Please take a look at this sentence:

There is a philosophical question and an issue of humanity "what are aliens?".

In this one, I want to express "philosophical question"(a) and "issue of humanity"(b) as one idea-a is b, and b is also a. I researched and found an example:

two singulars connected by 'and'become a plural, unless they present one idea as:

The needle and the thread are on the table (2 things)

The needle and thread is on the table (1 thing)

In my case, I don't know whether It's wrong or right to apply this example to my sentence.

There is a philosophical question and an issue of humanity "what are aliens?".

Help me!

  • 2
    I'm not sure about the wisdom in close coordination here, but 'There is a philosophical question and [an] issue of humanity ...' is grammatical. But I'd put a colon and a capital to mark the 'quote' (and I'd use italics rather than quotes). – Edwin Ashworth Mar 19 '16 at 20:03
  • 1
    I agree with Edwin's comment, but I think you (Sour Tofu) are making a bad comparison.  "Needle and thread" is like "cup and saucer" or "knife and fork" — two distinct objects that can be considered as an aggregate.  I believe you're talking about two phrases that describe the same object, like "a gentleman and a scholar" (which refers to one person, not two). – Scott Mar 19 '16 at 22:50
  • Is Help me! supposed to be part of the last quote? If not, what's the difference between it and the first quote? – Barmar Mar 20 '16 at 10:25
  • @Barmar No, that's my call for help. – Sour Tofu Mar 20 '16 at 11:00
  • @Scott yes, that's what I want to ask. – Sour Tofu Mar 20 '16 at 11:07

You should use the singular form, because you're just describing one question.

A better way to express it, IMHO, would be:

"What are aliens?" is both a philosophical question and an issue of humanity.

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