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  1. He has yet to receive an appointment.
  2. He is yet to receive an appointment.

Is there any difference in meaning? Is one more correct than the other?

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You want has yet to receive because it means "has not received up to this point." Is yet to receive does not make sense. –  JLG Sep 22 '12 at 20:19
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In written English, both are recorded and, I believe, both are acceptable. Note that "He is to receive X" is an acceptable idiom which must be taken into account. Ngrams suggest that up until the middle of the 19th Century cnstructions with "is" predominated, particularly in passive contexts ("is yet to be given"). Constructions with "has" moved ahead between about 1840 and 1920, with the change coming somewhat later in AmE and passive constructions than in BrE and Active constructions. "Has" surged across the board about 1960. –  StoneyB Sep 22 '12 at 20:33
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@JLG: I use "I am yet to [verb]" all the time. I certainly didn't invent it, and I remember getting called out on it exactly once, by Robusto in our chat (and even he agreed that it was grammatical, just not common). I submit that this construction is venerable, whether or not it is part of your idiolect, or indeed popular in the least. COCA has three cites for "am yet to [v]", four cites for "he is yet to [v]", and likely more if we dig deeper. Which we should. Or, as Shakespeare put it, "Sir, the event / is yet to name the winner". –  RegDwigнt Sep 23 '12 at 0:06
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FWIW, as a native speaker of British English for many years, I see nothing at all odd about a construction such as He is yet to receive. –  Barrie England Sep 23 '12 at 6:22
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@JLG: Why would you say is yet doesn't make sense? Looks like Abraham Lincoln was not a native speaker:) "The hour is yet to come, yes nigh at hand" –  Noah Sep 23 '12 at 6:36

4 Answers 4

The string has yet to is 7 to 8 times more frequent than is yet to in both the Corpus of Contemporary American English and the British National Corpus. The preference is clear, but both are grammatical and there is no difference in meaning.

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"He has yet to receive an appointment" states that the person being referred to has not, at this point in time, "received an appointment", but is expected to.

"He is yet to receive an appointment" does not, at least to me, make grammatical sense. It would possibly make more grammatical sense to say "He is yet to be a person who has received an appointment", although Googling the phrase "he is yet" with quotes yields very little evidence (besides a bible verse) that the phrase is used regularly.

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As StoneyB noted in his comment, this answer is simply based on what sounds right to me, rather than what may make any grammatical or syntactic sense.

When referring to something that will happen, but has not happened yet, I would use the phrase "has yet". This is your first example, and it implies that you are waiting for such a thing to happen.

That is not to say that the second example isn't used, but simply would be in a different context. Let us use the example sentence, "He is to disable the alarm." This sentence would most likely be used in a context of some sort of briefing, describing planned events in the future. (Also, note that this does not make use of the word "yet". This sounds wrong to me and I expect it may not be grammatical.)

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'He is to disable the alarm' is an active construction, not a passive one. –  Barrie England Sep 24 '12 at 20:48
    
@BarrieEngland Oh, of course it is! I wasn't thinking when I posted this, apparently. –  timothymh Sep 25 '12 at 0:24

"He has yet to receive an appointment" seems to me that the person referred to is expecting an appointment to come his way; whereas "He is yet to receive an appointment" appears that the person referred to has received one or several appointments, but has not indicated the one he will select.

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This answer can be improved by citing a reputable reference which upholds your claim. As it stands, your answer could be taken as a pure statement of opinion and is liable to be downvoted or deleted. –  MετάEd Sep 26 '12 at 4:10

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