Are you or your brother a student?

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Erkin D

Member
Turkish
"Are you or your brother a student?"

Hello, there is something that has been confusing me for a while. I know this sentence is not gramatically correct but I'm having some problems with correcting it due to some answers I received. I asked if "Are you or your brother students?" is correct to a native speaker and he said it definitely sounded better. I'm quite aware "are you or is your brother a student?" would be another alternative but it somehow doesn't feel right. So, what I'm asking you is whether he was right or not. If so, why? If not, why not? Thank you all in advance.
 
  • gquixote

    Senior Member
    English
    Did the person you asked say that he thought "are you or your brother students" sounded better than "are you or your brother a student"?
    Both sound incorrect.
    I would say
    Are you and your brother both students?
    Or, assuming it is known that only one of the brothers is a student:
    Which is the student, you or your brother?
     

    Scholiast

    Senior Member
    Dear Erkin

    Is the question "Are you [both brothers] students?"

    Or "Is [either one or the other] of you a student [to the exclusion of the other]?"

    Or "Are either [or indeed you both] students?"

    I am not sure I have covered all the bases here, and have therefore a suspicion that this thread will run for a while.

    Good luck.
     

    Erkin D

    Member
    Turkish
    Well, I'm not quite sure since I'm not the one who asked this in the first place but it should be the second one which is:

    Or "Is [either one or the other] of you a student [to the exclusion of the other]?"
     

    gquixote

    Senior Member
    English
    Well, I'm not quite sure since I'm not the one who asked this in the first place but it should be the second one which is:

    Or "Is [either one or the other] of you a student [to the exclusion of the other]?"
    In that case, the correct way to ask the question would be:
    Which is the student, you or your brother?
    Or
    Which one of you two brothers is a student?
     

    Erkin D

    Member
    Turkish
    Thank you very much for your replies which I appreciate a lot but how about this American mate who told me that "are you or your brother students?" was definitely better? Didn't this claiming to be good at grammar dude know better? :/
     

    gquixote

    Senior Member
    English
    It doesn't sound completely stupid to ask are you or your brother students? It is in usage amongst very casual speakers - youngsters with their pals. It's just not exactly, strictly speaking, correct. Amongst his mates, that's probably how he speaks and it sounds fine to them.
     

    Erkin D

    Member
    Turkish
    It doesn't sound completely stupid to ask are you or your brother students? It is in usage amongst very casual speakers - youngsters with their pals. It's just not exactly, strictly speaking, correct. Amongst his mates, that's probably how he speaks and it sounds fine to them.
    That's a rather convincing answer now. Thank you very much.
     
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