Poll: A group of words that ... a meaning

A group of words that ... a meaning


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This Poll:

  • Votes: 1,127
  • Comments: 11
  • Added: September 2004


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I believe "has" is the correct and logical choice here. It is the "group" that possesses the "meaning". The noun "group" is singular, and, therefore, requires a singular verb form.

I understand that in British English collective singular nouns are treated as either singular or plural. In this way, I can understand why a BE speaker might say using "have" in this phrase is okay.

If an American English speaker were to use "have" in this phrase, I would consider it an error. I've heard this sort of error in spoken American English every so often. It's understandable how this sort of error could occur. The plural noun "words" would tend to make one go for a plural verb. However, as I've already pointed out, it is the "group" that possesses the "meaning".

Now, this question comes to mind. Are there any American English speakers that would consider both "has" and "have" to be correct here? If so, would any AE speaker that thinks "have" is correct here also say it's correct to treat "none" as a plural pronoun?

For example: None of those words have any meaning.

If one is to say that "have" is okay in this poll question, then I would have to say that "have" is okay in my example sentence.

Some American English speakers believe that "none" must be singular. I don't think that "none" must always be treated as a singular pronoun.


The verb can go either way, but it changes the interpretation:
"Happy, glad, and pleased" is a group of words that have a meaning of a positive emotion.

"Happy as a clam" is a group of words that has a meaning of "quite happy."


I will still stick to my answer has, because of the article A. A group of words that has a meaning." meaning it is singular. Then it could have been "A group of words that have meanings.


...words that HAVE a meaning. The verb refers to the plural.

Ma Kwan Chin

i want to know the answer.

f uad



It is the word "has " which suits more than "have"

Licibeth Betancourth

it refers to one group , is singular so the verbs must be in third person

Megan Murphy

I must say that is a very easy question.I am only 10.


the subject is 'a group' and a group has...


If we take into account that "a group " of...is singular we should use HAS, but considering the sentences is composed by a THAT clause, we should refere to the clause, and use "HAVE" instead, since the that clause refers to the word WORDS. WHICH is plural.

But, in informal English we would use HAS, and that would be the most typical use

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