William and George's mom <are><is> busy

Discussion in 'English Only' started by lovliv, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. lovliv

    lovliv Member

    Shenzhen
    Chinese
    A. William and George's mom are busy now.
    B. William and George’s mom is busy now.


    A and B both work?
    What’s the difference? Thanks.
     
  2. lingobingo

    lingobingo Senior Member

    London
    English - England
    William and George’s mom means the mother of both of them.

    Their mother are busy :cross::confused:
    Their mother is busy :tick:
     
  3. lovliv

    lovliv Member

    Shenzhen
    Chinese
    Can the first sentence mean “William and his friend George’s mom are busy”?
     
  4. lingobingo

    lingobingo Senior Member

    London
    English - England
    “William and his friend George’s mom are busy” would mean either (a) that William is busy and so is his friend George’s mom, or (b) that William and his friend both have the same mom who is busy (but that would make them brothers!).

    William’s mom is busy. William’s friend George’s mom is also busy.
    William’s mom and his friend George’s mom are both busy. :tick:

    If the subject is singular the verb must be too. Only a plural subject takes a plural verb.
     
  5. lovliv

    lovliv Member

    Shenzhen
    Chinese
    I mean, can sentence B work in this context?

    William (person A) and his friend George’s mom(person B) are both busy.
     
  6. lingobingo

    lingobingo Senior Member

    London
    English - England
    Which sentence B are you referring to? It’s very difficult to work out what you think any of these sentences mean.
     
  7. Florentia52

    Florentia52 Modwoman in the attic

    Wisconsin
    English - United States
    Yes, lovliv, please explain the situation in which you would use the sentence, and what you want the sentence to mean. Once we understand that, we can answer your question about a word or phrase in the sentence that you think might be wrong.
     
  8. lovliv

    lovliv Member

    Shenzhen
    Chinese
    Both sentences work in different scenarios?

    William and George's mom are busy now.
    ([William] and [George's mom] are busy now.)
    William and George are not brothers.

    William and George's mom is busy now.
    ([William and George]'s mom is busy now.)
    William and George are brothers.
     
  9. Florentia52

    Florentia52 Modwoman in the attic

    Wisconsin
    English - United States
    Because it is confusing, we would not generally say "William and George's mom are busy now." We would either use her name ("William and Sarah -- George's mom -- are busy now") or change the order ("George's mom and William are busy now")
     

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