The difference between do you have, have, have you got

I came across this blog post a few days ago.

Dipping into the email bag, we have a months-old note from Andy:

I was wondering whether you’ve done anything on your language blog regarding the uses of the phrases “have you got”, “do you have” and “have you”. I get the impression that “do you have” is the preferred form in America, whilst “have you got” is more usual in Britain. “Have you” is maybe considered rather old-fashioned in the UK these days; I’m not sure about its status in the US however.

Andy, you are a talented observer of language. While we’ve covered a similar topic before (I haven’t/I don’t have/I haven’t got–see the comments too), I’m particularly inspired to do this one today as I’ve just been reading a paper by Peter Trudgill that cites these constructions as providing evidence that BrE is being influenced by AmE–before concluding based on a broader range of evidence that “there is no conclusive evidence one way or the other for convergence/homogenisation or divergence/disintegration at the level of grammar.”

To grammatically achieve a yes/no question in English, the question has to start with a verb. Not any verb, but an auxiliary verb (or ‘helping verb’). (Verbs that aren’t auxiliary verbs are called lexical verbs.) If you have an auxiliary-less sentence, then you usually have to add an auxiliary to fill that beginning-of-question slot. So, if you want to ask if someone wants a pineapple, you have to add the meaningless (in this case) auxiliary do just to fill out the question structure and make it grammatical: Do you want a pineapple? rather than Want you a pineapple? But have can be either a lexical verb (as in I have a pineapple) or an auxiliary verb (as in I have found a pineapple, where found is the lexical verb and have is there as an auxiliary to carry the tense). Verbs that don’t need do-support for question formation and negation are sometimes called operators.

So, let’s assume that one needs a pineapple (as I do now that I’ve thought of pineapples). So you stand on the street corner and ask passing strangers for a pineapple (as I’m about to do).

Read the rest of the post at the source:

http://separatedbyacommonlanguage.blogspot.com/2011/05/do-you-havehave-youhave-you-got.html

Make sure you read more on this blog if you find this interesting, and also follow the author on twitter. It’s fun and insightful if you like reading about language!

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