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We can't figure out what is the correct subject for this sentence. Please help!

Sentence: >1/29 people in the USA is an illegal immigrant

View #1: One, out of 29 people, in the USA is an illegal immigrant.

Argument: One is a pronoun so it is clearly the subject here. "One is an illegal immigrant"

Response: This is not the original meaning of the sentence. There are not 29 people in the USA.

View #2: 1 out of 29 people in the USA is an illegal immigrant

Argument: One is used as a number because you can't say Craig out of 29 people in the USA is an illegal immigrant. The subject is people.

Response: "One" refers to a quantity of an item (the subject) omitted from the sentence.

"There are many eggs in this basket; one is rotten. The second independent clause is saying: "One [egg] is rotten." It is not saying: "One (the number) is rotten."

This other guy seems to think people are referring to the number 1 as being rotten.

View #3: One out of 29 people in the USA is an illegal immigrant

Argument: This is an implied statement. The implication is one person out of 29 people in the USA is an illegal immigrant. The subject is one.

Response: This only makes sense for a command. There is no omission of the subject.

  • The subject is one. Rearrange the sentence: "Of the people in the USA, 1 out of 29 is an illegal immigrant." Or rewrite it: "In the US, the ratio of citizens to illegal immigrants is 29 to 1." – Rodney Atkins Apr 7 '18 at 4:23
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    The subject is not "one", that's a ridiculous suggestion. The subject is the whole noun phrase "one out of 29 people in the USA", in which the head word is "people". "One out of 29" is a determiner in the NP, just as "one" would be in "one person". – BillJ Apr 7 '18 at 8:18

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