Instead of saying:

  1. "It's only you who have that book, isn't it?"

can we say,

  1. "Isn't it only you who have that book?"

1 Answer 1


You could. However, both of those variants sound rather stiff and old-fashioned to my ear. Today, a more conversational wording would be "It's only you that has that book, isn't it?"

  • Thank you. However, can we use "has" as the verb? I mean, the verb doesn't agree with the subject "you", does it?
    – user97140
    Nov 9, 2014 at 5:39
  • No, in terms of formal grammar it doesn't agree. However, in an informal conversational context, the alternative wording I supplied is perfectly acceptable. I'd go so far as to say that to use have there would actually strike a false note.
    – Erik Kowal
    Nov 9, 2014 at 6:35
  • It's perfectly fine and it's formal. Have would be incorrect. This is a cleft sentence and you is not the subject; it's the predicate noun. Nov 9, 2014 at 9:15
  • 1
    I would probably say "You're the only one who has that book, aren't you?" Nov 9, 2014 at 10:48
  • We have a dedicated question for that. Any follow-up discussion not related to the question at hand should be taken there.
    – RegDwigнt
    Nov 9, 2014 at 18:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.