Submitted by Dyske on October 2, 2003

Either Is or Am

Which one is correct?

Either he or I am a fool.

Either he or I is a fool

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if you say our parents ...does it need an apostraphy or not...and if it does before the s or after?

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chrissy

"our parents" is correct
*if* there are 2 parents.
unless you were going for something possessed by both parents.
then it would probably be
"our parents' house"
if parents are divorced, it would be
"our parent's house"

*shrug*
hope this doesn't confuse you any more.

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I thought of recasting the statement with "neither:"

"Neither he nor I is a fool." Hmmm.

"Neither of us is a fool." This is obviously correct.

Amazing how this stuff nags at you, particularly if you're too lazy to do the proper research. ;D

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which is correct:

agreeing to your firms representation of the bank.....

or

agreeing to your firm's representation of the bank......

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"Firm's" is correct.

Look on the home page, Susie, for a link you can use to submit your next question.

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either he is a fool, or i am?

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Carrie is correct. "Either he is a fool or I am."

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so which sentence use the correct grammer?

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The example you use is rather archaic. If you were using spoken English you could say 'either he's a fool or I am'. If you were using written English, you'd be best to consult a style manual.

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william, i think what's important is not which sentence uses the correct grammar. what's important is that when you are writing or speaking, use the sentence that both keeps within the bounds of good grammar, AND doesn't sound stupid.

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"Verb tenses match the closest (proximity) subject when using 'or,'" or "Pigpen wins" and "carrie wins" work.

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Going by ear, this sounds fine to me:
"Either he or I am a fool."

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I think "Either he or I am a fool" is correct because "I" is closest to the predicate.

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I have to agree with Carrie here - whether or not one of these sentences might somehow be technically definable as gramatically correct, they both sound terrible and would never be used by a sober native speaker.

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My vote's mainly with carrie and Pigpen. Here we have a construction meant to set one thing against another, "Either A or B" (but presumably not both). I would consider the separation of the phrases to be the most effective and emphatic construction.

Yael's construction reminds me of something you'd read in Sabatini... "The cavalier sheathed his rapier slowly, raising an eyebrow as he muttered, 'Well, sir, then one of us is a fool." LOL

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I'm not sure, but I believe Carrie/Pigpen are gramatically correct. Another imporant aspect of composition and speech is clarity. It is clearer to write or say:

"Either he is a fool, or I am a fool."

Both subjects get their own verb and their own predicate nominative.

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If I remember correctly from my grammar classes, two parts of a sentence joined by a conjunction are supposed to be expanded at least to the extent of their separated grammatical differences. Therefore, I believe that neither sentence is correct as given; that Carrie and Pigpen and their supporters are correct, as is Scott; and that the most similar grammatically correct version to the originals would be "Either he is or I am a fool."

I wonder if I'm right...

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"either he or I am a fool" is correct
when you have two pronouns separated by "or" the verb should agree with the pronous that is closest

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It sounds stilted either way: rewrite it. 'One of us is a fool' is another possibility.

(aside: 'my grammar classes'... people have grammar classes!?)

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Agreed with Carrie, Pigpen and those before me who have supported them. I'm not very good with grammar, but just looking at those two options made me cringe.

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What about an alternative - "one of us is a fool"?
Anyway, I agree with Carrie.

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