I am holding a party. Mary is invited and she may come, she may not come. Peter is invited too, he may come, he may not come. I am interested to know if they will come. How should I ask the question?

1. Will Mary or Peter come to the party?

2. Will Mary and Peter come to the party?

3. Other?

kenny1999Will Mary or Peter come to the party?

Use this. "Or" is not exclusive in this context. In speech, intonation removes any possible ambiguity if you stress the two names equally and sustain the pitch to the end.

kenny1999Will Mary and Peter come to the party?

This can only be asking whether they will both come.


As always, you can spell it out, for example, "Is Mary coming to the party? And what about Peter?"

If more than two people and I want to name them all? How to ask the question?

e.g. Mary, Peter, Tom, John, Ken, Steven...

Do I have to use "what about" for each of them? So odd in that case.

Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
kenny1999So odd in that case.

Yes. You are trying to be too compact. Take as many words as you need, something like "I have this list here—Mary, Peter, Tom, John, Ken and Steven. I wonder which of them will be coming to the party."

By the way, that "what about" was just one example of the dozens of ways you could put it.