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There are two types of people in this world. The first (type) is those who do that, and the second (type) is those who don't.

There are two types of people in this world. The first are those who do that, and the second are those who don't.

Which is the right verb to use here? Are they both fine, with is putting an emphasis on the type and are the people?

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  • I would think you can use either - or avoid the problem by simply saying "...those who do that and those who don't". Commented Aug 24, 2022 at 8:24

2 Answers 2

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Both are fine and natural.

The noun phrase "type of people" can be understood as a single unit, the type, or the plural group that it represents.

Grammatically, it's singular, so it can be treated as such.

But in that sentence, the subject complement, "those who..." is plural, so it clearly can be thought of as plural as well.

There are many group nouns like this that can be treated grammatically as either singular or plural, including "staff", "family", "team" and so on.

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It should be is. This is because you are talking about types. It's helpful to put the thing you are talking about after the first just as you have done. If you were to say "The first type are those who do...", it wouldn't be right.

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  • "The first type are those who" sounds fine to me, and googling shows it's common e.g. Irish Times.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Aug 24, 2022 at 13:41

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