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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.

5
  • 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. Nov 8 '14 at 14:38
  • 1
    Grammatically there is a misspelling?
    – user541686
    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?" 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.)

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  • 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?' 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. 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 Nov 8 '14 at 20:35

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