Has anyone mastered the English language? It is difficult to answer the question as it would need us to define what mastery of a constantly evolving thing like language means. For example, when it comes to subject-verb agreement with indefinite pronouns, is it “anyone has” or “anyone have?”
We use “anyone has” in conditional statements where “if” precedes “anyone.” However, if the word “anyone” has the helper verb “does” before it, “anyone have” is the correct usage. “Anyone” is one of many singular indefinite pronouns in English. In addition, “has” or “have” come after “anyone” only when preceded by other words.
This article will look at when to use “anyone has” versus “anyone have,” including informal and formal usage. We will also address other questions regarding “any,” including “any place” vs. “anyplace” and “anyday” vs. “any day.” Finally, we will discuss indefinite pronouns and subject-verb agreement.
The Indefinite Pronoun “Anyone”
“Anyone” refers to any person whatsoever without saying which person. It can refer to a person, especially in negative statements and questions.
“Anyone” and “anybody” are both singular indefinite pronouns, and we use them to refer to both an unlimited number of people or any individual person. We very often use both words for questions and negatives while referring to “any person or persons” (source).
In addition, since “anyone” is singular, it follows that it uses singular verbs to ensure proper subject-verb agreement. Let us illustrate this so you can understand better.
- Anyone is welcome to attend the event.
- Has anyone seen my keys?
- She hasn’t spoken to anyone today.
- If anyone deserves this award, it is them.
“Anyone” vs. “Any One”
While we are talking about “anyone,” you might wonder if it is different from “any one.” It can be confusing when you must determine whether to use “anyone” or “any one,” but note that “any one” is not the same as “anyone.” When we write “any one” in this form (as two words), it is an adjectival phrase emphasizing singularity.
In addition, while “anyone” always refers to one or more people, “any one” can refer to people or things depending on context. We almost always follow “any one” with the preposition “of.” Here is an example showing this difference:
It does not seem like anyone in the previous class read the book. However, did any one of you read it?
Note that in each of the examples, we can replace “anyone” with “anybody” and still be correct:
- Anybody is welcome to attend the event.
- Has anybody seen my keys?
- She hasn’t spoken to anybody today.
- If anybody deserves this award, it is them.
So Which Is Correct: “Anyone Has” or “Anyone Have”?
As you have seen earlier, “anyone” is a singular indefinite pronoun. Therefore, it would make sense to use singular verbs with it to ensure proper subject-verb agreement. However, as we also mentioned at the start, using “has” or “have” with “anyone” depends upon context.
Consider the following:
- Does anyone have my keys? (correct)
- Has anyone seen my keys? (correct)
- If anyone has seen my keys, can you please let me know? (correct)
- If anyone has seen my keys, can they please let me know? (correct)
- I don’t think anyone has seen your keys. (correct)
- I don’t think anyone have seen your keys. (incorrect)
Note what happens when we replace “anyone” with a noun or a more specific pronoun in the above examples.
- Does John have my keys?
- Has she seen my keys?
- Have you seen my keys?
- If they have seen my keys, can they please let me know?
- If he has seen my keys, can he please let me know?
- I don’t think they have seen your keys
- I don’t think he has seen your keys.
As you can see, replacing the indefinite pronoun “anyone” with specific pronouns or nouns changes the verb based on the noun or pronoun we use for each sentence. However, with “anyone,” the verb remains singular.
One Key Exception
The only example where we have “anyone” followed by “have” is when it also has the helper verb “does” at the beginning. Here, “does” satisfies the subject-verb agreement with “anyone” by being the singular verb for the singular indefinite pronoun “anyone.”
Sometimes, you might have seen or heard people use “anyone” with “have” and without using the verb “does” in the sentence. This is usually informal speech, though we usually understand the speaker implies an action,“does,” here. Let us look at the below sentences to understand this better:
- Anyone have a pen? (informal but correct)
- Anyone has a pen? (informal and incorrect)
Is It “Any Has” or “Any Have”?
We use “any” and “has/have” right next to each other only in questions and with the order turned around, as in “have any” or “has any.” For example:
- She doesn’t have any other options.
- I don’t think she has any other options.
- Have any new movies been released this week?
- Has any new movie been released this week?
The above examples show that both “have any” and “has any” are correct and that the verb use changes with context as well as usage.
Although we normally use these words in the order “has/have any,” there are instances where “have” or “has” follow “any.” However, there is always a qualifying word or phrase after “any” in those sentences, as we’ve shown in the examples below.
- Do any of you have a pen?
- Can you let me know if any one of them has finished the test?
- If any of you have a pen, can I borrow it?
- If any of you has a pen, can I borrow it?
Other ways we use “any” with “has” or “have” are shown below.
- I don’t think I have seen any of these movies.
- I don’t think he has seen any of these movies.
- Have they served any dessert?
- Has any dessert been served?
Is It “Any Place” or “Anyplace”?
While we have seen earlier that both “anyone” and “any one” are correct but not interchangeable, in this case, “any place” is more accurate. Most dictionaries define “anyplace” as the informal usage for “anywhere” (source).
So, if you want to use “anyplace” anywhere, remember that it is always better to use “anywhere” instead!
“Any place” is an adjectival phrase where “any” is the adjective modifying the noun “place.” It basically refers to a generic or unknown location. For example,
- It doesn’t matter where we go this weekend. Any place is fine with me.
- Do you have any place in mind?
Is It “Anyday” or “Any Day”?
Another phrase that is similarly confusing is “any day.” Do we say “anyday” or “any day?” In this case, it is always “any day.” The phrase “any day” simply means “whenever,” and we can replace it with the adverb “anytime,” depending on relevance.
To read more about why “anyday” is incorrect and why we use “any day,” check out our article “‘Anyday’ or ‘Any Day’: Which Is Correct?”
What is subject-verb agreement? It simply means that the subject and the verb must agree in number (source).
Remembering a few rules and tips can help in ensuring subject-verb agreement.
First, the basic rules:
When the subject is singular, the verb must be singular too.
- She practices for three hours every day.
Similarly, when the subject is plural, the verb must be plural too.
- They practice for three hours every day.
However, sometimes we need to pay attention to other things about the subject or the sentence itself to ensure proper subject-verb agreement. We’ll consider some of these next.
Subjects Joined by Conjunctions
When nouns are joined by “and,” the verb is always plural.
- The teacher and her student write every day. (correct)
- The teacher and her student writes every day. (incorrect)
Even when each subject is singular, the verb needs to be plural since the conjunction “and” denotes more than one subject.
When nouns are joined by “or” or “nor,” the verb agrees with the subject closest to it. Grammarians call this the rule of proximity.
- Either the principal or the teachers make the announcement every day.
- Either the teachers or the principal makes the announcement every day.
Sentences With Multiple Verbs
Note that when a sentence has multiple verbs, all the verbs must follow the subject-verb agreement rule.
- My brother and my sister like watching dramas and are coming to the theater tomorrow.
- My brother likes watching dramas and is coming to the theater tomorrow.
- Neither my brother nor my parents like watching dramas and are not coming tomorrow.
- Neither my parents nor my brother likes watching dramas and is not coming tomorrow.
Impact of Other Words Between Subject and Verb
Having other words, phrases, or clauses between the subject and the verb does not impact the number of the subject. Like in the below examples:
- The outcomes of the studies were confusing.
- The outcome of the studies was conclusive.
- The students, as well as their coach, were at the game.
- The coach, as well as his students, was at the game.
While we will discuss some specifics about subject-verb agreement concerning indefinite pronouns in the following section, you can check our article “‘Here Is’ or ‘Here Are’: Understanding Subject-Verb Agreement” for more on this topic.
An indefinite pronoun is one that is “indefinite” because it does not denote a specific person or thing. “Anyone,” “something,” “few,” and “everybody” are some examples of indefinite pronouns (source).
Unlike other pronouns like “he,” “she,” “you,” or “we,” indefinite pronouns do not substitute for specific nouns but can take on the function of nouns themselves. In addition, different indefinite pronouns have different rules regarding their number characteristic.
For example, “everybody,” “anyone,” “someone,” and “nobody” are always singular. However, “some” can be singular or plural depending on what it refers to, while “none” changes its number characteristic based on whether we use it to mean “not any” or “not one” (source).
Subject-Verb Agreement With Indefinite Pronouns
Indefinite pronouns follow the same rules for subject-verb agreement as we stated in the previous section, so let us review some of them in connection with indefinite pronouns.
Singular indefinite pronouns take singular verbs. These include pronouns that have the prefix: “any,” “every,” “some,” and “no.” For example: “anything,” “nobody,” “everyone,” “everything,” “somebody,” or “nothing.” Other examples include “each,” “one,” “little,” and “much.”
Consider the following illustrations:
- Everybody is waiting for something that is yet to happen.
- Is anybody coming with you to the movies?
- Little is known of the author’s life before then.
- One never knows what to expect.
Plural indefinite pronouns take plural verbs. These include “few,” “many,” “both,” “several,” and “most,” among others. Here are a few examples:
- Both are wonderful choices.
- Only a few venture into the woods after dark.
- Most have done well on the test.
- Several restaurants were still open despite the weather.
Some indefinite pronouns can be singular or plural depending on context or usage. These include words like “some,” “none,” “all,” “such,” “what,” and “any.” Here are a few sentences to illustrate this.
- None of the cookies are left, but some of the cake is remaining.
- Such is life. Such are the joys of life.
- What is this plant? What are those flowers called?
- All is not lost as long as all of us are still hopeful.
This article was written for strategiesforparents.com.
Check out our article “‘Everyone Is’ or ‘Everyone Are’: Which Is Correct?” for more on the indefinite pronoun.
Once we realize that context can change how we use specific combinations of words, writing becomes less confusing. For example, while indefinite pronouns like “anyone” have a variety of rules, practice and context will make it easier to understand them.
It is the same with subject-verb agreement. One tip that certainly helps is to sound it out loud. If the sentence or phrase sounds awkward, maybe we need to correct or change something. We use “anyone has” when “if” goes before the indefinite pronoun and “anyone have” when “does precedes the pronoun.
So while I am not sure if anyone has ever mastered the English language, I know that everyone can get better at it. We just need to keep writing, reading, and speaking more. Practice makes perfect, after all.