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:

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