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In an English sentence like “Tom and Jerry like chasing each other”, the verb is plural. But in an answer on Duolingo German a singular verb was used in a subordinate clause. Google translate used a plural verb. Which is correct please?

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  • Does this answer your question? Singular conjugation for plural subjects Commented Nov 16, 2023 at 17:45
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    So it depends. We would need the concrete sentence to decide, it the link of Henning doesn't answer your question sufficiently. Commented Nov 17, 2023 at 3:57
  • Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it's hard to tell exactly what you're asking.
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    Commented Nov 17, 2023 at 3:57
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    While your question has been answered, I would like to point out one case which is not that trivial: If the two subjects are "ich" and "du" (or "ich" and ihr"), the theoretically correct construct would be "Du und ich gehen morgen ins Kino", but since this sounds so awkward, we usually introduce an artificial "wir": "Du und ich, wir gehen morgen ins Kino". Another alternative is to replace the "und" by i.e. "mit": "Du gehst morgen mit mir ins Kino". Commented Nov 18, 2023 at 10:49

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The main rule is the same as in English and most other languages: if the subject is an enumeration of more than one entities, the verb/predicate is plural.

However, there can be cases when the enumeration can be understood as one entity, and then the verb can be in singular. For example, if you think of Tom and Jerry not as the two characters, but as the name of the cartoon, it becomes a single entity:

Tom und Jerry jagen einander gern. (Tom and Jerry like chasing each other.)

Tom und Jerry war als Kind meine liebste Zeichentrickserie. (Tom and Jerry was my favourite cartoon as a child.)

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