O él o yo vamos a ser el elegido

loureed4

Senior Member
Spanish
Hi,

I hope everything is working fine for you!

Could I translate that sentence in this way?: "Either he or I are going to be the chosen one" . I don´t know whether I should place "is" rather than "are".

Thanks in advance!
 
  • Jim2996

    Senior Member
    American English
    This is subtle.

    1) Either he or I is going to be the chosen one.
    "Either" is the subject, and it takes "is" for your basic S/V agreement. Adding "he or I" doesn't change this. This is one interpretation, the one I favor, but there are others, and other, better options.

    2) Either he is or I am going to be the chosen one.
    Using two subject and two verbs allows each to match. But, this is almost too much, too formal.

    3) Either he or I am going to be the chosen one.
    Many times English writers will just match the verb with the closest subject.
    Let me call this colloquial, a fancy word for sloppy. Yet, no reason to call out the grammar police.

    4) Either he or I [we] are going to be the chosen one.
    Sometimes it seems that "he or I" is interpreted as "we."
    I don't like this, but I can imagine hearing it. (My opinion: even sloppier.)
    It can be justified by claiming that "either" can be either singular or plural and that it is plural here (Ouch!).
    I actually surprised that your original Spanish has "vamos."

    5) One of us, either he or I, is going to be the chosen one.
    This avoids the problem. It's actually the same as:
    6) Either of us, either he or I, is going to be the chosen one.
    If the he and I is obvious from context, it could be:
    7) One of us is going to be the chosen one.

    One last trick; this is 'thinking outside the box.'
    8) Either he or I will be the chosen one.
    This is another way of expressing the future tense.
    In English, "will" agrees with "either," "he," and "I." It agree with everything; it could even agree with "you," "we," and "they." Subject/verb agreement is fundamental, and either will and he will and I will all match.
    You can't lose. As I said, this is a trick.
    This is obviously the best choice. I can't imagine anyone having a problem with this (but, I may be surprised).

    Please keep up the interesting questions.
     
    Last edited:

    Bevj

    Allegra Moderata (Sp/Eng, Cat)
    English (U.K.)
    I think that 'Either he or I are going to be chosen' is the only option which sounds right - even if it is not strictly grammatically correct.
    'Either he or I is' and 'Either he or I am' both sound odd.
    The answer could be as suggested by Jim2996, to rephrase the statement.
     

    loureed4

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Gosh Jim! You have very accurate , but sometimes complex replies for me! ; keep in mind that I am just a learner, an eager learner, but still a learner, hehe. That was a very complete reply indeed!. Your two last suggestions are quite suitable for me, I mean, I find them very accurate. Although, to be honest, I favor the third one, but I am not the expert here, I just learn a lot from you all! .

    Bevj, thanks a lot too, for your time and effort for helping me out!

    Gee, I really learn a lot here!
     

    Jim2996

    Senior Member
    American English
    The point that I should of made more clearly is that all options are acceptable, good enough, especially in spoken, colloquial English. I think that some options are more acceptable than others, but I don't expect others to agree completely with my ranking. Opinions differ, and one can make a grammar to support almost any opinion. If you want to go by usage—well, all are used.

    Realize also that in speaking, at 120 or more words a minute, no one has the time to consider all of this. The good news is that people listening, at this same speed, don't have time to notice any 'errors.' People listen for meaning, not for grammar.

    When written down, people can take their time to consider, correct, edit, and even rephrase. Most of the time this is hardly worth the effort, although some will find it educational, interesting, and even fun.

    I hope that you all realize that my comment about the grammar police was made jokingly. They were disbanded (or defeated) long ago.
     
    Last edited:

    duvija

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Uruguay
    Ok, Spanish and English work differently in this case.
    (I think I -myself- opened a thread about 'ni tú ni yo ganaremos la carrera', but I can't find it now). My example is even worse, because the subject is none of these persons, meaning 'zero'.
    I would follow the recommendation, and change the format to something easier.
     

    Jim2996

    Senior Member
    American English
    duvija, a quick tip: the search capabilities of WordReference are terribly limited. However, if you use Google and search for "ni tú ni yo ganaremos la carrera" (you need the quote marks in the search box), you will find your thread at the top of the results. It is http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1878765

    Do you want to raise the questions:

    Neither he or I ____ going to be the chosen one.
    None of us ____ are going to be the chosen one.
    There are two cups on the table.
    There is one cup on the table.
    There ____ zero cup/cups on the table.

    Why not? This is getting interesting.

    I wish I could comment more, but it's late and I need sleep. Tomorrow is another day.

    But I can't resist adding: I think that all of my suggestions range from acceptable to great. There are also some sentences that are downright wrong, ones that would jolt most any native listener. I mean this in the sense the "He comed" is simply wrong; to come is not a regular verb.

    *He or I am going to be the chosen one.
    *He or I is going to be the chosen one.
     
    Last edited:

    duvija

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Uruguay
    Thanks for reminding me that uncle Google is great for this!

    Yes, there are plenty of papers written about 'concordancia' in Eng. vs. Spanish- in complex subjects and verbs-, and nobody can agree on a single solution. It's one of those called 'the language painted itself in a linguistic corner', and you simply cannot/shouldn't use the format we're talking about.
     

    loureed4

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Thanks both!

    Duvija, your reply is kind of comforting, or relieving (que alivia, tranquilizadora) , reassuring. Really helpful to know that it is a "the language painted itself in a linguistic corner".

    Thanks InfoJack too!
     

    duvija

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Uruguay
    Thanks both!

    Duvija, your reply is kind of comforting, or relieving (que alivia, tranquilizadora) , reassuring. Really helpful to know that it is a "the language painted itself in a linguistic corner".

    Thanks InfoJack too!

    I'm glad it helped. I was always told by my Linguistics professors, that when there is something you really don't understand, no matter how much you try, it may not be your fault at all. Languages are not perfect (and can't be, if created by humans).
    :eek:
     

    loureed4

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    I'm glad it helped. I was always told by my Linguistics professors, that when there is something you really don't understand, no matter how much you try, it may not be your fault at all. Languages are not perfect (and can't be, if created by humans).
    :eek:

    Great thought. "Language are not perfect (if created by humans)". I have liked that.

    Thanks again!
     
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