With 'one or more' - is or are?


this occurs when one or more of the following five rules [is / are ] true:…

Sorry, if am repeating someone’s question (it seems that recently something like that was asked, but I’ve fail to find that thread :frowning: )

‘with or always use is’? :slight_smile:

Good morning Tamara :smiley:

Generally speaking:

(Either) John or Mary is going to meet you at the airport.
[color=blue]–> singular or singular is
Either the Johnsons or the Smiths are going to buy that old house…
[color=blue]–> plural or plural are

Generally speaking, if you’ve got singular and plural words connected by the word or, then usually the verb agrees with the word it’s closest to.
[color=blue]–> singular or plural are
–> plural or singular is

You have to be careful about this, though. For example:
Either John or I am going to pick you up at the airport.
To me this sentence sounds a little strange and I’d probably use “will” instead of the “be going to future” in order to avoid the problem all together. :lol:
Either John or I will pick you up at the airport. :smiley:

Or you could opt for “is/are”, for example. But that doesn’t really work in spoken English at all. 8)


Hi Tamara,

There is something called notional agreement where the two alternatives combined with either and or together , as it were, make a plural even though they are separate entities. In that case - Either the mother or the father are going to have to look after the child is acceptable because the two together albeit at different times are going to have to look after the child. Put another way one doesn’t really exclude the other. But- Either a quick decision or a postponement is required in this situation calls out for a singular verb as one of the choices excludes the other.

Finally a bit of a puzzler - Either he or I are going to have to decide. You can’t really say is going and you can’t say am going so you package the two and go for plural.


Oh, noooo…

Thank you very much!
(… for your puzzling me a bit more. :slight_smile: :slight_smile: )

The life is hard and never will be easy, yes. :slight_smile:

…I would be very grateful to anyone who refers me to some good practical lessons and/or tests on the topic.


Hi Tamara

Maybe you should ask Quoc… 8)
englishforums.com/English/Or … m/Post.htm


A bit more effort (lessons :)) - and Quoc will learn how to quote (i.e., make correct formal references). :slight_smile: