These are a kettle and an inkpot.
This is a kettle and (this is) an inkpot.

Which sentence is correct? Or both are correct? (The kettle and the inkpot are not considered as a single entity.)

Update. I've just come across some similar sentences in "Essential English" by C.E. Eckersley:

Is this a man and a boy? (accompanied by a picture of a man walking hand in hand with a boy) Is this a cat and a dog? (a picture of a dog, a cat and a bowl between them)

Why are two items considered as one and not separately?

  • 2
    Brackets discarded, both are correct but mean different things. The first one does mean the two are a single set, while the second indicates a succession of items—this one is..., this one is.... Nov 7, 2017 at 19:29
  • 3
    I wouldn't go so far as to say they're being considered a single entity. This = what you see before you. These = the things you see here.
    – TimR
    Nov 7, 2017 at 20:46
  • If I see the kettle and the inkpot, just two items on the table, which grammatical construction should I use?
    – Yulia
    Nov 7, 2017 at 20:59
  • 2
    @Mv Log : "these Laurel and Hardy" isn't idiomatic.
    – TimR
    Nov 7, 2017 at 22:21
  • 2
    @MvLog - These Laurel and Hardy episodes are hilarious, aren't they? (Or you can use, say, routines, skits, films, excerpts, YouTube videos etc.). The way your sentence is structured, "Laurel and Hardy" should function as an adjective.
    – J.R.
    Nov 7, 2017 at 22:33

1 Answer 1


"Is this a man and a boy?" to me sounds incorrect. All I can guess is that the author was using "and" to mean "with" -- "Is this a man with a boy?" would be correct.

Your first two sentences are correct only if you remove the parentheses. "This is a kettle and an inkpot" should be "These are a kettle and an inkpot." (Or "This is a kettle, and this is an inkpot."

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .