<Are/Is> the speaker or the listener mentioned in the “reported speech sentence”?

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Tenacious Learner

Senior Member
Spanish
Hi teachers,
Obviously the answer to the question below if it's negative, has to be "No, they aren't". Then the verb that opens the question has to be "is" or "are"?
To me it has to be "Are". But, I don't know exactly why. Is it because, both, the speaker and the listener are people?

Are/Is the speaker or the listener mentioned in the “reported speech sentence”?

Thanks in advance.
 
  • The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    The general rule, as Miss Julie indicates, is to use the singular verb when the two singular items are separated by "or" rather than "and." I confess that "are" sounds better to me, if only so that the question can match the gender-neutral answer "no, they aren't," but I'm afraid "is" remains the preferred form.
     

    Tenacious Learner

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Thanks to both of you for your help. Now tell me how I can explain that to my students. I have to tell them that the answer is "No, they aren't" even though the question opens with a singular verb. :rolleyes:

    TL
     
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