Wednesday, October 28, 2009

When To Use Has and Have

source: the star

COULD you please explain why we have to use “has” instead of “have” for this sentence: “Darling, I’ve got news for you: Meltem, together with her husband and six children, has come to stay with us for a whole month”. – Hoe

In the structure “Meltem, together with her husband and six children, has come”, the two subjects, “Meltem” and “her husband and six children” are linked by the phrase “together with”. In such structures, the verb agrees only with the first subject, in this case “Meltem”, which is singular. “Has” is therefore used instead of “have”. If such a sentence has a plural first subject, the verb would be plural, as in: “The six children, together with their mother, have come ...”

The verb also agrees with the first subject when the following phrases link the first subject with the second: “as well as”, “along with” and “in addition to”.

The above phrases seem to make the second subject just an appendage to the first subject. So only the first subject is considered in deciding whether to use a singular or plural verb. The conjunction “and”, however, makes both subjects equally important, resulting in the use of a plural verb, as in: “The woman and her six children have arrived.”

Some grammarians would not even regard the second subject as a subject when those phrases are used, but as a prepositional phrase beginning with a compound preposition, as seen in this statement from a US university website:

“Prepositional phrases beginning with the compound prepositions such as along with, together with, in addition to, and as well as should be ignored, for they do not affect subject-verb agreement.

Example: Gladys Knight, as well as the Pips, is riding the midnight train to Georgia.”

1 comment:

christinejalleh said...

Hi MiszSensei! I've just blogged about the question you asked me earlier: "Has had" or "had had"?

Hope you'll still find it useful :-)

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