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  1. #1
    subhajit123 is offline Banned
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    Red face Who was/were

    Hi everyone, Can you please tell me 'was' or 'were': which one should I choose in the context?

    Here is a homewok in my grammar book.

    They were beating the boy for not following rules. (Make a question using 'who')

    Ans- Who was/were beating the boy for not following rules?

    was or were : Which one should I use with 'who' in the context?

    I think I should use 'was' but I am not sure as it is referring to more than one person.
    Last edited by subhajit123; 06-Sep-2017 at 11:57.

  2. #2
    Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    Re: Who was/were

    Did your teacher tell you to do the homework?
    I am not a teacher.

  3. #3
    subhajit123 is offline Banned
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    Re: Who was/were

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    Did your teacher tell you to do the homework?
    No, This question is in my grammar book. My teacher didn't tell me to do the homework.


  4. #4
    Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    Re: Who was/were

    I agree with you that 'was' should be used. However, the following comment is worth your reference.
    https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/t...=1#post1341783
    Last edited by Matthew Wai; 06-Sep-2017 at 10:42.
    I am not a teacher.

  5. #5
    subhajit123 is offline Banned
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    Re: Who was/were

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    I agree with you that 'was' should be used. However, the following comment is worth your reference.
    https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/t...=1#post1341783
    Can somebody please confirm it?

  6. #6
    Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    Re: Who was/were

    The following statement can confirm it.

    'The convention here is that in an interrogative sentence—one that asks a question—“who” (as well as “what”) is generally used with a singular verb, even when it’s understood that the pronoun refers to more than one person (or thing).'──quoted from https://www.grammarphobia.com/blog/2...s-who-are.html
    I am not a teacher.

  7. #7
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Re: Who was/were

    That convention is right as long as the interrogative comes first. It doesn't necessarily work if the interrogative is being used to clarify something expressed in a preceding declarative sentence.

    John: Who is complaining?
    Sarah: They are!

    John: They are complaining.
    Sarah: Who are?
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  8. #8
    Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    Re: Who was/were

    I think 'Who are?' means 'Who are they?' in this context.
    I am not a teacher.

  9. #9
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    Re: Who was/were

    It could be used to mean "Who are 'they'?", in which the questioner wants the other person to identify who they mean by the word "they".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  10. #10
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Re: Who was/were

    "Ans- Who was/were beating the boy for not following rules?"

    If that is the answer, then they are saying that either is acceptable. It would be different it if were a question.


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