...doesn’t have the social skills the rest of society has/have?

parsnips

Banned
Spanish - English
Is “has” or “have” correct below?

He doesn’t have the social skills that the rest of society has/have.

Thank you.
 
  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Is “has” or “have” correct below?

    He doesn’t have the social skills that the rest of society has/have.
    This question gets asked often about an entity made up of a group of people, such as a society or a committee or a team etc.

    Society is a singular noun. Therefore the verb should be has.

    However there is a plural potential in the fact that society is compromised of individuals who HAVE the skill set and some people might favour using “have” here.

    I’d probably try to re-word it to avoid the problem!
     

    coiffe

    Senior Member
    USA
    American English
    Both are possible, as suzi has indicated. But I disagree that you should reword it to avoid the problem. Studies have been done with American native speakers and they usually come down 60-40 (or closer) favoring one way or the other. Knowing that native speakers are more or less evenly split on this question should encourage you to choose one way or the other and be happy with it.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    You are not disagreeing with me. You are putting forward a point of view.

    I merely said what I would do. I didn't recommend that the OP should do the same.
     
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