Hi teachers,

Please help me with WHO question. Do Who goes with a singular verb like What?

A: I went to the party last night.
B: Who were or was at the party? / Do you know who were or was there?

tinanam0102Do Who goes with a singular verb like What?
Emotion: tongue tied A verb like "What"? "what" is not a verb!

Anyway, when a question that starts with "Who" is followed by linking "be" and another noun phrase, make the agreement with the noun phrase:

Who is that boy? / Who are those boys? / Who was the head of the committee? / Who were the members of the committee?

In other cases, use the singular if "who" is the subject, even if you know (or suspect) that the answer will require a plural:

Who was there? / Who helps when no one else is there? / Who knows what to do? / Who thinks it's too heavy?

Otherwise, the agreement is with the subject:

Who do they usually invite to their parties? (Subject: they)
Who were the children playing with? (Subject: children)
Who does Bill recommend for the job? (Subject: Bill)

You need to use singular verb after "who" even if you are sure, more than one person has been in the party.
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 CalifJim's reply was promoted to an answer.
Hi CalfJim,

Thanks again for your help. Have a good day.
What about when "who" is a relative pronoun? For example, "I meet some guys who need my help" or " I meet some guys who needs my help". I think the first one is correct, but I'm not very sure. I think we make the agreement with the direct object in the first clause, which becomes the logical subject of the second one.
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nico g 24some guys who need my help

Correct. The antecedent (guys) is plural, and the corresponding who is the subject of the relative clause, so the verb is plural.


One more important point to add: If the subject is unclear, such as asking "Who was at the party?" then "was" would stay singular, since the valuation of "who" is unclear. It is subjective on who was there, so you refer to the valuation of the word "who" itself. I became aware of this nuance of english when my Spanish-speaking friend said "Who were with you?". If he had said 'Who all were with you?" it would have made more sense, since the verb would refer to "all" in that case instead of "who." Very confusing for a non-native Spanish speaker, indeed!