Thursday, December 01, 2005

Have or Have Got?

A colleague showed me a website with grammar exercises based on the difference between "have" and "have got". Apparently, the teacher who wrote the exercises, who is British, thinks that the question, "do you have?" is an Americanism that is not acceptable to speakers of British English. So when presented with a choice between (a)"Do you have a car?" and (b)"have you a got a car?" the exercise will tell that only (b) is correct. It's no surprise that students of English are always obsessed with learning grammar rules when the teachers themselves keep making life unnecessarily complicated. Both are correct. In fact, "do you have" is probably more correct than "have you got" because it follows the standard rule for asking questions - "do you want?", "does he need?", "do they go?", etc.

I used to correct students when they would say 'have you a pen?' thinking that the two options above were the only right ones. But on reflection, this form comes up all the time in Dickens, Austen, the Brontes etc, and occasionally today. So why not? It's easy to understand and doesn't break any rules, so if you feel like using it, go ahead.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hi,
could you answer this question for me?

He goes to work
or
He goes to works.

both correct or one of the sentence.

Thank you