Translation:The majority know how to use a knife.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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."
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?
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!
I believe that the majority of English speakers prefers (sic) the verb in the singular.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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?
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
Maybe in spanish it's plural... but i also have the feeling that in english it's singular: "the majority knows..."
Saber has the sense of know how to when used with a verb. (this is a phrasal verb in English).
"The majority" is shorthand for "majority of x" in this case people. "The majority of people know" not "knows".
The majority know is standard British English, The majority knows is standard American English.
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.
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?
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.
Don't understand why "Most of them know how to use a knife." is incorrect ... I guess because there wasn't the word 'ellos'?
Because it asked us to translate La mayoria, and La mayoria doesn't translate to Some people.
Why wouldn't this sentence require "como"? La mayoría saben como utilizar un cuchillo.
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.
where did the "how" come from? why wasn't "most know to use a knife." correct?
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
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.
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.
Me too, i am a native spanish speaker, and we never say "saben". I think that "la mayoría saben" is gramatically incorrect.
I hope they know how to use knifes. I am NOT cutting their food for them. :)
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
Is "la mayoria" singular. If it should read: La mayoria sabe utilizar un cuchillo.
my best and only friend google translate also thinks that it should be sabe instead of saben. thanks
In english don't we say "The majority KNOWS how to use a knife" instead of "The majority KNOW how to use a knife"