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    #1

    Do you have + article + singular or Do you have + any + singular?

    Which of these sentences is better when we want to ask a person if they have some pets at home?

    1) Do you have any pet?

    2) Do you have a pet?


    I know it would be a lot easier to solve this by simply asking:

    Do you have any pets?


    ....but still, if we were pressed to choose either 1) or 2), which seems more likely to be chosen and is correct?
    (Personally, I favour the latter.)

    Thank you in advance

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Do you have + article + singular or Do you have + any + singular?

    I'm sorry, but I don't want to answer this question. Why would you ever be pressed to choose from two unnatural questions, when there is a perfectly natural alternative.

    Don't fill your brain learning which is the "less bad" of two bad choices. Learn the natural construction -- which you have clearly already done -- and move on.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  2. Chicken Sandwich's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Do you have + article + singular or Do you have + any + singular?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    Why would you ever be pressed to choose from two unnatural questions, when there is a perfectly natural alternative.
    NOT A TEACHER

    Barb_D, what is wrong with 'Do you have a pet?' Isn't it OK in the right context? I did a search in Google Books, and it appears to be common enough.

    My understanding is that the person who asks this question assumes that the other person has only one pet. If you don't know how many pets the other person has, then 'Do you have any pets?' is what you should say. (See this questionnaire. "Do you have a pet (or pets)?)
    Last edited by Chicken Sandwich; 16-Oct-2012 at 22:05. Reason: error

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    #4

    Re: Do you have + article + singular or Do you have + any + singular?

    Barb_D, what is wrong with 'Do you have a pet?' Isn't it OK in the right context?

    There is nothing grammatically wrong with it, but why would you assume in asking that a person has one and only one pet?


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    #5

    Re: Do you have + article + singular or Do you have + any + singular?

    Thank you all. Actually, it wasn't my idea to choose between the two, but my teacher's.

    All I wanted know was if one (or possibly both) was correct.

    Thank you for your answers.

  3. Chicken Sandwich's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Do you have + article + singular or Do you have + any + singular?

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post


    There is nothing grammatically wrong with it, but why would you assume in asking that a person has one and only one pet?

    I agree, I can't think of a good context, but I do see this question in questionnaires, and I have found a few citations in novels.

    Then I remembered some advice I'd heard Nona give to one of her clients. When in doubt about what to say, ask your date about himself.
    "So Josh," I said, "tell me about yourself."
    "What?"
    "Anything." I shrugged. "Like do you have a pet?"

    "A dog named Reginald."
    (Don't Die, Dragonfly, see here.)

    Do you have a pet now? What kind of pet is it? What's your pet's name? What do you like most about your pet?

    (Remember Who You Are: Unleashing the Power of an Identity-Driven Life, see here)

    "Do you have a pet?" I asked one youngster.
    "A dog."
    "Does he have a pedigree?"
    "Sure, lots of them."

    (Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul, see here)

    I don't know why they say "a pet". I can't make sense of it either. Perhaps the novelist is cheating. He or she knows how the other person is going to respond.
    Last edited by Chicken Sandwich; 17-Oct-2012 at 01:31. Reason: typo

  4. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Do you have + article + singular or Do you have + any + singular?

    In BrE, I think you'll hear "Do you have a pet?" and "Do you have any pets?" in equal amounts. I don't necessarily think that the first has to suggest that the person only has one pet.

    I agree, however, that we normally ask "Do you have a XXX?" about things that most people only own one of, so:

    - Do you own a house?
    - Do you have a car?
    - Do you have a vacuum cleaner?

    The likely answer to those questions is "Yes ... one".

    With items that people own more than one of, we would use "Do you have any XXXXs?"

    - Do you have any photographs?
    - Do you have any pillows in your bedroom?
    - Do you have any biscuits?
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

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    #8

    Re: Do you have + article + singular or Do you have + any + singular?

    Of the two choices that are you are "forced" to make, the one we all agree on is "do you have a pet" -- which I continue to find as unnatural as "Do you have a child?" in most situations.

    I find "Have you read a good book lately" or "Have you seen a good movie lately" odd.
    I find "Do you have an idea" or "Do you have a suggestion" far less likely than their plural counterparts as well, even though even one good idea or one good suggestion is all that is needed.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #9

    Re: Do you have + article + singular or Do you have + any + singular?

    I wonder if people in the UK tend to have only one pet. I know lots of people in the US who own pets own multiples. We have 3 cats and a dog.

  6. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Do you have + article + singular or Do you have + any + singular?

    My feline population would qualify me for "crazy cat lady starter kit."
    At one time, having been sold 2 "male" hamsters where there was clearly a mix-up at the factory, I had 13 hamsters living in my house. By the way, I now know how to tell the sex of baby hamsters. Who knew that would ever be a useful skill?
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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