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I heard this phrase

We're all each other has.

in Family Guy and a quick googling shows about a hundred thousand occurrences. It sounds really strange to me. I would say

We are all we have.

Now that I think of it, "We are all we have" technically means "We have us" rather than "We have each other", although I suppose context could render the two meanings equivalent.

In "We're all each other has", however, it is emphasized that "We have each other". Here each other is used as the subject rather than the object (of the subordinate clause), which seems illogical. Is this usage acceptable in standard English? If not, is it uncommon? I mean, does it hit the ear wrong for native speakers? Should I avoid using it even in informal speech?

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It sounds fine to me. "Each" takes the singular, even when it is in the phrase "each other". –  Peter Shor Nov 21 '12 at 15:27
    
@PeterShor: Yes, it does, but my question isn't about the numeric agreement, it is about using each other as a subject. –  Armen Ծիրունյան Nov 21 '12 at 15:29
    
Thanks for clarifying the question. As the subject of a subordinate clause, it still sounds fine to me. It usually wouldn't as the subject of a main clause, though. –  Peter Shor Nov 21 '12 at 15:31
    
@PeterShor: Thanks, Peter. Does "sounds fine to me" imply that "it is acceptable in Standard English"? Would you use this kind of structure in a business letter, for example? –  Armen Ծիրունյան Nov 21 '12 at 15:36
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Family Guy scripts often "play" with language, but I think with the kind of budget they have, it's unlikely anything "accidental" would slip through unnoticed. In this case I agree "We're all each other has" does sound slightly "strange", but I can't see there's any grammatical principle which would disallow it whilst accepting "We have each other". –  FumbleFingers Nov 21 '12 at 16:57
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4 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

This fascinating sentence is impossible to parse strictly, because the phrase each other has become, in our linguistic consciousness, divorced from the original structure which generated it.

1) That underlying structure is something like:

Each of us has the other(s). (the plural being employed when there are more than two of us)

2) This becomes

We have, each the other(s).

3) This is generalized as

We have each other.

4) So far, so good. What happens next is that each other becomes apprehended as a fixed noun phrase, still signifying the reciprocal relationship but no longer constrained to a strict syntactical coherence. (I make no claim that what follows represents an actual historical development — just a sort of underlying logic.)

What we have is each other. or All we have is each other.
Each other is all we have. or Each other is all we have.

5) This now runs up against a semantically equivalent construction:

We are all we have.

6) But since in 4) all we have is each other, the penultimate stage is to substitute each other for we as a sort of reciprocal pronoun

We're all each other have.

7) And the final stage is to replace have, reflecting what our high-school teachers drummed into us — that each takes has.

We're all each other has.

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Good analyses. The teachers you mention probably haven't contributed to the 321 000 hits on Google at my space-time coordinates for "we each have". –  Edwin Ashworth Nov 21 '12 at 23:54
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@EdwinAshworth Some of us fail high school, others of us transcend it. –  StoneyB Nov 24 '12 at 21:45
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We are all we have. All we have is each other. We have nothing save each other.

"We're all each other has" is just a lazy way of saying something incorrectly and still getting your meaning across. Happening more and more as people not only care less and less, but even NOTICE less and less when there is incorrect grammar, etc. in mass media. Oh well! :)

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For example: suppose

I am all she has, and she is all I have.

To summarize, I might say

We are all each other has.

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"We" is plural, hence "We are..." All is singular, isn't it? Hence, "all has." We are all, and then all has.

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This is wrong. All is not the subject of the verb has; it is the object. That's like saying "We has a car" is correct, because car is third-person singular. –  RegDwigнt Nov 22 '12 at 10:02
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