When it comes to grammar, most of the rules are logical when you think about them.
For instance, plural nouns take plural verbs, independent clauses are separated from each other by a comma, and the subject of a participial phrase should be the same as the main clause so as to avoid dangling participles.
In short, grammar is all about meaning. If something helps the meaning and makes the reader’s life easier, then odds are it is grammatically correct.
However, not all things follow this dictum. Some exceptions can prove counter-intuitive, confusing anyone new to the language.
An excellent case in point can be seen if we look at a fairly common question. Is it “everyone has” or “everyone have”?
So, is it “everyone has” or “everyone have”?
The correct form is “everyone has.” There are very few cases where “everyone” would ever be followed by “have,” but, for the most part, you will always use the singular “has.”
And, this may strike you as odd at first, but you’ll understand why in a minute.
The reason why “everyone has” is correct while “everyone have” is incorrect
Logically speaking, “everyone” is used to refer to more than one person, which is why most beginners’ first instinct is to assume that “everyone” is a plural pronoun.
And, if you follow this line of reasoning, you might think that it should be followed by plural forms of verbs, including “have” rather than “has.”
However, this is incorrect. Any time “everyone” is the subject of a clause, the verb will come in the singular form.
Let’s look at a few examples.
Everyone has the potential to be happy.
Everyone has an alibi that explains where they were during the robbery.
Everyone knows what infrastructure is but have you heard of the term “intrastructure” yet?
Everyone has a comfort character, whether it’s a fictional hero, a childhood toy, or a beloved pet.
Even when using tenses other than the present simple, “everyone” still uses the singular form.
Everyone has had time to read the pamphlet.
Everyone has seen the eclipse.
And, this also goes for verbs other than “have.”
Everyone here is planning to go to the beach.
Everyone knows that the soup is bad.
So, why should you use the singular?
Well, you see, “everyone” belongs to a group called the indefinite pronouns.
These are pronouns that don’t refer to someone or something specific, and they include “anyone,” “someone,” “no one,” “nobody,” and of course “everyone.”
Now, any time you use one of these indefinite pronouns, you have to follow it with a singular verb, regardless of whether said pronoun refers to a single individual or a large group of people.
Someone knows what happened here.
Nobody believes that the Earth is flat.
No one has seen someone as talented as her.
Anyone who chooses to invest in Bitcoin has to be careful.
Interestingly, if you take the determiners “every,” “each,” and “any” and place them before a noun, the final result is still a singular noun that takes a singular verb.
Every person on this floor is a football player.
Again, even though we are talking about more than one person, the noun is treated as a singular noun, which is why it is followed by the singular “is” instead of the plural “are.”
Any cinephile has watched “Gone With the Wind.”
Each number represents the success rate of the different groups.
Are there any cases where “everyone” is followed by “have”?
In the traditional sense, “everyone” is never followed by “have.”
However, there are a few unique constructions where this rule may be broken. Let’s take a look at some of them.
When using the imperative
Anytime you use the imperative form, i.e. give someone an order, you use the plural form of the verb.
It doesn’t matter whether you are talking to a single individual or a large group of people, you still use the plural form.
Read the book.
Whereas the singular form is “reads,” we use here the plural form of “read,” the same plural form found in “we read the book.”
Now, if you were to use the word “everyone,” this is how it would look.
Everyone, have a seat.
You’ll notice that “everyone” is separated from the verb “have” by a comma. Nevertheless, the indefinite pronoun is technically followed by the plural form of the verb.
When using “could have,” “would have,” and “should have”
“Could have,” “would have,” and “should have” are three constructions used to talk about imaginary scenarios.
“Could have” is used to discuss things that might have been possible in the past or thing you might have been able to do, but that is no longer the case.
“Should have” is used to refer to something that would have been advantageous to do in the past, yet you failed to do it for some reason.
“Would have” can either be used with the third conditional or when talking about something you wanted to do in the past but never got around to.
I should have fought harder to win the match.
We would have called you had we known you were interested.
He could have stopped the trial anytime he wanted to.
Now, when using these constructions with a question, you put the modal verbs, “could,” “should,” and “would,” at the beginning of the sentence. Then, you sandwich the subject between the modal verb and the verb “have.”
Would he have done anything differently had he known the outcome?
Should I have called before coming over?
You should now be able to see why this presents another case where “everyone” will be followed by “have” instead of “has.”
Could everyone have a seat?
In the above sentence, “have” is part of the construction “could have.” It is worth noting that this applies in both cases where “could have” is followed by the past participle of another verb and where it isn’t.
Could everyone have done better in their exams had they had more time to study?
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.