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This question already has an answer here:

Which one is correct? The "80% of [it]" part is what has me confused.

a. 80% of what I listen to is K-pop groups.

b. 80% of what I listen to are K-pop groups.

Should I perhaps just say "K-pop groups are 80% of what I listen to"?

marked as duplicate by Kris, dwjohnston, Edwin Ashworth, Rory Alsop, tchrist Mar 25 '18 at 13:27

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    Either way, it's clumsy-sounding. I suppose I'd consider 'is' better, reading 'what' as referring to 'the music', which is a mass noun here. But 'K-pop groups' doesn't match 'the music I listen to' like 'ska' say would do. 'When it comes to music, I listen to K-pop groups 80% of the time' removes one problem but still doesn't sound brilliant. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 22 '18 at 8:53
  • This may have been answered before. Please research this site. – Kris Mar 22 '18 at 12:29
  • Just invert it: "K-pop groups are 80% of what I listen to." (Although if this statement is true, you really need to broaden your taste in music.) – Robusto Mar 25 '18 at 1:26
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You'd better say "80% of what I listen to is K-pop" because basically it's not about the groups but the kind of music you listen to. Of course there are other ways to express your idea. For example, 80% of the music I listen to is made by K-pop groups.

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I concur with Enguroo's answer, and their suggestion to omit the noun "groups" but if push comes to shove, and you don't want to leave out the countable noun, choose b.)

b.) 80% of what I listen to are K-pop groups.

The percentage refers to numerable units, with a little rewording we see why the verb must be plural

80% of the groups I listen to are K-pop

However, it's a bit awkward to start a sentence with a number, a fraction or a percentage. @Edwin's solution is preferable,(“… I listen to K-pop groups 80% of the time”) otherwise leave out the percentage and be less specific, e.g.

Nearly everything I listen to is K-pop music.

  • I agree with everything you say, but as for avoiding starting a sentence with a number or percentage, isn't it more typical of scientific writing? I know that even in this kind of writing it's possible to start a sentence with a percentage if it is spelled out. But the original sentence about K-pop doesn't seem to be so formal. – Enguroo Mar 22 '18 at 16:04
  • @Enguroo I said starting a sentence with a fraction or a percentage was a bit awkward, I didn't say it must be avoided. I agree the original sentence is informal but I'd still prefer Edwin's version. – Mari-Lou A Mar 23 '18 at 20:13

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