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On a plane, I like to speak to the stranger who ____ seat next to me.

Fill with take or takes, and why?

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On a plane, I like to speak to the stranger who takes the seat next to me.

Stranger is singular. Note that you need the definitive article "the" to indicate which seat.

Now, if you had the center seat and you would like to say that you spoke to the people sitting on either side of you, you could use the plural strangers and the corresponding verb form take:

On a plane, I like to speak to the strangers who take the seats next to me.

That being said, as a native American English speaker, I would actually not use the construct "takes the seat" at all, and instead say:

On a plane, I like to speak to the stranger sitting next to me.

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    +1, although I think a seat would also be appropriate if we're thinking of it in the general sense.
    – stangdon
    Commented May 3, 2016 at 14:10
  • Right, good point. But for sure we need an article. Commented May 3, 2016 at 14:48

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