Is one third singular or plural?

Answered by Willie Powers

One-third is considered singular. Similar to the word “number,” the term “one-third” varies according to circumstance and takes a singular verb. This means that when “one-third” is used as a subject of a sentence, it is treated as a singular entity. For example:

– One-third of the population is affected by the disease.
– One-third of the cake has been eaten.

In these sentences, the verb “is” and “has” are used because the subject “one-third” is singular. However, it is important to note that when “one-third” is preceded by the definite article “the,” it can also take a plural verb. For example:

– The one-third of the students who completed the project were rewarded.

In this case, because “the one-third” is modified by “students,” which is plural, the verb “were” is used. This usage is less common and typically occurs when referring to a specific group within the one-third.

It is worth mentioning that this rule applies not only to “one-third” but also to other fractions and percentages. Words like “half,” “two-thirds,” and “percentage” also take a singular verb when preceded by “the.” For example:

– The half of the pie belongs to my sister.
– The two-thirds of the students passed the exam.
– The percentage of people who voted in the election was high.

“one-third” is considered singular and takes a singular verb in most cases. However, when preceded by “the,” it can also take a plural verb depending on the context.