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  1. #1
    renzheng04 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Pay back / pay off & have / has

    Hello teachers ,

    Which is wrong English ?(The way the native speakers use)

    1)90 % of the debts have been paid back so far.

    2)90 % of the debts have been paid off so far.

    3)90 % of the debts has been paid back so far.

    4)90 % of the debts has been paid off so far.


    Thanks a lot.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Pay back / pay off & have / has

    Not a teacher.

    If the debt is plural, then the first two are correct. If the debt is singular, then the second two are correct. The debt is singular when you are talking about something like the national debt. It can be plural when you are talking about debtors in general (like home or car buyers). Debt is usually used in the singular.

  3. #3
    norwolf is offline Member
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    Default Re: Pay back / pay off & have / has

    Quote Originally Posted by renzheng04 View Post
    Hello teachers ,

    Which is wrong English ?(The way the native speakers use)

    1)90 % of the debts have been paid back so far.

    2)90 % of the debts have been paid off so far.

    3)90 % of the debts has been paid back so far.

    4)90 % of the debts has been paid off so far.


    Thanks a lot.
    Personally, I would choose 1.

    debts have
    (Corpus shows)
    pay off phrasal verb
    1 pay something ↔ offBF to give someone all the money you owe them:
    I'll pay off all my debts first.
    He finally paid his overdraft off.
    pay somebody/something ↔ back phrasal verb
    1BFL to give someone the money that you owe them [= repay]:
    I'll pay you back on Friday.
    We're paying back the loan over 15 years.(LONGMAN Dictionary of Contemporary English)

    not a teacher
    n
    Last edited by norwolf; 09-Nov-2008 at 21:31.

  4. #4
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Pay back / pay off & have / has

    Quote Originally Posted by renzheng04 View Post
    Hello teachers ,

    Which is wrong English ?(The way the native speakers use)

    1)90 % of the debts have been paid back so far.

    2)90 % of the debts have been paid off so far.

    3)90 % of the debts has been paid back so far.

    4)90 % of the debts has been paid off so far.


    Thanks a lot.
    The first two are correct. If something is paid back, it is paid off.
    "90% of the debts" is plural, so you use "have".

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