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This question already has an answer here:

Is the following sentence correct?

  1. Don't be afraid to talk about a time when you or a relative were a patient.

Or should it be one of the following:

  1. Don't be afraid to talk about a time you or a relative was a patient.

  2. Don't be afraid to talk about a time when you were or a relative was a patient.

marked as duplicate by Edwin Ashworth, Hellion, choster, Community Apr 12 '17 at 4:59

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Surely this has already been addressed, but the general rule is to make the verb agree with the nearer term of the disjunction.

That said, all of these sentences are terribly awkward and it's better to just rephrase it to avoid the problem.

Don't be afraid to talk about your own hospitalization or that of a relative.

Don't be afraid to share your own experiences as a patient or as one's relative.

  • Perhaps I didn't parse "your own experiences as a patient or as one's relative" properly. – traktor53 Apr 11 '17 at 21:43
  • I'll retract my ill-considered comment of a few seconds ago. – Michael Owen Sartin Apr 11 '17 at 21:52
  • Surely the 'general rule' is therefore 'It's better to just rephrase it to avoid the problem.' – Edwin Ashworth Apr 11 '17 at 23:19
  • Thanks all. Hospitalization is different from being a patient, but I get the gist. Thanks! – Observer Apr 15 '17 at 5:50

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