a question?

After the word "total" as adjective, we use plural or single noun? For example, if I write these three sentences, which is correct?

1. There are 20% out of the total students choosing science field.

2. There are 20% out of the total student choosing science field.

3. 7% out of the total profit is distributed to shippers.

 

Last edited by Moon Le
Original Post
@Moon Le posted:

 

1. There are 20% out of the total students choosing science field.

2. There are 20% out of the total student choosing science field.

3. 7% out of the total profit is distributed to shippers.

Hi, Moon Le,

We generally use "of," not "out of," with percentages. By the way, your question about the singular or plural form should be related to the statement of percentages, not to the presence of the adjective "total." Notice you can eliminate "total" and your doubt remains:

1'. There are 20% of the students choosing science.

2'. There are 20% of the student choosing science.

3'. 7% of the profit is distributed to shippers.

(2') is incorrect. You need the plural "students."

If you make an Advanced Search on GE including the words percentage singular plural you will find many interesting posts on the topic. Basically, if the noun is plural, the percentage takes a plural verb if it quantifies the noun (and singular if the percentage is the main noun), and if the noun is singular, the percentage takes a singular verb.

In this old posting you can read:

Percent can take a singular or plural verb, depending on how the quantity being described is viewed. Very often what determines the form of the verb is the noun nearest to it. Thus one might say Eighty percent of the legislators are going to vote against the bill or Eighty percent of the legislature is set to vote the bill down. In the second sentence the group of legislators is considered as a body, not as individuals (from the American Heritage Dictionary)

[A percentage] can be used in an expression of quantity, in which case the verb agrees with the noun head:

A certain percentage of STUDENTS DO not attend graduation ceremonies.

It can be used as a noun:

The PERCENTAGE of students who don't attend graduation ceremonies IS small.

The same is true of "number" -- it can be part of an expression of quantity (a quantifier, like "a lot of" or "some") or a noun used as the subject of a sentence.

e.g., A number of students are here. The number of students who are here is twelve.

Betty Azar

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