4

A person said " Are there the person who have a doller?" would be grammatically incorrect. Is this true?

19

I assume that you are speaking to a group of people and asking if anyone is willing to lend you a dollar. If that is the case, the sentence is both ungrammatical and unidiomatic.

Grammatically, there are three errors and one mis-spelling.

  • The singular person calls for a singular verb at the beginning: Is there...
  • The same noun also calls for a singular verb in the relative clause which modifies it: ...who has...
  • Since you are not speaking of a particular person but asking whether any of a number of people present has what you want, you should use the indefinite article: Is there a person...
  • Dollar, not doller

In any case, we don't ask this question this way. We say

Does anybody have a dollar? OR
Does someone have a dollar?

In this case, the inflection for person and number lies on the auxiliary do, and have is the infinitive form which do requires.

  • I agree with your suggested alternative, but note that it may be confusing to beginners in this context, since "have" is a plural verb form: the entire verb phrase here is "does have" which is singular, but that's not immediately obvious unless you go and parse the grammar. – Jason S Nov 8 '14 at 14:33
  • @JasonS Good point; I have expanded. – StoneyB Nov 8 '14 at 14:38
  • 1
    Grammatically there is a misspelling? – Mehrdad Nov 9 '14 at 6:11
  • I'd use anyone there. – TRiG Nov 9 '14 at 9:15
  • @TRiG What I'd actually say is "Anybody got a dollar?" – StoneyB Nov 9 '14 at 11:58
4

Yes, that sentence has a number of errors. If I understand the intent correctly, I would change it to:

Is there someone who has a dollar?

There are a couple of aspects here (aside from spelling):

  • You need to have subject-verb agreement. If the subject ("the person" in your example, "someone" in mine) is singular, the verb form/forms ("Is" and "has") must be singular.

  • You are asking a question and don't know who "the person" is. That's why you use "someone" instead. Anytime you use a definite article ("the") with a noun, it means you've already made it clear who or what you are referring to. This is called an antecedent, and you have to have it before you can use a definite article or pronoun. (You could say "Is there a person who has a dollar?" but this is less preferable.)

  • 1
    I don't like 'is there someone...' Really should be 'anyone' (or secondary, 'anybody', but that's unwieldy). Rest of your argument is sound, but I just feel 'someone' is unidiomatic. 'Street' version would be just 'anyone got a dollar?' – Tetsujin Nov 8 '14 at 19:15
  • 1
    @Tetsujin: Both "someone" and "anyone" sound OK to me here. It might be a regional / sociolectal difference. (Not being a native speaker, my own ear tends to be tuned to a pretty fuzzy style of quasi-American "Internet English" by default.) If anything, using "anyone" perhaps suggests a slightly higher degree of desperation to my ear (as in "Does someone have a dollar? Anyone?"). I do agree that the "street" version definitely calls for "anyone", though. – Ilmari Karonen Nov 8 '14 at 20:32
  • @IlmariKaronen - I'll agree it may be highly subjective/regional. To me someone sounds/feels wrong, but it's not something I'd get upset about if I was in conversation with even a native speaker from another area/country. Either would be OK, just one 'feels' better to my particular region/accent/etc – Tetsujin Nov 8 '14 at 20:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.