Which is more frequent or correct?

1.John is my brother. or My brother is john.

2.John is the doctor. or The doctor is John.

  • 2
    They are both common and correct. But context and what you want to stress are important factors. For instance, who you are talking to and for what reason/purpose can quickly call for a different word order. But for simplicity, I'll stick with my first sentence.
    – user6951
    Sep 27, 2014 at 16:00

1 Answer 1


As CarSmack says, both are idiomatic and either may be used. What determines which you use is the context.

In sentences like this one of the terms joined by BE, John or my brother will (ordinarily) have been introduced into the discourse already; for instance, someone may have asked you:

Who is your brother? OR
Who is John?

When you answer this question, that piece will now be 'old information'; the other term will be 'new information'; and the characteristic position for the 'new information' in the sentence is after the verb BE.

Who is your brother? —My brother is John.
Who is John? —John is my brother.

  • I have another question.1.John is a doctor and David was John's brother. 2. John is a doctor and His(John's) brother was David. my question is, according to above two sentences which is the correct noun clause? 1.John, whose brother David was,(is a doctor.) or 2.John,whose brother was David,(is a doctor.)
    – Dinusha
    Sep 27, 2014 at 17:38
  • @Dinusha Again, has David been introduced yet? (The tenses are odd, so I'm changing them.) If he has, then whose *whose brother David is--but we would be more likely to say who is David's brother. If he has not been introduced, then whose brother is David. If so, then - but we would be more likely to say John is a doctor, and his brother is David. Sep 27, 2014 at 17:46

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