I believe majority is correctly used with a plural noun — "majority of people" or "majority of voters". It's becoming used frequently with a singular noun — "majority of work" or "majority of travel". Is this incorrect use of majority?


1 Answer 1


You should note that work and travel are mass nouns here; you can't pluralize them. Whether or not it's correct to use majority with a singular mass noun, it's not a new usage: from the OED, there was a similar use in 1882: "The majority of the coral which I collected ... was obtained by divers."

Whether it's acceptable to use majority with a singular count noun is a different question. This may depend on the noun. I personally have no problem with using it for a collective noun, such as "the majority of the audience", but a sentence like "the majority of his farm is planted with cotton" sounds wrong to me.

  • 1
    Garner in Modern American Usage (p522) would agree with you. He recommends: "When most will suffice, use it in place of majority."
    – Shoe
    Commented Oct 26, 2013 at 20:18
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    It seems like as soon as you use majority with an otherwise singular noun, it immediately forces the noun to be decomposed into its constituent elements: The majority of this penny is actually Zinc. And in your case a farm gets decomposed into acres
    – Jim
    Commented Oct 26, 2013 at 22:23

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