The following sentence:

My ability in editing text and researching [has or have] been developed during my time at the University.

Another construction I can think of is:

My abilities in editing text and researching have been developed during my time at the University.

However the latter seems unnatural to me.

  • 1
    Can you please give the complete sentence?
    – ahorn
    May 1, 2016 at 21:46

1 Answer 1


'Has' is the singular auxillary verb, whereas 'have' is the plural auxillary verb. Thus, when the subject that is being referred to is singular, use 'has,' and when the subject is plural, use 'have.'

"My ability" is singular. Thus, the correct word to use is 'has.'

On the contrary, "my abilities" is plural, so "have been" is correct for the latter sentence.

  • Thanks for that ahorn. Since the ability there refers to two different abilities - (1) editing texts and (2) researching - is it correct to use 'ability' as opposed to 'abilities'?
    – Pontanius
    May 1, 2016 at 22:36
  • Yes. Sorry I didn't see that. I think you should use 'abilities' because the two activities are quite different.
    – ahorn
    May 1, 2016 at 22:39
  • Or you may consider that "editing texts and researching" is a single combined ability. It depends on the meaning of "researching" in the context.
    – Graffito
    May 2, 2016 at 0:41
  • Thanks Graffito. But if they actually refer to two different abilities - Would you agree with the above?
    – Pontanius
    May 2, 2016 at 2:43
  • @Pontanus - Yes, In this case "abilities have" is fine.
    – Graffito
    May 2, 2016 at 9:46

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