Which one of the following three sentences is correct.

I suppose C.

A]. One third of the students are absent.

B]. one third of the student is absent.

C]. One third of the students is absent.


Actually, it's A. When you use a fraction with a countable noun, you use the plural 'are'. If it was referring to a non-countable noun then it would need to be singular ('is').

For example, 'One third of the coal is...' yet 'one third of the students are...'

B would make no sense at all, while C is something which would make some sense (ONE third) but the nature of the noun takes priority here. Countable noun = 'are'.


I agree with the other answers, and would just add that singular agreement can be overridden if the head of the oblique is a collective noun:

One third of the electorate takes/take drugs.

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sohel sorwarA]. One third of the students are absent.

This is correct.

Here, the verb agrees with the noun that occurs after "of"

One-third of the food is to be kept ready for any unexpected guests.

One-third of men are going to boycott the meeting.

P.S: Cross-posted

Thank you so much.

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 BillJ's reply was promoted to an answer.

I think



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