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I am very confused about which is the main noun in a noun phrase. And I know that the verb should be in accordance with the main noun in the subject noun phrase in terms of the numbers.

Noun Phrase A.

the majority of people

Q) The majority of people are/is?

Noun Phrase B.

several layers of meaning

Q) Several layers of meaning are/is?

Is each phrase single or plural and could you explain why?

Thank you very much for your help. :)

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The majority of people is.

Majority--in this instance--refers a single group. It is singular.

Several layers of meaning are.

Layers is plural. In addition to the s at the end of layers, the word several gives this away.

  • But, I checked the article A in a book and it says it is plural. Can you give me more explanation about it? – Smart Humanism Mar 16 '16 at 16:25
  • Are you referring to the article "a"? – legowave440 Mar 16 '16 at 23:19

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