have to do with/have something to do with

tony389

Member
Chinese
——What is the difference between a nation and an ethnic group?
——Ethnicity has to do with common ancestry, genetic similarity. The boundaries are rather arbitrary and determined by attitudes and cultures. (Quora)
Can I change "has to do with" to "has something to do with"? The latter sounds more natural to me.
 
  • witchqueen

    Senior Member
    English (US)
    X has something to do with Y = I know that X is related to Y, but I'm not sure how or why. (Because 'something' necessarily refers to a thing which is not specified or unknown.)

    X has to do with Y = X and Y are related.

    In your example, you wouldn't want to put 'something' because it would mean the writer does not know exactly how ethnicity is related to ancestry. But that is not true because they are explaining that relationship in their writing.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    You would be changing the meaning if you did that.

    Ethnicity has to do with (is about) common ancestry, genetic similarity.

    Linguistics has to do with the scientific study of language - A definition of what inguistics is.

    (crossposted)
     
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