What should be used in the below sentence?

Does this person has / have the clearance?

I think we should use have here but I'm not so sure.

  • The auxiliary do in all its forms (do, does, did, don't, doesn't, didn't, even the archaic doth and dost) always always always takes the base form of the following verb, never an inflected form. – Colin Fine Jun 5 '19 at 22:51

'Does this person have' is correct.

'Do' as an auxiliary verb in negative statements ('This person doesn't have the clearance') and questions (like yours) is always followed by the base form of a verb - 'have', not 'has' or 'having' or 'had'. Many students want to match the form of the main verb to the form of do/does/did - 'xDoes this person has' or 'xDoes this person had'.

  • 1
    @lea Note that this is true in positive statements using the do-form as well: "John does have clearance" (not "has") – David Siegel Jun 5 '19 at 21:36
  • Why are you mentioning negative statements when no negative statement was given? But, in point of fact, it makes no difference whether it's negative or positive. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Jun 6 '19 at 11:02
  • @Jason: For the sake of completeness, because negative statements and questions often work in the same way. In fact, David Siegel also pointed out that the emphasised positive form works in the same way as well. There is nothing wrong with expanding the OP's question to commonly related forms. – Sydney Jun 7 '19 at 11:57
  • @David: I would add that "John does have clearance" is often emphasised: A - "I thought John didn't have clearance" B - "John has clearance/John does have clearance, but James doesn't". – Sydney Jun 7 '19 at 12:00
  • That would be fine if you added it as additional information (note that this is also true in negative statements)—or even if you said and questions in the positive (like yours), but you make it sound as if you think the question is phrased in the negative—which it isn't, so your introduction of the negative seems confusing, or even like a misunderstanding. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Jun 7 '19 at 13:34

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