"La mayoría saben utilizar un cuchillo."

Translation:The majority know how to use a knife.

5 years ago

80 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Yorpel
Yorpel
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"The majority" is singular, so shouldn't it be "...sabe utilizar..."?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jdabell
jdabell
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of course it should.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Languagease

I think what they thought, despite being incorrect, was since the majority is more than one person then it should be like "they know how to use a knife." Also, it might be different in Spanish.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/supiem

I agree. I don't like being marked wrong for their mistake. However, sometimes in British English majority might take the plural. But I don't think it's incorrect to use singular.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DUO1614

Here is an explanation on when majority is singular and when it is plural: http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/majority.html

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/gojesse

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.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TezraM

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.

http://jakubmarian.com/majority-is-vs-majority-are-collective-nouns-in-english/

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tbarasmussen

I typed in "majority knows" and it was accepted

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tessbee
tessbee
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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.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lucalu4
lucalu4
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Ambas son correctas y admitidas oficialmente enspañol. Si bien el plural es una apuesta segura, mientras que el singular no siempre nos valdrá.

http://www.rae.es/consultas/la-mayoria-de-los-manifestantes-el-resto-de-los-alumnos-la-mitad-de-los-presentes-etc

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elizadeux
elizadeux
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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."

http://udep.edu.pe/castellanoactual/duda-resuelta-la-mayoria-manda/

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/arturohiero

Try "la mayoria de las personas saben..."

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rilogan88

La mayoria es como la gente. Ambos son singulares

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/supiem

Mayoria es la nombre. It should be singular.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mark_dal_bianco

If this is "The majority know how to use a knife." then how do I say "The majority know to use a knife," without 'how'? Like, when cutting apples, the majority know to use a knife. I entered the latter but the former is correct here.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/frankbackus1

That was my thinking also. And as noted, they called it wrong. My example would be i know to use a knife to cut the apple, and would not use a pair of scissors.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/clawedinvader

I think you could do that by simply adding the word "que" after whatever version of saber you use, eg "La mayoría saben que utilizar un cuchillo."

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ranchers1

I said "The majority know to use a knife" (i.e. rather than using a gun or baseball bat) Where is the "how" in the lesson sentence?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hucklebeary

saber alone seems to imply "knowing how" to do something wheres "saber que" means "knows to" do something.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tholm
tholm
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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!

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jdabell
jdabell
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I believe that the majority of English speakers prefers (sic) the verb in the singular.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tholm
tholm
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Well, that puts me in the minority then. Either way, each has a clear logic and a long tradition. I'm interested in Spanish and whether it is saben or sabe or both or it depends on locality.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/miza713

I'm also in the minority. What you just said didn't sound right to me. "I would say "The majority of English speakers prefer...". (I assume you would as well per your [sic]. ) However, I would also say, "The majority is..." in other contexts. Realistically speaking, I think both are probably used equally. Incidentally, I am from the US.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mattnag
mattnag
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Do you prefer "prefer" in that context because you are thinking of "speakers" as the subject of the sentence? "Majority" is actually the subject, and "speakers" is an object of preposition. Hence, the verb "prefers/prefer" must be in agreement with "majority," not with "speakers."

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/frankbackus1

well said.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Klgregonis
Klgregonis
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I think many English speakers parse this as a p[ural noun phrase (the whole thing, " the majority of speakers" is the subject, in other words. ) , hence the majority of speakers prefer. And I actually can't think of too many places where I would use majority with a non-count singular noun - the majority of rice is or the majority of flour is just sound wrong. I'd probably use the third person singular with this more often when majority is by itself, and doesn't have antecedents in the conversation. In other words, both uses are correct, dependiente.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JGarrick62

Both singular and plural can be correct in the right context. Read DUO1614's link above in this discussion. In short, when majority is used to describe a collection of individuals, it's plural: The majority of basketball players are very tall. When it's used to describe a collective group, it's singular: A majority is required to approve the motion.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/frankbackus1

That is a good summary.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeffro14

In this scenario, it's not necessary to have a word for "how"? So, "know to use" and "know how to use" are the same syntax wise but are just picked up by context?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ranchers1

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

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/gyenesvi
gyenesvi
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Maybe in spanish it's plural... but i also have the feeling that in english it's singular: "the majority knows..."

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MJMGruver
MJMGruver
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Can be either, depending how it is used. See above.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/clarknr

Where does the 'how' come from? The majority know to use a knife

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/clarknr

Where does the 'how' come from? The majority know to use a knife

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Klgregonis
Klgregonis
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Saber has the sense of know how to when used with a verb. (this is a phrasal verb in English).

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Audrey5775

Planning a kidnapping, are we?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Iago
Iago
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"The majority" is shorthand for "majority of x" in this case people. "The majority of people know" not "knows".

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/arturohiero

The majority know is standard British English, The majority knows is standard American English.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/frankbackus1

I am from the US and i would disagree with that. It may be that a number of Amerians use majority knows, but It seems improper to me.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jdabell
jdabell
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This is precisely and exactly wrong. Whatever 'the majority' may consist of, it remains, in itself, a singular noun and, therefore and unarguably, must take the third person singular of the verb that it governs. I refer you to my remarks above.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Iago
Iago
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You are precisely and exactly misguided. It is semantically plural and sytantically singular, like the word "people" vs. "peoples".

We use the plural verb conjugations in English for "people" because it is a singular word referring to a multitude. If talking about a particular group's opinion of something, would you say "Half doesn't like" rather than "Half don't like it"? What about if "Half" was replaced with "Half of them"?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jdabell
jdabell
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However you may wriggle over this one, you remain wrong. The people 'is' and a half 'doesn't'. Lions are but, a pride of lions IS, however many individuals it may contain: the government 'IS', the members of the government 'are'.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Iago
Iago
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The difference between you and I is that I'm not saying your preferred convention is incurably wrong. Both are used by different speakers and I've heard my share of each. Watch a British broadcast of a football game and you'll hear things like "Fullham are doing very poorly today" or "The team are at full strength."

Watch an NHL broadcast in Canada or the States and you'll hear "The Canucks ARE skating well" but hear "Vancouver IS beating Toronto".

Furthermore in the UK in contrast to my example above, a "team" will often take singular verbs when one is talking about the team as an entity separate from its members. For example, "The team is 140 years old."

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Iago
Iago
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How dogmatic. The correct usage of a language is that which is used by its native speakers, no matter how various. Natural language came before standardized language. If the message is successfully communicated, the language is correct. But in your case I'm not sure as communication is only possible between equals and you appear to hold yourself something lofty.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jdabell
jdabell
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I am sorry to have to tell you that 'the difference is between you and ME'. Everything that you say about common usage is true but that does not make it correct English usage. I am, regularly, appalled at the mangling of the English language by its native users on both sides of the Atlantic. The most correct usage resides, now, in India and in Oliver Kamm's small column in the London 'Times'.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Klgregonis
Klgregonis
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January 22, 2014 Iago, please check something like MERRIAM WEBSTERS DICTIONARY OF ENGLISH USAGE before pontificating. Unlike most grammar books, written by prescriptivists, it looks at real usage and comes to a conclusion based on that usage. Indian English sounds very stilted to most native ears, and is almost always learned as a second language, from outdated grammar books. (tihis is a reply to a post that has no reply link)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ianbezek

I wrote, "The majority know how to utilize a knife" and was rejected. If you want to say "how to use" wouldn't it be saben usar? Is there a false friends thing going on?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kgkoon
kgkoon
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Still wrong as of 10/1/2014. I've reported it multiple times, but Duo is being stubborn. It is very frustrating. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the usage of "utilize" in this sentence. It may be uncommon, but it is not wrong.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MartinCo

http://www.spanishdict.com/translate/utilizar Use is clearly right, but that doesn't make utilize wrong (just really, really odd and unlikely).

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CynDaVaz

Don't understand why "Most of them know how to use a knife." is incorrect ... I guess because there wasn't the word 'ellos'?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tessbee
tessbee
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Because it asked us to translate La mayoria, and La mayoria doesn't translate to Some people.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Luvlearning

Why wouldn't this sentence require "como"? La mayoría saben como utilizar un cuchillo.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/killary45
killary45Plus
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Saber means both "to know" and "to know how to"

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mitcorb

As I was taught, this was called a collective noun, meaning it is singular but represents a collection or group- in this case, people. British English assumes it to be plural, and, in my neck of the woods, it is just as likely to be one as the other, at least in this case.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/razmoumtaz

the majority knows! why is this one know?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lroshell

Is it incorrect to say "La mayoría saben usar un cuchillo"?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/zmjb1
zmjb1
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What is wrong with, MOST KNOW TO USE A KNIFE?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/markgjensen

where did the "how" come from? why wasn't "most know to use a knife." correct?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hucklebeary

"How" is inherent in "saber" depending on context. It's used for knowledge of both facts and knowing how to do something. So saber can translate as "to know" or "to know how to".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SMAGringo

So, where is the "how"...The majority knows to use a knife (instead of a fork) And in that context the majority is a singular thing thus sabe not saben

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Klgregonis
Klgregonis
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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.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jdabell
jdabell
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The majority IS singular despite all the fulminations of those who would, with doubtful authority, argue the contrary. The language is deformed and rendered less precise by this persisting suggestion of its having a plural usage that is correct. Majorities ARE, the majority IS: try using the indefinite article and see where that gets you with the verb.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ErnestoXX84

Yo siempre digo "la mayoría sabe" nunca digo saben.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/anibalsalazar

Me too, i am a native spanish speaker, and we never say "saben". I think that "la mayoría saben" is gramatically incorrect.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SunnyJC

De acuerdo con todos ustedes

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/F10W3Rr1ng

Okay. I'm a little frightened now, Duolingo... Thanks

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DeniseIvan

Why isn't it "la mayoria saben QUE utilizar un cuchillo". Are both correct?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rimas.jana
Rimas.jana
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not true unless you'r threatening someone xD

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Angry_Mongoose

I hope they know how to use knifes. I am NOT cutting their food for them. :)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JadaTowner

I started to freak out a little when I thought it said, "The mayor knows how to use a knife." I was like, oh ok is this the start of a new Stephen King book

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MXK8Bbzi

Is "la mayoria" singular. If it should read: La mayoria sabe utilizar un cuchillo.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fedor-A-learner

my best and only friend google translate also thinks that it should be sabe instead of saben. thanks

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jdabell
jdabell
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'The majority' is a singular (if collective) noun and ought to be followed by 'sabe' as, in English, the translation MUST be 'The majority knows'. No equivocation upon this point should be acceptable if we are to use grammar correctly.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MJMGruver
MJMGruver
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Collective nouns are singular when they are used to show a group acting as a unit. They are plural when used to show a group acting as a bunch of individuals.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/frankbackus1

But what about "the majority (do or does) the right thing.". The majority does the right thing does not sound right to me. He does the right thing. She does the right thing. They do the right thing. That makes it seem to me that it is plural.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/zopilotes

British English is a pain in the neck, if you're un norteamericano doing this. I would translate this as Most people -- majority sounds too British(??)

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jdabell
jdabell
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Like it or no, 'majority' is singular. Try it with the indefinite article: 'a majority are': sounds right? a...are? The same situation arises with 'government' when many say: 'the government are' (wrongly). Try the indefinite article again and see how ' a government are' sounds. The members of the government ARE...

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MartinCo

As was pointed out earlier the handling of collective nouns differs between American English (AmE) and British English (BrE). If you would like to see endless discussion and examples I refer you to www.wordreference.com's English only forum.

As a thought experiment try substituting a pronoun for "the majority". Did you choose "it" or "they" when substituting in our given sentence where the likely intent is to describe what the majority of the people know?

I'm guessing that the majority know(s) to choose "they".

However, this argument is moot. I'm here to learn Spanish.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/eshewan

The most sensible and fair post so far. Thanks, MartinCo!

A worthy discussion here, which Tholm tried unsuccessfully to steer us towards, is whether or not the singular, i.e., "sabe" is also acceptable in spanish. It truly doesn't matter if both forms are acceptable in english. The point is to learn what is acceptable in spanish, which may also differ regionally.

As far as what DL should accept, I guess it should just accept both since they're apparently both technically acceptable?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Pigslew
Pigslew
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And so would most Brits, zopilotes!

4 years ago
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