It's not I who has/have

Kelly B

Senior Member
USA English
I should know this, really I should. That fool Google disagrees with me, though.

It is not I who has the right to...
It is not I who have the right to...

I think the form of the verb should match "who," so I'd choose the first. What do you think?
 
  • maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    I would mentally insert what is missing there…

    It is not I (but someone else) who has the right to...
     

    selters

    Member
    Norwegian, Norway
    Me tends to be assigned the subject function in some cases, even though I is the "correct" form.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    It is not I who has the right to...
    It is not I who have the right to...


    Who has the right to ...
    I have the right to ...
    I do not have the right to ...
    Who does not have the right to ...
    It is I who does not have the right to ...
    It is not I who has the right to ...

    What do you think?
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    Kelly B said:
    I should know this, really I should. That fool Google disagrees with me, though.

    It is not I who has the right to...
    It is not I who have the right to...

    I think the form of the verb should match "who," so I'd choose the first. What do you think?
    Before I comment on my usage - I'd like to point out I think that your statement is a bit of a non-sequitur (the cheek!)

    When you say "the verb should match "who"" I would agree - however it doesn't follow to say therefore you'd choose the first. You mean by that, I assume, that "who" should always be followed by a third person verb, and that is questionable - indeed it is the very question you are asking:). In fact, I think that "who" can represent any part of speech and that therefore if it is standing for I it should take the verb form for I. (I mean theoretically - and since English tends to have the grammar of Latin imposed on it I would guess that the traditionally correct answer would be to agree with the "I" (this happens in French and Spanish))

    Personally I would not start with "it is not I who..." but "it is not me who...". For "it is not me..." I would definitely follow with the third person verb form. "it is not me who fritter all my money away" yuck! But "it is not me who fritters all his (my??!! - same question, no?) money away" fine.

    If, as you ask, the phrase is "it is not I who..." I am much more likely to use the "I" form, but on the whole I think I would still tend to use the third person. I reckon the difference is due to the verb subject "I" so near to the verb itself. You don't say "Me fritter" so there is less temptation to say "it is not me who fritter" but since you do say "I fritter" it is tempting to accord the two when separated only by "who" in "it is not I who fritter...". I think this tendency may be even stronger with a common verb such as "have" which may explain your google result.

    Conclusion? I agree with your instinct. I suspect that traditionalists would say you are wrong. I am also surprised by your google result, but suspect this may not be true for other less common verbs than "have".
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Kelly B said:
    I should know this, really I should. That fool Google disagrees with me, though.

    It is not I who has the right to...
    It is not I who have the right to...

    I think the form of the verb should match "who," so I'd choose the first. What do you think?

    Don't know. The whole construction sounds clumsy to me. Surely in English we say 'I'm not the one / person who has the right to...'
     

    A90Six

    Senior Member
    England - English.
    panjandrum said:
    It is not I who has the right to...
    It is not I who have the right to...


    Who has the right to ...
    I have the right to ...
    I do not have the right to ...
    Who does not have the right to ...
    It is I who does not have the right to ...
    It is not I who has the right to ...

    What do you think?
    That's the one for me! The original sounds very formal and archaic.
     

    AergerMacher

    New Member
    Korean - South Korea
    Me tends to be assigned the subject function in some cases, even though I is the "correct" form.

    That 'me' is a disjunctive pronoun, something that English got from French. In English, 'It is not me who' sounds rather casual as 'It is not I who' does formal.

    As for the OP, 'It is not I who have' is the correct usage according to an English professor that I've had; I was reading Atlas Shrugged and saw that Ayn Rand had written "I who have" in places where it felt to me also that it should have been "I who has". I asked the professor about it and was told that the 'who' is a pronoun that replaces 'I' and thus takes 'have' instead of 'has'.

    She said so with a caveat, however, that although it is grammatically correct, 'I who have' is a very unusual syntax.
     
    Last edited:

    Thomas Tompion

    Member Emeritus
    English - England
    Many of these apparently simple pronoun forms sound stilted.

    We'd normally say, without thinking, 'I don't have to'; for emphasis, perhaps, 'I'm not the person who has to'.

    If we start 'It's not I', then I think we have to go on 'who have to', strange as it sounds.

    It's not I who have to... doesn't sound as strange as It's not you who are to... but I think each is correct. I'm with AergerMacher's professor.
     
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