Translation:The majority know how to use a knife.
Here is an explanation on when majority is singular and when it is plural: http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/majority.html
Everyone who is arguing about this issue should read DUO1614's link. It's not a British vs. American thing, it's about context. Majority is singular when it is referring to a collection of people as a unit. In this case, it's referring to the individual people (the knowledge isn't somehow collective).
So, the majority know how to use a knife. Consequently, the majority votes to outlaw scissors.
I agree that his link explains correct usage. But I don't think your examples are correct.
The majority know how to use a knife.
The majority is in favor of outlawing scissors.
Also, there is some variance in collective nouns between British and American English.
When majority is followed by a prepositional phrase beginning with of and something that is countable — like "the majority of people/students/us," etc. — we invariably use a plural verb with it. When it stands by itself, it is often singular, as in "The majority has spoken," but not always, as when the countable subjects are clearly implied, as in "The voters of Hampden County have registered, and the majority have registered Democrat." ( http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/grammarlogs4/grammarlogs530.htm)
Ok, so I'd also like to know if this matters when it comes to Spanish grammar.
Ambas son correctas y admitidas oficialmente enspañol. Si bien el plural es una apuesta segura, mientras que el singular no siempre nos valdrá.
Mayoría can be either plural or singular in Spanish depending on the context.
"El sustantivo cuantificador mayoría necesita de un complemento especificativo formado por la preposición de más un sustantivo en plural o colectivo: La mayoría de estudiantes quieren aprobar mi curso, La mayoría de la población viaja constantemente.
A veces, este complemento con de no aparece porque se sobreentiende en el contexto; un ejemplo de este caso es: La mayoría manda, oración en la que el núcleo del sujeto (y el único sustantivo que aparece en este) es mayoría y está en singular, por lo tanto, el verbo también debe aparecer en singular."
So US English prefers "The majority is" and UK English prefers The majority are". That's not news to me. (Nor is US English 'perfect' on this point... A number of students are struggling in my SAT Prep class.)
I'd like to clarify if Spanish cares greatly on this point, and what the rules of thumb are (and if they are different for, say, Mexican and Argentinian Spanish). This thread is lost in the English quibbles and I'm curious about the Spanish quibbles. Gracias!
Thanks. How would I say "The majority know to use a knife and they know how to use it." I don't see where "how" is covered in the lesson sentence. above. I always try Google/SpanishDict and other sites before asking a question here. It helps me a bunch to do my own homework. But if I get in a bind, I ask you DL folks
Saber can mean both know (Sé español) and know how . (sé nadir). See other answers on this stream, which have already answered the question. Also, Spanish may handle majoria differently than we handle majority in English, particularly since we can't agree among ourselves.