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Should I use plural or singular when comparing two different objects? For example, I want to tell a friend that I have two clothes that are of different styles but have the same color.

"The colors of shirt-A and shirt-B are blue."

or should I say,

"The color of shirt-A and shirt-B is blue."

or maybe even the following?

"The colors of both shirt-A and shirt-B are blue." vs "The color of both shirt-A and shirt-B is blue."

2 Answers 2

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By making reference to the colour instance, you don't need to explicitly mention that you are talking about the colour property. Native English users would simply say:

Both shirts are blue.

or

Shirt A and Shirt B are blue

if you really need to reference each item.

This is more obvious where the colours are different. It is really awkward trying to work something like:

The colour of Shirt A is green and the colour of Shirt B is blue.

or worse:

The colours of the shirts are: Shirt A is green and Shirt B is blue.

But at least they're grammatically correct. The following (which is an inversion of the example sentences) is not:

The colours of Shirt A is green and Shirt B is blue

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  • I cannot think of a case where I would say "the color of something"; maybe I would use it to put emphasis on color, but in that case I would say "The color is blue." probably because somebody misunderstood what was blue.
    – apaderno
    Apr 17, 2013 at 10:28
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The prepositional phrase of shirt-A and shirt-B does not change the state of singular or plural, so

The color is blue.

is the same as

The color of shirt-A and shirt-B is blue.

and is correct.

The colors of shirt-A and shirt-B are blue.

would be OK, but you need more than one color (you wouldn't say the colors are blue). So this would be OK

The colors of shirt-A and shirt-B are blue and black.

In your last line, both doesn't add anything as I read it. shirt-A and shirt-B and both shirt-A and shirt-B mean both shirts. The second example would be correct.

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