Each of the students has done well in the examination, hasn't he? Is this correct question tag or it should be "haven't they"?

  • 2
    It's a lot easier to arrive at consistency if you say "All of the students ..."
    – Hot Licks
    Aug 22, 2019 at 1:45

3 Answers 3


If the students are from an all-boys school (a single-sex school), then the solution suggested below is acceptable.

Each boy (student) has done well in the examination, hasn't he?

From a grammatical point of view, the purist might suggest the following, but it would sound awkward.

Each one of the students has done well in the exams, hasn't he or she?

If the school is mixed-gender and we want to avoid writing each male and female student, then I would suggest keeping the verb plural even though some purists might snort hootily.

Each one of the students have done well in the exams, haven't they?

  • @Marie-LoU A I have voted up your answer.I am happy to inform you that I have got 300 bonus points today. Thank you for all your help Aug 22, 2019 at 10:36
  • @JagathaVLNarasimharao Thank you.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 22, 2019 at 11:05
  • 1
    I'm pretty sure that as a subject, each one can only ever govern a singular verb, never ever a plural one. But even I fret a bit over Each one has done their best, haven't they? let alone Each one has done one's best, hasn't one? so it's hard to be too stern about your choices. Well, except for hasn't he or she. That's just too awful to countenance.
    – tchrist
    Aug 22, 2019 at 23:50

From English Grammar Today (Cambridge Dictionary)

When we use each of with a plural noun as subject, it’s normally followed by a singular verb:

Each of the buildings is surrounded by high metal fencing.

Each of the horses has won major international races.

For emphasis, we use each one of with determiners and pronouns. When the phrase each one of is the subject, the verb is singular:

Each one of the passport control desks now has a camera as well as a computer.


Each + pronouns and possessives

We use each with plural pronouns and possessives, especially when we don’t want to say he/she, women/men, etc.:

Each person who joins the gym gets a free bag and they get a pass to bring a friend for a free visit.  (Each person and they avoids saying each man and woman and he, she.)

Each member of the community should take pride in their local environment.

So, even though each of refers to a singular subject and takes a singular verb, we can take the "singular they" in tag questions to avoid the scene of a gender discrimination, as in:

Each one of the students has done well in the exams, haven't they?

  • The problem arises with the verb have, which you avoid mentioning, because it is used twice in the same sentence. In your answer, the solution seems to suggest using the singular verb. “Each one of the students has done well, hasn't they?” Is that correct? What would you recommend?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 22, 2019 at 11:26
  • @Mari-LouA My answer meets such a situation and solves it. "Each person who joins the gym gets a free bag and they get a pass to bring a friend for a free visit. Likewise, "Each one of the students has done well in the exams, haven't they?" Aug 22, 2019 at 11:38
  • Then you should write that in the answer, implying something is not the same as actually stating it.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 22, 2019 at 11:40
  • 1
    @Mari-LouA Okay, I've added it. Aug 22, 2019 at 11:46
  • Upvoted, above all for the reference!
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 22, 2019 at 11:49

I have referred to the Word Master which treated "each of the girls " as singular and the example given is " each of the girls was given a prize" Then I referred to Oxford's Advanced Dictionary which says " each means one or more than two treated separately.The example given is "each of them went to the park" which does not indicate whether the subject is singular or plural

I have referred to Michael Swan's Practical English Usage which says that "which" is normally treated as singular which implies that each may some times be treated as plural as Mr Hot licks pointed out

So far as my knowledge goes each of the students has done well in the exam , hasn't he? is more puristic than
each of the students have done well in the exam' haven't they? I do not know whether native speakers treat each of the students as singular or plural

Besides, students is neutar gender so things have been comlicated.so I think it depends on the situation .If the students are all girls, the equestion tag may be hasn,t she? if they are boys it is hasn't he? is normal but If the group is mixed I think haven't they? is natural despite the grammatical rules

  • I would use “singular they” to arrive at “haven’t they” because “hasn’t he” doesn’t work so well for girls.
    – Jim
    Aug 22, 2019 at 4:48
  • @Jim you are right itwas published while I was typing please read my answer now Aug 22, 2019 at 5:06
  • The answer could be improved if you added links to the sources you cited, see mahmud koya's answer. Not only did they cite their source correctly by adding block quotes (>) they also added and embedded a link to support their answer.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 23, 2019 at 6:46
  • To separate a quote from the text, start a new line and add the > symbol immediately before the first word, do not leave a space e.g. >each of them went to the park
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 23, 2019 at 6:49
  • @Mari-LouA I find it difficult to do all these using my smart phone Aug 23, 2019 at 6:49

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