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Sir,

Please tell me which sentence is correct: \

1)Who is singing in that room?

2)Who are singing in that room?

If both are possible,is there any difference in meaning?

Thanks a lot.
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Comments  
1)Who is singing in that room? OKAY

2)Who are singing in that room? Not possible
In addition, who is a singular pronoun/adjective, so it takes a singular verb, but it agrees in number with its antecedent, so it expresses either a singular or plural meaning:

EX: Who found the dog? (Singular: What person? | Plural: What group of people?)
EX: He is the man who found the dog.
EX: They are the people who found the dog.
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What would you ask the bellhop if you were disturbed by a chorus of drunken voices from the next suite? I would likely inquire, 'Who are singing in there?'

Who are your favorite authors?
Who are those bearded fellows in the daguerreotype?
Great addition, MM.

Though, given the linking structures provided, I dare say we've a strong case for 'exceptions'. But, then again, I may have missed your point.
Who are your favorite authors?
Who are those bearded fellows in the daguerreotype?


To me, "authors" and "fellows" function as the subject, irrespective of the question structure.

Your favo(u)rite authors are who?
Who are your favo(u)rite authors?

As for what I'd say to the bellhop, hehe, I dare say I'd use the form, "Who are singing in there?" To me, "Who" is a singular pronoun; it takes a singular verb. Exceptions to the rule, there are none that I know of, at least not yet.
Mr M: What would you ask the bellhop if you were disturbed by a chorus of drunken voices from the next suite? I would likely inquire, 'Who are singing in there?'

JT: Yes good addition Mr M, but I find I have to agree with Casi. Though I can't rule out an with for every circumstance of English,

'Who are singing in there?' ,

sounds really strange to me.

Addressing a class of students about a trip to Disneyland:

Who is going to come?

?Who are going to come? * [highly questionable (?) to ungrammatical[*]to my mind]
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Now, I'm in agreement with you about "Who are singing?" being awkward, but I believe "Who are going to come? supports MM's point quite nicely. That is, we should have read between the lines. Consider:

Pat: Everyone is coming to the party.
Max: Who (all) are coming? ~ Who are (all) coming?

If we assume "all" is implied, then "Who are" doesn't sound (as) awkward, it being referentially tied to a plural antecendent.

Note, I used the phrase "(as) awkward" to express my feelings about substantive "all", an adjective by form, being used as an antecedent.
Now, I'm in agreement with you about "Who are singing?" being awkward, but I believe "Who are going to come? supports MM's point quite nicely. That is, we should have read between the lines. Consider:

Pat: Everyone is coming to the party.
Max: Who (all) are coming? ~ Who are (all) coming?

If we assume "all" is implied, then "Who are" doesn't sound (as) awkward, it being referentially tied to a plural antecendent.

Note, I used the phrase "(as) awkward" to express my feelings about substantive "all", an adjective by form, being used as an antecedent.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Agreed, Casi and Mr M. There are circumstances where is warranted so I must withdraw my "not possible". You have set up a situation, Casi, where the implication has already been made that refers to more than one. I believe this is different than the original query.

But in first instance type questions, I still maintain [though I certainly can't state unequivocally that I'm right] that a "Who are ...? " sounds strange.
I too find 'who are singing?' (and 'who are going?') strange.

There doesn't seem to be a problem with the relative pronoun, which supports the point about known referents:

1. 'The people who were singing in the room...'

But even where we know at least 22 people are involved, 'who is' seems dominant:

2. 'I'm going to the football tonight.' 'Who's playing?'

I seem to recall that OE 'hwa' ('who') was singular only, and that the use of 'who' as a relative pronoun is a later, non-OE development. Is there a connection?

(But as has been said, 'who are those people?' sounds fine. Curious.)

MrP
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