1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Spanish
  4. >
  5. "La mayoría saben utilizar un…

"La mayoría saben utilizar un cuchillo."

Translation:The majority know how to use a knife.

December 23, 2012

53 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Yorpel

"The majority" is singular, so shouldn't it be "...sabe utilizar..."?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DUO1614

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TezraB

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/


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tbarasmussen

I typed in "majority knows" and it was accepted


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

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lucalu4

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


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

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/


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/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.


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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/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?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hucklebeary

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


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

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!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/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?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gyenesvi

Maybe in spanish it's plural... but i also have the feeling that in english it's singular: "the majority knows..."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MJMGruver

Can be either, depending how it is used. See above.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/clarknr

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/clarknr

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


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

Saber has the sense of know how to when used with a verb. (this is a phrasal verb in English).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Audrey5775

Planning a kidnapping, are we?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Iago

"The majority" is shorthand for "majority of x" in this case people. "The majority of people know" not "knows".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/arturohiero

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/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?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kgkoon

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MartinCo

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/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'?


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

Because it asked us to translate La mayoria, and La mayoria doesn't translate to Some people.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Luvlearning

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/killary45

Saber means both "to know" and "to know how to"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/razmoumtaz

the majority knows! why is this one know?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lroshell

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zmjb1

What is wrong with, MOST KNOW TO USE A KNIFE?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/usrNameAlredyTkn

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


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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/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


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

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ErnestoXX84

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/anibalsalazar

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SunnyJC

De acuerdo con todos ustedes


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/F10W3Rr1ng

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DeniseIvan

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rimas.jana

not true unless you'r threatening someone xD


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Angry_Mongoose

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MXK8Bbzi

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


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

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LeonidasX

In english don't we say "The majority KNOWS how to use a knife" instead of "The majority KNOW how to use a knife"

Learn Spanish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.