Majority – Singular or Plural


Majority = Can be either singular or plural; however, it all depends on the context. If we use the word ‘majority’ to describe a collection of individuals, we treat it as plural:
Although the majority likes his suggestions in general, it doesn’t agree with him on every issue.

(In British English, we usually use a plural verb in this meaning).
The majority are upset about the government’s new economic policies.


When the word ‘majority’ refers to a collective group, it should be singular:
A 65% majority is in favour, 30% against, and the rest is undecided.


In case we are uncertain whether it is a collection of individuals or a collective group, we use whatever form sounds best to us.
He interviews several candidates every day and the majority are women.


Be careful! ‘Majority’ should be used with countable nouns and not with uncountable nouns:
He has finished the majority of the lessons. (Here, lessons are countable)
He has finished the majority of the lesson.    (One lesson consisting of several pages is not countable)
Instead we say: He has finished the most of the lesson.


Majority of:
When we use ‘majority of ’in a sentence and it is followed by a noun, we use a plural verb:
The majority of voters in this constituency are women.


When ‘majority’ indicates a particular number of votes, we use a singular verb:
President’s majority has grown by 20 percent over the past five years.

When ‘majority’ specifies a group of persons or things that are in the majority, we can use either a singular or plural verb; however, it depends on whether the group is taken as a whole or as a set of people considered individually:
The majority don’t like the Prime Minister and they have voted him out.
The majority doesn’t like the Prime Minister and it has voted him out.   


Be careful! Majority is often preceded by great (but not by greater) when we want to express the sense of “most of” beyond doubt:

The great majority went in for the classical music.
The ‘greater majority’ is OK only when there are two majorities:

Jack beat out Mark by a greater majority in this election than in the previous one.


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