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correct and appropriate? Options
ahmetwrt
Posted: Tuesday, July 26, 2011 6:19:51 AM

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A: Has James or Mike got a car?
B: No, they haven't got a car.

Of course it is possible to give other responses, but is it correct and appropriate to use "they" in the answer above? I believe it is.

Another point is; usually, "Yes/No" isn't used to answer questions including "or". So, is the use of "No(or 'Yes')" correct up there? If the answer were "James has got one", I wouldn't use "Yes", but I think it wouldn't be grammatically incorrect to use "Yes".
Romany
Posted: Tuesday, July 26, 2011 6:54:03 AM
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Ahmetwrt - I think that one would tend rather to phrase the question:

"Have either James or Mike got a car?" - unless James and Mike are in a relationship together.

As you correctly identified, answering this could pose a bit of a problem: if they are a couple the answer as it stands is fine. Otherwise perhaps one would make it clearer by saying "No, neither of them has one."

If one of them owns a car we would avoid any ambiguity by saying "Well, James has one, but Mike hasn't." (or vice versa).

Because we know we are talking about a car we wouldn't use the words "a car" in our response - that only really happens in grammar books or text-book responses so students can practise.
TOOTS
Posted: Tuesday, July 26, 2011 8:52:24 AM

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I think Romany's sentence is grammatically correct and also sounds the best -

"Have either James or Mike got a car?"

(this would also apply whether they are in a relationship or not, as they could be a two-car family - (p.s. if they don't have a car, you can borrow my bike, as me and my brother have one apparently.......... Whistle Dancing )
jmacann
Posted: Tuesday, July 26, 2011 12:54:13 PM
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Unlikely -as unless James and Mike are a group, it does not make that much sense. In any case, all in all, your loop stands...
MTC
Posted: Tuesday, July 26, 2011 1:19:51 PM
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I believe the rule for subject/verb agreement in "either/or" constructions is that the number of the verb depends on whether the noun in the "or" position closer to the verb is singular or plural: To illustrate," Either John or his friend is coming." "Either John or his friends are coming."

"Has either James or Mike got a car?" is correct because James is singular and Mike is singular.
"No, they haven't got a car." is incorrect. "Neither has a car" would be correct. (Think "Neither one has a car" if that helps.
Marissa La Faye Isolde
Posted: Tuesday, July 26, 2011 9:46:20 PM
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A: Has James or Mike got a car?
B: No, they haven't got a car.

A: Does either James or Mike have a car?
B: No,neither James nor Mike have a car.
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