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If someone is both a singer and a writer, I would normally say "a singer and writer". When I say "a singer and a writer", it should mean that there are two persons, one is a singer and the other is a writer.

I'm trying to figure out how to introduce two or more people, all of which are singers and writers at the same time. How should I properly express this without confusion or ambiguity? I'm finding "singers and writers" potentially meaning "some singers and some other writers" and thus ambiguous.

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    What do they write? If they write songs, then they're a "songwriter", and the (generally well-known) term "singer-songwriter" would be the easiest way to communicate that they both sing and write songs, e.g. "Alice, Bob and Charlie are all singer-songwriters." If they write other things, then obviously that doesn't work. – Anthony Grist Oct 12 at 16:40
  • @AnthonyGrist I could've made it clear. That could be two arbitrary roles and not necessarily related (consider dancer and driver). Then your comment suggests there's no way out. Did I understand correctly? – iBug Oct 12 at 16:44
  • All of these people are singers and songwriters is potentially ambiguous, as you obviously realise. Each of these people is a singer and [a] songwriter has no such ambiguity. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Oct 12 at 17:34
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The direct answer to your question is that you could say "all these people are singers and songwriters", but this does not necessarily mean that all the people are both. For example, you could say "all these people are mums and dads", which would mean that collectively they were all parents, but obviously any individual could not be both.

So, if they are all both roles you would need to say "all these people are both singers and songwriters"

However, if you are not already aware, the term for someone who is both a singer and a songwriter is "singer-songwriter".

The correct plural usage for the term singer-songwriter would be:

All these people are singer-songwriters.

There is no need to use the word "both" because you are now only using one term for the dual roles.

Obviously, such a term does not exist for all such situations where dual-roles exist, but it is notable in this specific example.

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You can say:

All of these people are both singers and songwriters (or both dancers and drivers)

But a little ambiguity isn't always a bad thing, and it might be better to provide context instead of trying to nail down the meaning in one sentence:

It's not easy to be a dancer when you work all day driving a truck, but these people are drivers and dancers. Let's see how they manage their busy lives.

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The simplest is as follows:

Each of these people is both singer and writer.

That doesn't leave any room for ambiguity, avoiding any possible confusion or misinterpretation from the plural all and are.

You are referring to a group of people, but you are also using each, which specifically steers clear of all.

Since you are using each, you use is (because each takes a singular verb), which reinforces the singularity of the artist—and explicitly avoids are.

This is followed by both singer and songwriter. But since it's been made explicit that you're dealing with exactly one person in turn, there is still no confusion.

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