1. Father's grandfather and grandfather's father are the same person.
  2. Father's grandfather and grandfather's father is the same person.
  3. Father's grandfather and grandfather's father are the same people.

Which one is correct? I guess that the second sentence is right because there is actually one person- singular not plural. Am I right ?

  • 5
    There are two roles, so "are", and one physical player of those roles, so "the same person". Sep 15, 2016 at 16:32
  • @StoneyB : you mean the first one ?
    – user118494
    Sep 15, 2016 at 16:43
  • @StoneyB: It might often sound a little bit awkward, but I don't think constructions like Peter Parker and Spider-man is the same person are inherently "ungrammatical". Since the semantics of these rather unusual statements specifically tell us that there is in fact only "one" person being referenced, I think the plurality of the verb form is somewhat open to question (or stylistic choice, if you like). Sep 15, 2016 at 16:45
  • 3
    To this native speaker, it has to be are. "X and Y are something", never "X and Y is something."
    – stangdon
    Sep 15, 2016 at 17:32
  • 2
    @stangdon ... except in the case of conjunct names (Barnes and Noble is closing Nook Video) and conjuncts denoting entities 'merged' in a single substance (Bread and jam is my favorite snack). But in this case Peter Parker and Spiderman are presented as distinct entities: if they were a 'merged' entity you could not compare them as the same. Sep 15, 2016 at 17:58

1 Answer 1


The first sentence is correct as although "father's grandfather" and "grandfather's father" are referring to the same person but at the time of speaking/referring, they are the instances of a singleton personality.

Further, the grandfather's father instance is older than father's grandfather( considering the natural timeline). Thus, due to different instances of the same person for two different perspectives, "is" can't be used in this context.

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