Does a percentage require a singular or plural verb, for example, do we say ten percent "go" or "goes"?

  • You can make a test case out of the word "half", in that "half" is equivalent to "50%", and may be easier to find examples for.
    – James
    Sep 12, 2015 at 16:52
  • @James But '.5 of the population are over 40' doesn't sound too idiomatic. One has to be careful when assuming seemingly identical structures will behave the same way. Jun 24, 2017 at 20:22

2 Answers 2


It depends on the item/items to which the percentage refers. When discussing something numerable, such as "10% of commenters," the plural would be appropriate. If something innumerable, such as "10% of the solution," then you would use the singular.

  • 1
    The same applies to common fraction usages also: 1/3 of the men are // 1/3 of the water is. But see the caveat to the answer above. Jun 24, 2017 at 20:19

It depends on if the percentage is made up of units (e.g. 10% of people) or is part of a whole (e.g. 10% of the cake).

If it's made up of units, then use the plural:

Of the top 100 earners, 10% own a yacht.

If it's part of a whole, use singular

I made the pie, so 10% is mine.

In the case of a percentage of units, of them is being erased. In the case of a whole of it is being erased.

  • 1
    I'd say that it's more complex than this, at least when considered by those claiming to use logical agreement. One can find on the Internet statements like '82.5% of the population is urban' where the subset of the population, though made up of units, would almost always be considered as a whole, and singular agreement chosen. I'd want: 'It depends on whether the 'percentage' is made up of units and being considered as such, or is [being considered as a homogeneous in itself] part of a whole (whether etically count or not).' Oct 22, 2016 at 13:53
  • 1
    Do you have an authoritative reference for this? I find it hard to accept that ten percent is mine: ten percent is the subject and a plurality.
    – Toothrot
    Jun 11, 2019 at 8:42
  • @Toothrot it will take some time to pull data together Jun 12, 2019 at 8:04
  • ... Over 10 years! Jan 22, 2022 at 18:56

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