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Who is online. Shouldn't it be Who are online. At any time, there are several members of the forum online.

Thanks in advance.
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Comments  
Hi Yoong,
it's always "Who is online?" and never "Who are online?", in any context. I'm quite sure of this, but you can wait for the natives as usual.

"Who" is the subject in that question, and is always singular. You can say "Who are those people?" because the subject is "those people".

"Who lives in the US?" - "Americans"

Emotion: smile

Yes; even if you can hear a vast crowd outside your door, when the doorbell rings, you still say "Who on earth is that?", not "...are those?".

MrP
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MrPedanticYes; even if you can hear a vast crowd outside your door, when the doorbell rings, you still say "Who on earth is that?", not "...are those?".

MrP
If you are certain there is more than one person at the door, wouldn't you say "Who are at the door?" ?
Hi Yoong Liat

While you're waiting for MrP, I'll add my (AmE) point of view: I'm certain I would also say "Who is at the door?" -- just as MrP and Kooyeen described.
I would like to add more context to my question, so it is as follows:

1. Who is online: Peter, Paul, Mary
2. Who are online: Peter, Paul, Mary.

Which sentence is correct?
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Hi Yoong,
I know what you are trying to do: you want to find a case where you can say "Who are...?", in a question where "who" is the subject. I learned that such a case doesn't exist. When "who" is the subject, the verb is always singular. Like "everyone", you say "Everyone is happy to learn English here", even though "everyone" refers to a lot of learners, and you can't think of a case where you would say "Everyone are..."
So the same is true for "who" as a subject in questions:

Who lives in the US, Americans, Italians or Germans? - Americans.

Who is screaming out there? There are a lot of people, it seems some of them are screaming, but I don't know who is screaming. Who are the people who are screaming? (in the last sentence, the first "who" is not the subject, and the second is a relative pronoun)

That doesn't seem strange to me, because I have similar structures in Italian too. If you don't have such structures, then I can undestand why it is confusing to you: a singualr verb doesn't seem the most logical choice, unfortunately. Emotion: smile

Hi Kooyeen

Who are all those people? (Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary)
Who are they?

I made a mistake when I wrote: "Who ... online?
I was actually more concerned with "Who is online" (without question mark)
This appears on the first page of our forum.

Who is online
Kooyen
Clive
Micawber
Grammar Greek

I'm wondering whether it should be 'Who are online' because what follows this sentence are the names of members who are online.

I'm just confirming whether it should be 'Who is online' or 'Who are online' or are both correct. 'Who is online' is a statement, not a question.

Best wishes
Hi Yoong,
Who is online - There are currently 2,567 guest(s) online...

Yes, that's what you see on the homepage. It is kind of a statement, yes, but I wouldn't say it is a complete sentence. I see it more like a kind of title, like "Installing Firefox" in a tutorial, which would indicate "Read here if you want to know how to install Firefox".
So, I see "Who is online" the same way, as a title, as an incomplete sentence. The sentence could be "Check here if you want to see who is online", so "Who is online" is actually the indirect version of the direct question "Who is online?"

"Who are online" is not a good title, not a good statement. When "who" is the subject, the verb is always singular, so "who" can't be the subject there. It makes me think of a subordinate clause, but where is the subject? I would say we need to add a subject, and get a title like "Memebers who are online", or "Users who are online".

Who is online? If you want to see who is online, click on "Who is online".
Who are the users online? If you want to see the users who are online, click on "Users who are online".


That's the way I see it. Emotion: smile
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