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Is "most part of" singular or plural? Which is correct: "most part of the banks are corrupt" or "most part of the banks is corrupt"?

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I haven't heard that phrasing before; it sounds ungrammatical. Do you have a reference? –  Mitch Dec 7 '11 at 21:25
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As this NGram shows, most part almost always occurs in the idiomatic expression for the most part. Those few instances that aren't the full expression all seem to be variations on most part-time workers, etc. –  FumbleFingers Dec 7 '11 at 23:23
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The idiom "the most part of X" was common in the 17th century, began to give way to "most of X" in the 18th century, and has been rare since the early 19th century. –  StoneyB Nov 1 '12 at 18:43

4 Answers 4

Part is not actually correct here: it would be most of the banks. Since most (the subject) is plural, you should use the plural copula are:

Most of the banks are corrupt.

However, if you reword to bring part back into the sentence (e.g. A large part of the banks), then part becomes the subject, hence you would use the singular copula is:

A large part of the banks is corrupt.

Since it sounds strange for is to come right after a plural noun (no matter how grammatical it is), we usually steer clear of such sentences. In fact, since the words "a large part of the banks" actually refers to a plurality, it would be completely fine to use are as the copula:

A large part of the banks are corrupt.

However, if you want to avoid pedantry from whichever side of the debate you don't choose, you may decide to simply use most of the banks are corrupt.

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Could the downvoter please explain why my answer is not useful? –  Daniel Dec 7 '11 at 21:18
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I expect your downvoter just looked at the second highlighted block and thought "Nah!" without even bothering to read what you said about it afterwards. Personally I'd say that sentence is worse than "strange" - I'd mark it with a leading asterisk to indicate that it's a construction most native speakers would find unacceptable - might have saved you a downvote, lol! :) –  FumbleFingers Dec 7 '11 at 23:28
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Lots of fly-by down voters around. I am not sure if they even looked at anything. –  Kris Jan 3 '12 at 11:09
    
Actually, it's dubious whether a large part of the banks does mean a large proportion, rather than 'part of each bank'; if that is what you mean, you are referring to several banks, so are. Without the specious claim that it's grammatical, I'd certainly have upvoted the explanation. –  TimLymington Nov 1 '12 at 18:19
    
@TimLymington I'm afraid I can't agree that A large part of [noun]s is... is not grammatical, but I did clarify that in this and similar cases, a large part of [noun]s are... is also grammatical. –  Daniel Nov 1 '12 at 19:01

Perhaps, you're thinking of for the most part, the banks are corrupt.

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Good insight. Most of us missed the point here it seems. –  Kris Jan 3 '12 at 11:11

When you want to quantify a noun in the plural form, a good choice is the majority of with either a plural or a singular verb:

The majority of the banks are/is corrupt.

The word part is better used when the word you want to quantify is in the singular form:

The biggest part of the room is empty.

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The most part of banks is corrupt. The large part of banks is corrupt. The largest part of banks is corrupt. "part" is always singular, it is one part so you use the singular form.

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protected by RegDwigнt Nov 1 '12 at 18:17

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