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Are you husband and wife?

Do we need an article here? We do qualify, don't we? "Are you a husband and a wife?"

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"Husband and wife" is an idiom that simply means married, so if you mean to ask a couple if they are married, you do not need an article:

Are you husband and wife?

If, however, you were asking an individual if they were married, the 'roles' of husband and wife would have an article:

Are you a husband?

It would be a convoluted situation in which you were asking two people at the same time if they were 'a husband' and 'a wife' individually, but not married to each other; but I suppose in that unusual situation your example might actually fit. If I've correctly assumed you are asking if they are married to each other, then your original sentence is not correct.

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  • Thank you for your answer. Can you please clarify, why it's incorrect? Just my teacher asked me to translate this sentence into English, i used articles and she said that it's incorrect.
    – Venro
    Nov 22, 2022 at 13:00
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    @Venro I've added a bit more to my answer - it's incorrect if you are asking if they are married to each other, because 'husband and wife' describes their status, just as the word "married" does, and adjectives don't have articles.
    – Astralbee
    Nov 22, 2022 at 13:03
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    @Venro Also, "Are you a husband and a wife?" asks only whether they are each married, not whether they are married to each other. The question "Are you husband and wife?" unambiguously means, "Are you two married to each other?"
    – gotube
    Nov 22, 2022 at 18:57
  • Just one detail for the OP: "Husband and wife is an idiom that simply means married." Well, it can also mean "a married couple." For example, ooo! look at that young husband and wife over there.
    – Fattie
    Nov 23, 2022 at 1:46

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