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Which of the following is correct?

1. The large number of cancer cases is related to pollution.
2. The large number of cancer cases are related to pollution.

I think it should be (1) because the subject is "number" not "cases".
Are I correct? Thanks.

Ricky
Comments  
Hi

Your Sentences:

1. The large number of cancer cases is related to pollution.
2. The large number of cancer cases are related to pollution.

in this sentences the pollution causes the cancer in human ,though clearly there is a relationship between Pollution and cancer

them the correct sentence is :

The large number of cancers are related to pollution .

thanks

silversamand
Hi

Your Sentences:

1. The large number of cancer cases is related to pollution.
2. The large number of cancer cases are related to pollution.

in this these sentences the pollution causes the cancer in human ,though clearly there is a relationship between pollution and cancer

then the correct sentence is :

The large number of cancers are related to pollution .

thanks
silversamand

'The large number' is the subject in the above sentence, which is a singlular collective noun, so the correct verb is 'is.'

As in: The large number of cancer cases is related to pollution.

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SilversamandHi

Your Sentences:

1. The large number of cancer cases is related to pollution.
2. The large number of cancer cases are related to pollution.

in this sentences the pollution causes the cancer in human ,though clearly there is a relationship between Pollution and cancer

them the correct sentence is :

The large number of cancers are related to pollution .

thanks

silversamand

I think it sounds more correct if replacing the article “the” with an “A”.

A large number of cancer cases is related to pollution.

The collective noun is “a large number” therefore it takes on a singular verb. “Is” is the correct answer.

Hello Goodman

That would change the meaning a little.

"A large number of cancer cases" means "many but not all cancer cases". However, "the large number of cancer cases" means "all cancer cases, which add up to a large number".

MrP
With this interpretatin, I think "are" should be used, i.e.

A large number of cancer cases are related to pollution. (similiar to "many cases are ...")

But in my original example, "is" should be used

The large number of cancer cases is related to pollution. (because "number" is the subject)

Are I correct? Thanks.

Ricky
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Ricky,
I agree. According to Huddleston (Introduction to the Grammar of English), expressions like "a lot", "plenty", and "the rest" are number-transparent. The number of the noun in the complement passes through to the head and thus the agreement is with the complement of these expressions.

A lot of the children are sick.

The rest of us are tired.

"a number" is said to be variable. Some speakers accept it as 'number-transparent'; others do not. In this case I am an acceptor, because I would say "A number of people are ...".

"the number" is not number-transparent. The number of causes for this situation is uncountable.

CJ