I want to use some special pronoun. For example, the "have-nots" means who have nothing.

If I am trying to say "the ___ want to earn more by working hard", should I use "want" or "wants"? I just want to figure out how does verb works, if I use self-created word.

2 Answers 2


On the analogy of haves and have-nots you would use wants.

Be careful, however. This construction is not "productive", so the coinage will only make sense if you introduce it in the company of its contrary, want-nots before you use it by itself. If you don't make it clear that you are relying on analogy with an established use, readers will take you to be using wants in its ordinary sense as a noun, the things which one desires or lacks.

Also, you should avoid saying The wants want to earn more; it is very poor style to use a word twice in different senses that close together, except for obvious (and successful) humorous effect.


If you are talking about haves and have-nots as groups of people, the noun could be replaced by they

The haves want to earn more
They want to earn more

if you are referring to a specific have person

That (particular) have wants to earn more
(S)he wants to earn more

but this sounds awkward. The rule follows the same verb usage for singular and plural subjects.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .