I am just a beginner in English and want to know why is "were" used in the first sentence:

The least proportion of men were detained.

The number of men in the party was high.

Number (in sentence 1) and proportion (in sentence 2) both are singular. So why are we using "were" in the first sentence but was is used in the second?


The least proportion of men refers to people which is plural so the verb were was used

The number of men refers to the number which is considered singular and the verb was was used because the number increases or decreases.

Similarly, a number of people is plural and the number of people is singular

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