Learn English – Which of the two sentences is correct?

grammargrammatical-number

Which sentence is correct when each of x and y has made one defamatory statement?

  1. …whether the statement made by x and y are defamatory.

  2. …whether the statements made by x and y are defamatory.

Best Answer

If X and Y jointly made one statement, it's "statement is defamatory". If they each made at least one statement of their own, it's "statements are defamatory."

The verb matches the subject, and the subject indicates the number of statements. Here, you have two separate statements, so you need statements and its matching verb are.

If you use or then you still have more than one statement ("statements are defamatory") but you are no longer specific about who made each of the statements. X could have made none, one or more; Y could have made none, one or more; all we know is that you have two people and more than one statement.