I am doing a project on wasting food and was wondering which phrase would be grammatically correct. "40% of most household bins are food" or "40% of most household bins is food", thanks :)

  • I don't know you'd want to go around calling bins "rubbish". Maybe you put rubbish into them, but don't disparage the bins! – Hot Licks Nov 22 '16 at 1:24
  • Whoops, I meant food! – Louie Bnouie Nov 22 '16 at 1:27
  • I would find most bins hard to eat. – Hot Licks Nov 22 '16 at 1:28
  • @HotLicks - that's because they're only 40% food. – anongoodnurse Nov 22 '16 at 1:42
  • Are you a native speaker of English? The second one sounds unquestionably wrong to me but I'm curious if there's some dialects where it's OK. – Azor Ahai -- he him Nov 22 '16 at 2:34

40% of the content of most household bins is food. In this sense "content" is a mass noun, so you use "is".

(And note that "bin" is not idiomatic in the US. One would use "trash container" or "garbage pail" or some such.)

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  • I'm an Aussie, we never use the phrase "trash can", we only use trash to say if something is "bad" or "not up to standard" eg. "that's trash!" – Louie Bnouie Nov 22 '16 at 9:33
  • @LouieBnouie - Yep, the common term for refuse containers varies widely across the world, and even from city to city in the US. Depending on your audience you may wish to choose more widely understandable terms, or at least make sure that there's enough context to comprehend the term you use. – Hot Licks Nov 22 '16 at 12:22

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