They have vs. they has — which version is correct?

Which form of the verb to have goes with the pronoun they? The answer to this question is not as obvious as it would seem at first glance. Have a closer look at this case and decide whether they have or they has is the correct form.

They have vs. they has Which form is correct meaning definition correct form difference examples

They has or they have — why it’s not so simple

You may find it surprising, but both they have and they has are correct conjugations of the verb to have. In fact, they has been used both as a singular and plural generic pronoun for centuries. The examples can be found even in the works of Chaucer and Shakespeare, so it can hardly be said that this conjugation is some recent evolution of the English language. The fact that the pronoun they can be relevant for singular and plural should not be this shocking. Don’t we have singular and plural pronouns for you?

When do we use they has?

There are situations when we can use they has. Firstly, this version applies when we talk about a person whose gender is unknown or irrelevant. They has is used also in the case of people who identify themselves as non-binary.

Singular they in literary tradition

Every one must judge according to their own feelings.

Lord Byron, Werner, 1823

Everybody has a secret world inside of them.

Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol.5, 1992

People feel with their hearts, Ellen, and since he has destroyed mine, I have not power to feel for him.

Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights, 1847

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Absolwent Wydziału Bioinżynierii Zwierząt na UWM w Olsztynie. Miłośnik chemii i języka ojczystego, krzewiciel i popularyzator poprawnej polszczyzny. Na co dzień redaktor internetowy, meloman i miłośnik polskiej klasyki filmowej. W wolnym czasie gra na pianinie, czyta Lema, Vonneguta i Murakamiego oraz artykuły popularnonaukowe. Lubi się uczyć i uczyć innych.