Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 16
  1. Banned
    Interested in Language
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Persian
      • Home Country:
      • Iran
      • Current Location:
      • Iran

    • Join Date: Jun 2013
    • Posts: 637
    #1

    Are you or your father able to speak Japanese?

    Are you or your father able to speak Japanese? (Self made)

    Hello teachers,

    I made it by myself but I have some problem with it. In my opinion it's not a good sentence because Are doesn't fit with your father. I mean, or your father is third person singular. Then how Are is used at the beginning of the question?

    What do you think of the sentence? Is it Ok?

    If it were : Are you and your father able to speak Japanese? On that time I think it works but I have some doubt about the upward sentence.


    No Source / Self Made
    Many thanks in advance.

  2. charliedeut's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Spanish
      • Home Country:
      • Spain
      • Current Location:
      • Spain

    • Join Date: Oct 2009
    • Posts: 5,560
    #2

    Re: Are you or your father able to speak Japanese?

    As far as I remember, I have always used "can" for such questions. It is more natural. Added bonus: it eliminates your problem.
    Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.

  3. tzfujimino's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Japanese
      • Home Country:
      • Japan
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Dec 2007
    • Posts: 2,697
    #3

    Re: Are you or your father able to speak Japanese?

    Hello, sb70012.

    Are you or your father able to speak Japanese?
    Is your father or you able to speak Japanese?

    My point is that the subject closer to the verb determines the number (of the verb).

    However, I wonder how I should reply to that question.

    Yes, I am.
    or
    Yes, he is.
    or
    Yes, we are.
    or...


  4. charliedeut's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Spanish
      • Home Country:
      • Spain
      • Current Location:
      • Spain

    • Join Date: Oct 2009
    • Posts: 5,560
    #4

    Re: Are you or your father able to speak Japanese?

    Quote Originally Posted by tzfujimino View Post
    However, I wonder how I should reply to that question.
    There are four possibilities:

    1. I can, my father cannot.
    2. I can't, my father can.
    3. Both of us can.
    4. None of us can.

    So there are four possible answers.
    Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.

  5. tzfujimino's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Japanese
      • Home Country:
      • Japan
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Dec 2007
    • Posts: 2,697
    #5

    Re: Are you or your father able to speak Japanese?

    Quote Originally Posted by charliedeut View Post
    There are four possibilities:

    1. I can, my father cannot.
    2. I can't, my father can.
    3. Both of us can.
    4. None of us can.

    So there are four possible answers.
    The verb is "be", however.
    So,
    1. I am, but my father isn't.
    2. I'm not, but my father is.
    3. Both of us are.
    4. None of us is/are.

    Do you think these four replies are all acceptable?

  6. charliedeut's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Spanish
      • Home Country:
      • Spain
      • Current Location:
      • Spain

    • Join Date: Oct 2009
    • Posts: 5,560
    #6

    Re: Are you or your father able to speak Japanese?

    What I find unnatural is the use of "be able to" in this case. As I said, I think "can" is a far more natural choice.

    PS: Having said that, your answers are correct; I feel inclined to say "None of us are" in your last reply.
    Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.

  7. MikeNewYork's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 24,983
    #7

    Re: Are you or your father able to speak Japanese?

    Quote Originally Posted by charliedeut View Post
    What I find unnatural is the use of "be able to" in this case. As I said, I think "can" is a far more natural choice.

    PS: Having said that, your answers are correct; I feel inclined to say "None of us are" in your last reply.
    Because there are only two people involved, "none of us" should be "neither of us".

  8. bhaisahab's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Ireland

    • Join Date: Apr 2008
    • Posts: 25,624
    #8

    Re: Are you or your father able to speak Japanese?

    Quote Originally Posted by charliedeut View Post
    What I find unnatural is the use of "be able to" in this case. As I said, I think "can" is a far more natural choice.

    PS: Having said that, your answers are correct; I feel inclined to say "None of us are" in your last reply.
    Perhaps it's a bit formal but the use of "be able to" is fine, in my opinion,

  9. Banned
    Interested in Language
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Persian
      • Home Country:
      • Iran
      • Current Location:
      • Iran

    • Join Date: Jun 2013
    • Posts: 637
    #9

    Re: Are you or your father able to speak Japanese?

    Quote Originally Posted by charliedeut View Post
    What I find unnatural is the use of "be able to" in this case.
    It is not unnatural. There is a sentence like this in Longman Dictionary:
    I've always wanted to be able to speak Japanese.
    Source: able - Definition from Longman English Dictionary Online

  10. charliedeut's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Spanish
      • Home Country:
      • Spain
      • Current Location:
      • Spain

    • Join Date: Oct 2009
    • Posts: 5,560
    #10

    Re: Are you or your father able to speak Japanese?

    Quote Originally Posted by sb70012 View Post
    It is not unnatural. There is a sentence like this in Longman Dictionary:
    I've always wanted to be able to speak Japanese.
    Source: able - Definition from Longman English Dictionary Online
    But note that it's not in the present simple, but present perfect.

    @bhai. I stand corrected (I had always used "can" for such situations; now I know better ).
    Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. (The) people in Japan speak Japanese.
    By HSS in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 05-Jun-2013, 12:55
  2. [Grammar] He is Japanese or a Japanese
    By Snappy in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 21-Nov-2010, 11:59
  3. [Vocabulary] Speak too fast or speak too quickly ?
    By SongYuxiang in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 18-Aug-2010, 18:01
  4. speak bad of/speak ill of
    By baeb11 in forum English Idioms and Sayings
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 09-Oct-2009, 07:12

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •