Translation:Who is swimming in the sea with him?
To be sure (I am not native English speaking): is that completely true? Can "Who are swimming..." also mean you are talking about a singular person? Or is it that "Who is swimming ..." can as well mean you are talking about one or more people, but "Who are swimming..." always relates to more people?
"Who is" is used when there is no direct object, such as when it is immediately followed by a verb (like swimming), "there", or "that", or a singular direct object that is not "you".
"Who are" is used when the direct object is "you" (even if not plural!) and for plural direct objects.
The following are the correct usages... "IS": - "Who is singing those songs?" "Who is there?" "Who is that?" "Who is he/she?" "Who is your mother?"
"ARE": - "Who are you?" "Who are they?" "Who are Ed and Jill?" "Who are your parents?" "Who are you talking to?"
("What" is used for the same cases as "Who".)
A correction. In "Who is swimming", the "who" is a subject, not an object.
In all the following cases, "who" is the subject:
Who is singing those songs?" "Who is there?" "Who is that?" "Who is he/she?" "Who is your mother?"
In this sentence, "Who called whom? ", "who" is the subject; and "whom" is the direct object (of the verb, "called".
Take this (somewhat) non-sense sentence:
"Who gave whom to whom?" "(Who gave (which slave) to (which owner)."<pre>
In this case, "who" is the subject",; "whom" is the direct object of the verb "gave"; and "whom is the object of the preposition "to". (And if the "to" were left out, then one "whom" would be an indirect object. )</pre>
"Are" always goes with "you"., even if the "you" is singular. "Who are you?" "You are who?" But NOT "who is you" "You is who?"
If I needed to ask this question (either way, knowing or not knowing the amount of people swimming), I would just ask, "Who's swimming in the sea with him?" or "Who else is swimming in the sea with him?" The specifics of how many people there are will be clarified as soon as someone answers my question. FYI, I'm a native New Yorker.
There seems to be a lot of debate here, just accept that ''quiénes están'' can be translated as who is or who are in English depending on the rest of the sentence. We would say ''who are those people, swimming with him ? Hey, they're not people they're sharks!'', but we wouldn't say ''Who are swimming with him?'' as some people here try to do. Just one of those things, unfortunately. English seems to require a plural point of reference in the sentence if ''are'' is going to be used, and there is no such reference in Duo's example. In real life, if we wanted to make it clear that there were two or more people around our target swimmer, we would add more words, as in my example above.
Again, in "who is at the door", the "who" is the subject. There is no direct object.
"is" is a "linking verb". (a "being" verb). It does not have a "direct object". A direct object has to follow transitive (and non-linking) verb. It (direct object) has to follow (be the object of) an "action" (doing) verb. "Is" is not a "doing"; it simply "is"
Linking verbs (is, are, was, were) do not have objects.
See this site on "objects" of sentences: http://www.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/objects.htm
Reading the comments I note that all are, without exception, about English grammar rather than Spanish!! And the dispute on English grammar seems to be rather intricate without a clear conclusion.
As I am trying to learn Spanish and the correct English translation is disputable at best, "who are" is a better translation than "who is" because it is closer to the Spanish!
I have to disagree on both counts. Ryagon's comment (currently directly above yours) is probably the best and most concise explanation:
"Who", as a question word, is generally regarded as singular in English, unless it's a copula sentence of the form "Who is/are [noun]?", like "Who are these people?" So it's always "Who is swimming?"
Earlier in the comments Ryagon has also mentioned the following, specifically regarding the Spanish:
If you know there are multiple people involved, you use quiénes. If you don't know how many there are, or if it's only one, you use quién.
These two comments highlight the difference between English and Spanish in this matter, and why "who are" as a literal translation is not better than "who is" as a correct translation.
I used the plural form because of quiénes, and not quién, and got dinged for it. Does DL think the rules don't apply to them. I sometimes get so p.o.ed that I feel like quitting this app, but sanity pervails and all is well. I find Spanish hard enough without these roadblocks cropping up. Sorry for venting, gang, but there it is.
I thank all the english speaking people for their clear explanations. In the dutch language we use in this case the plural form. Now I understand it, thanks to you, folks. And to the others: we are all learning, accept your mistakes and learn from the comments and explications.
So, the interrogative subject pronouns "who" and "what" are generally singular in English. It's always "Who is swimming?" or "What is going on?", no matter how many people or objects you're talking about.
The addition of "all" complicates this a bit. This forum discussion suggests that "who all" is still considered singular in American English, but it's frequently plural in Indian English. For most people, "Who all are swimming?" will sound wrong, but it's still a valid sentence in some dialects.