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    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Oct 2007
    • Posts: 1,618
    #1

    Are either you or he...

    ______(Are, Is) either you or he to go there ?
    Either you or he _____(is, are) to go there.

    Many Chinese teachers of English like very much to set test items like the two above. They say that according to the proximity rule, students should choose 'Are' for the first and 'is' for the second. I know the rule, but I wonder
    1. if these sentences sound natural and
    2. if native speakers use such sentences often or rarely or never and
    3. if native teachers of English ever set test items like these two.

    Thank you in advance.

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
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      • United States
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      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
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    #2

    Re: Are either you or he...

    I can only speak for myself, but "you" is plural as well as singular, so I'd said things like "Are either of you going?" or "One of you is supposed to go."

    It would be very unlikely that I would say either of your sample sentences.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
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      • British English
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      • England
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    • Join Date: Apr 2008
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    #3

    Re: Are either you or he...

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    I can only speak for myself, but "you" is plural as well as singular, so I'd said things like "Are either of you going?" or "One of you is supposed to go."

    It would be very unlikely that I would say either of your sample sentences.
    I agree, both sentences sound very unnatural to me. I very much doubt a native English teacher would set a test like that.

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