# Are percentages singular or plural?

• 20% of the students are/is present.
• The remaining 20% of the protein form/forms enzymes.

Singular verb or plural — which one is correct?

When we are looking at a sentence with words that indicate portions (percent in your example, also: fraction, some...), to choose the correct subject-verb agreement, we simply have to look at the noun after "of".

In the first case, the noun is "students" - a countable noun and it is in plural, therefore the verb should be in plural as well:

20% of the students are present

Even if there are 100 students, and you want to infer 1%, you still use plural:

1% of 100 students are present

In the second case, the noun is "protein" - countable noun in singular, the verb is singular as well:

The remaining 20% of the protein forms enzymes

• What if it was 1% of the sudents? Jun 20, 2014 at 9:42
• Still the same, a plural is needed. Even if there were 100 students, and we knew that 1% is only one student :) Jun 20, 2014 at 10:20
• @Vilmar so much the better if you embedded your comment Oct 24, 2014 at 12:37
• @Vilmar does this still work with "100% of 1 student"? Dec 21, 2014 at 20:07
• @Ooker A rare thing to be seen in regular speech (unless we are talking about parts of the student or really formal statistics) :) In this case student is singular, so yeah, one would say "100% of 1 student is present at the exam". Dec 22, 2014 at 8:15