I found these sentences below in my dictionary.

''His car and mine are the same''

''Is postman and mailman the same?''

Would you please teach me the difference between ''A and B are the same'' and ''A and B is the same''

Thanks in advance!

closed as off-topic by Kris, Chenmunka, Robusto, FumbleFingers, tchrist Oct 5 '14 at 17:47

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  • "A and B is the same" sounds impossible. Ungrammatical. Are you sure that the dictionary says "Is postman and mailman the same"? Does it not maybe say this: "Is a postman the same as a mailman?" – curious-proofreader Oct 2 '14 at 4:15
  • @curious-proofreader That is what it is. The words are understood to have been in quotes: Is "postman" and "mailman" the same? – Kris Oct 2 '14 at 5:16
  • 2
    This question may be migrated to English Language Learners – Kris Oct 2 '14 at 5:24

The reference in the second example is to the words (and their meanings). In plain and simple writing, that is how it is written.

However, one should understand it as meaning

Do the words "postman" and "mailman" mean the same?


Is it one and the same thing that we call variously as "postman" and "mailman"?

It is grammatical in that the speaker presumes that it is so.

Compare the case when the listener may reply:

No they are not the same.

which is also correct, just as the following is

No it is not the same.

  1. You are talking about two cars. Two cars "are". (A and B are the same)
  2. You are talking about one person. One person "is". (A and B is the same)

Hope this helped.

  • 1
    So you are saying that "Clark Kent and Superman IS the same person" would be correct? Sounds odd to me. And Google has 109 K hits for "Clark Kent and Superman are the same person", but only 3 (!) for the same with “is”. – curious-proofreader Oct 2 '14 at 4:54
  • Not two persons here but two words. – Kris Oct 2 '14 at 5:16

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