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  1. #1
    Hucky is offline Member
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    Default Have you a clue? (Have you got.../Do you...?)

    Hi,

    This is a query to the British native speakers (thatīs why it is a query!). Well, it is all about this: An English coursebook - to name just one example - edited by Longman in cooperation with the BBC in 1977 (not too long ago!) introduces the usage of the main verb to have in its possessive meaning as follows:
    positive: I have a brother.
    negative: I havenīt a brother.
    question: Have you a brother?

    Here the negative and the question are formed without both to do and got. I encountered this usage even in a TV course no more than some 10 years ago. I could easily cite a lot of literature (usage dictionaries) on the subject from the 1960s in favour of the same structure. What I`d like to know is the present state of affairs. In other terms, are these forms of asking questions and making negative statements still common on the British Isles (I reckon they are as I witnessed them from time to time), or rather to what extent and in what register (colloquial/formal), among what kind of speakers. What is this usage regarded in stylistic terms (lowbrow)?

    Thanks in advance and greetings from the Continent!

    Hucky

  2. #2
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    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Have you a clue? (Have you got.../Do you...?)

    This is how I see it for BrE. This is only my opinion - I haven't done a corpus search.

    positive: I have a brother. Moderately conservative
    ............I've got a brother. Fairly common.
    negative: I havenīt a brother. Rare.
    .............I have no brother. Moderately conservative.
    .............I haven't got a brother. Fairly common.
    .............I don't have a brother. Becoming more common
    question: Have you a brother? Conservative. Becoming uncommon.
    .............Have you got a brother? Fairly common.
    .............Do you have a brother? Becoming more common.
    Last edited by 5jj; 27-Feb-2011 at 08:38. Reason: Revision

  3. #3
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Have you a clue? (Have you got.../Do you...?)

    Dialects which retain "have you a...?" are sometimes called Baa Baa Black Sheep dialects.

  4. #4
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Have you a clue? (Have you got.../Do you...?)

    I don't hear 'Have you a...?' used much in the UK nowadays- people do use the form, and I do know some older speakers who don't like the alternatives much, but I'd say it's in decline.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Have you a clue? (Have you got.../Do you...?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    I don't hear 'Have you a...?' used much in the UK nowadays- people do use the form, and I do know some older speakers who don't like the alternatives much, but I'd say it's in decline.
    You are right. I have changed my 'moderately conservative'.

  6. #6
    Hucky is offline Member
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    Default Re: Have you a clue? (Have you got.../Do you...?)

    Dear Tdol and fivejedjon,

    Do you mean to say that older speakers stick to the form have you...? Can you assume any motives for doing so? Is it mere conservatism because it is the form they were once used to, they grew up with, or does it also imply an aversion to Americanisms. Is it kind of insistence on the real British thing? Is it spoken by just elderly individuals, or also by certain social groups or in certain regions? Is it going to die out in the foreseeable future?

    Hucky

  7. #7
    Hucky is offline Member
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    Default Re: Have you a clue? (Have you got.../Do you...?)

    Dear birdeenīs call,

    Thank you so much for this reference! And of course best thanks also for your former replies!

    Greetings Hucky

  8. #8
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Have you a clue? (Have you got.../Do you...?)

    I can speak only from my own experience.

    When I was at school (1951-64), have you? was considered to be the only correct form. Do you have? was a vulgar Americanism, and have you got? was 'common' and uneducated. I don't know how true this was for most speakers outside the classroom, but it was cetainly true of speakers on the BBC.

    At some time during the next 30 or so years, have you got became more acceptable, in speech at least, and began to appear in ELT coursebooks. I think it is now very common indeed, though still avoided in careful writing. There are some in my generation who still use have you? in speech but not many, I suspect; I don't normally use it in informal conversation. Many of us still use it in writing; conservatism I suppose. Those of us who do tend (I think) to be either those who went through university education (only about 5 or 6% of the population in those days) and/or those in what used to be called the upper-middle and upper classes.

    Do you have? is now acceptable when what we have is an activity or experience (having a meal, a bath, a bad time) but still not common with with the broad idea of 'possession'.

    I stress that these are my own thoughts, not based on any serious study.

    ps. I am talking about the full verb, not the auxiliary.

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