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So here is the sentence written both ways. Which one is correct and maybe a description why so I can understand why. Thanks! /R

Leatherbacks need your help. They’re endangered and only 5% of the population are left.

OR,

Leatherbacks need your help. They’re endangered and only 5% of the population is left.

marked as duplicate by Chenmunka, user140086, Hellion, tchrist, jimm101 Feb 13 '16 at 16:48

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  • So been looking at other questions and still can't quite figure out if my example was described. What I gather is that a number of things makes it plural which means using the word ARE would be correct. Is 5% a plural number here in this case? lol – Hamilton Feb 12 '16 at 16:09
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"Leatherbacks need your help. They’re endangered and only 5% of the population is left."

The choice between "is left" and "are left" depends on whether the object(s) you're talking about is(are) singular or plural.

There are 5 slices of cake left.

vs.

There is half the cake left. 

In your case, the population is singular and we're talking about a small part of it, so it's "is".

  • Cool, thanks CharlieB. I wasn't sure if the 5% population was plural or singular. – Hamilton Feb 12 '16 at 16:11
  • Here population is singular. It's possible to use population as a collective noun, e.g. "A population of Leatherbacks lives off the Atlantic coast of Canada". However here we're talking about the population, so singular. – CharlieB Feb 12 '16 at 16:30
  • It comes down to whether it's something you count. A collective, like population, isn't, so it's treated as singular. Turtles are, so they'd be plural. – Rob_Ster Feb 12 '16 at 16:53

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