Tag Questions with Indefinite Pronouns


When using Indefinite Pronouns, the verb is in the "3rd personal singular" form. When adding a Tag Question, we invert the sense of the verb (+ to - and - to +). So, it's OK to say:

Somebody is there, isn't it?

Nobody has arrived, have they?

I'm sure about the first tag question, but not about the second one. Is the tag OK? If I write "hasn't they" it doesn't make any sense to me.

I'll appreciate if somebody could help me solving this doubt.


Posted 2015-03-15T01:01:40.953

Reputation: 153


Possible duplicate of "Nothing is available, is anything?" Tag questions for negative sentences

– Mari-Lou A – 2018-04-15T13:55:14.603

1Hasn't they is always wrong in standard English – None – 2015-03-15T11:53:01.390



The first one should be:

Somebody is there, aren't they?

And the second is right:

Nobody has arrived, have they?

You are changing the number of the pronoun, 'somebody' is 1 person, but by the end of the sentence you are talking about 'they' which is more than one person, so the use of (is) must change to (are).

The same goes for the second sentence, has -> have

Note: 'Nobody has' probably counts as a negative verb, so I use 'have' instead of 'haven't'.


Posted 2015-03-15T01:01:40.953

Reputation: 1 249

Thank you for answering my question. I understand that even when an Indefinite Pronoun uses a "3rd personal singular" verb form, in fact you can refer to any person. That's why I'm using "they" in the Tag. Am I OK? – Silvia – 2015-03-18T16:44:56.090

'nobody' refers to one person, but you don't know who, it could be anyone, so therefore 'they' – JMP – 2015-03-18T17:05:20.090


Three conditions are necessary to use 'has' 1 Singular number 2 Third person 3 Present tense


Posted 2015-03-15T01:01:40.953

Reputation: 49

2It's not entirely clear how this addresses the first tag question. Can you [edit] to be clearer? – Nathan Tuggy – 2015-12-18T07:28:00.063