'a postman and postwoman does' - singular verb with plural subject?

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Fredziu

Senior Member
Polish
Hello everyone,

I've just read an English book for children - "Jobs People Do" by Thea Feldman (a factual reader published by Macmillan).
One of the sentences reads as follows: "You know the job a postman and postwoman does, too."

To me this sentence seems incorrect because plural subjects normally take plural verbs, don't they? On the other hand, the book was written by a native speaker of English, so would it contain ungrammatical forms?

So, should it be You know the job a postman and postwoman do, too or is the sentence correct with the form does?
 
  • GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Native speakers make mistakes all the time, and copy editors do not catch them all.

    It would have been better had Ms. Feldman referred to the job a letter carrier does, because she would have avoided this problem altogether.

    In this case, since she wants to refer to a single job done by one person who may be either male or female, she should have used or instead of and: You know the job a postman or postwoman does, too.
     

    Chasint

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Really this sentence should be, "You know the job a postman or a postwoman does, too."

    If you say, "You know the job a postman and postwoman do, too.", it means that they work together. This is unlikely unless one of them is being trained to do the job.

    The author has been careless (or ignorant) of the correct grammar.

    Cross-posted with GWB
     
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