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    #1

    Does this virus have pandemic potential? Absolutely, it has.

    What is the difference between "Absolutely, it has." and "Absolutely, it does."? Are both idiomatic in English?

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    Geneva said on 24 February that the global coronavirus outbreaks do not yet constitute a pandemic — broadly defined as the uncontained spread of an infection in multiple regions. “Does this virus have pandemic potential? Absolutely, it has. Are we there yet? From our assessment, not yet,” said WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The WHO is sending teams of experts to Italy and Iran to help to control the outbreaks there.

    From Nature magazine online
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 26-Feb-2020 at 13:02. Reason: enlarging font size

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    #2

    Re: Does this virus have pandemic potential? Absolutely, it has.

    An American native speaker would normally use does, but has is acceptable and means the same thing.
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  3. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Does this virus have pandemic potential? Absolutely, it has.

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    An American native speaker would normally use does, but has is acceptable and means the same thing.
    The same goes for BrE speakers.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #4

    Re: Does this virus have pandemic potential? Absolutely, it has.

    I consider has as simply wrong. I'm surprised that other members think it isn't. Only does is correct there.

    In verb phrase ellipsis, as we have here, the verb which remains is an auxiliary verb. The ellipted part is the verb phrase have pandemic potential. The phrase in question is a reduced form of the entire grammatical thought, as follows:

    Absolutely, it does [have pandemic potential].

    Using has would render an ungrammatical sentence, like this:

    Absolutely, it has [have pandemic potential].

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    #5

    Re: Does this virus have pandemic potential? Absolutely, it has.

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    In verb phrase ellipsis, as we have here ....
    Evidently Absolutely, it has in this context is not perceived by the speaker as verb phrase ellipsis. Can it be a simple ellipsis: Absolutely, it has [pandemic potential]? That's how I understand it.
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  6. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Does this virus have pandemic potential? Absolutely, it has.

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    Evidently Absolutely, it has in this context is not perceived by the speaker as verb phrase ellipsis.
    Note that this was uttered by a non-native speaker. I'd count it as an error.

    Can it be a simple ellipsis: Absolutely, it has [pandemic potential]? That's how I understand it.
    Well, in the mind of the speaker, yes it could, but that would be an unnatural thing to do. Like I said, we don't do this for lexical verbs—only auxiliaries. I think it's just an error.

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    #7

    Re: Does this virus have pandemic potential? Absolutely, it has.

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Note that this was uttered by a non-native speaker. I'd count it as an error.
    When I imagine someone saying it, I do tend to hear the sentence with a German (or maybe Polish) accent. In fact, now that I think about it, I wonder if my mother, who was a native Polish speaker but spoke usually flawless English, might have used this locution. That would explain both why I hear the accent and why it doesn't sound wrong to me.
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  8. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #8

    Re: Does this virus have pandemic potential? Absolutely, it has.

    I'd use does but if I heard has, it wouldn't grate.

  9. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Does this virus have pandemic potential? Absolutely, it has.

    It's possible that the speaker interpreted the question as "Has this virus got pandemic potential?" There is no difference in meaning between "Does this virus have ..." and "Has this virus got ...?" so it is possible that by the time the responder formulated their answer, they'd forgotten exactly how the start of the question went.
    "Absolutely, it has" is a perfectly acceptable response to "Has it got ...?"
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  10. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Does this virus have pandemic potential? Absolutely, it has.

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    It's possible that the speaker interpreted the question as "Has this virus got pandemic potential?"
    No, because the speaker is answering his own question.

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