Please help me to choose the right verb.

Its inside and outside is/are the same.

If you would please explain your answer a bit.


Answers to the earlier question about Studying and living in a foreign country indicate that when two nouns are joined by and, it's sometimes acceptable (or even, desirable) to treat the combination as a "singular noun phrase." The justification for this is that semantically, the two nouns are considered to be two aspects of the same thing.

Thus it might appear that in OP's context, singular should also be acceptable (or even, required), simply because it's explicitly stated that the two nouns represent the same thing.

In practice though, native speakers would almost always use plural in this exact context. Probably because the statement itself is relatively "odd", so it's important not to lose sight of the fact that there are two different things involved (all credit to @snailplane for expressing that better than me in a comment).

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  • Thank you, Logically It must be "are" but I have found same number of examples on internet containing "is" and also its very common in my language to say "is". I was a little confused. thank you again. – user3214 Mar 28 '14 at 19:48
  • I have one relatively related question :) would it sound natural if I say : "John's inside(what he thinks) and outside(the way he acts) is same". – user3214 Mar 28 '14 at 19:52
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    One additional point: "...is/are THE same" – Alicja Z Mar 28 '14 at 20:00
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    In order to establish that they're coreferential ("the same"), they have to be treated as separate things semantically, so there's no way to construe the pair as a singular entity in this context. Hence, are. – snailcar Mar 28 '14 at 20:12

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