1. The majority of the computer professionals recommends/recommend that effective measures should be taken against software piracy.

Generally I follow thumb rule that "a number of" takes plural and "the number of" takes singular verb. ( I though in same way "the majority" takes singular verb)

But in case of "the majority", I checked on internet and found it can be both singular or plural. But I also find many saying we can apply same rule on "the majority" and "a majority" which make them singular and plural respectively. So I got confused.

So back to my question, What should be correct here? Is it singular or plural here? Can you please elaborate if this rule really exist that use of "a" and "the" make it plural and singular respectively.

  • It depends on whether you're talking about the individuals making up that majority (treat as plural), or the majority as a mass group (treat as singular).
    – Lawrence
    Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 15:28
  • Possible duplicate of Is is grammatical to use a mass noun after the phrase "the majority of"?
    – Cardinal
    Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 0:09
  • @Cardinal: No. The linked question is about acceptability of mass nouns or only count nouns; this question is about pluralization of what is distinctly a count noun. Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 1:58
  • @NathanTuggy I think the answer to that question covers this question.
    – Cardinal
    Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 1:59
  • @NathanTuggy wait wait wai ... I hit the wrong link, this is not what I wanted to refer. There is another question whose answer covers this question. I will voted again.
    – Cardinal
    Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 2:00

1 Answer 1


Oxford Learners' Dictionary and Cambridge English Dictionary both provide examples illustrating both the singular and plural verb-use cases. If you are using "majority" to indicate a group of multiple units, use the plural verb. If you are using "majority" to indicate a single collective group, use the singular verb. "A majority" would normally indicate a single collective group, hence, requiring the singular verb.

While the choice is quite subjective, in your example, I would use the plural verb "recommend" since the intent seems to be to stress on multiple sources of the recommendation.

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