2
  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". – StoneyB on hiatus Sep 15 '16 at 16:32
  • @StoneyB : you mean the first one ? – user118494 Sep 15 '16 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). – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Sep 15 '16 at 16:45
  • 2
    To this native speaker, it has to be are. "X and Y are something", never "X and Y is something." – stangdon Sep 15 '16 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. – StoneyB on hiatus Sep 15 '16 at 17:58
2

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.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.