English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

As an American in Europe I often get questions about the British "have got" which is hard for me to answer since I have little feeling for what is correct. E.g. someone today asked me:

If someone asks me, "Have you got a pencil" and I say, "Yes, I've got." Is this incorrect?

I told him, "Yes, that is incorrect, you should either say, 'Yes, I have' or 'Yes, I've got a pencil."

I know, as an American speaker, I would answer, "Yes, I do" but in a British context, is my answer above correct?

share|improve this question
This would be the violation of verb valency en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valency_%28linguistics%29 – Unreason Oct 25 '11 at 9:33
There are lots of grammatically and colloquially valid responses, but I'd guess the most likely response is a mumble along the lines of "sure" followed by some rummaging through a bag. – kojiro Oct 25 '11 at 12:28

No native speaker of BrE would normally say Yes, I’ve got in that context. The reply might, as you say, be Yes, I have or Yes, I’ve got a pencil depending on the circumstances. A further possibility, in BrE as well is in AmE, is certainly Yes, I do.

share|improve this answer
Also "Yes I've got one", "Yes", "Sure", or simply handing over a pencil. :-) – ShreevatsaR Oct 25 '11 at 9:41
Isn't "Yes, I do" the reply to "Do you have a pencil"? It sounds a bit strange to me here. – TimLymington Oct 25 '11 at 9:46
I agree. It depends, as always, on the circumstances, and on the relationship between the speakers. – Barrie England Oct 25 '11 at 9:47
@ Tim: I think various combinations might be found, depending on . . . – Barrie England Oct 25 '11 at 10:00
In American English, I think some speakers reserve "Yes, I have" for the use of "have" as an auxiliary verb signifying completed action. ("Have you gotten a birthday present for Mom yet?" "Yes I have.") This is why "Yes, I do" is a natural response to the construction "Have you got ... ?" in the sense of possession. – Peter Shor Oct 25 '11 at 16:57

In my opinion, if we use "Have" as an auxiliary verb in the question, in the answer we should use it.

E.g. : Have you got a pencil ? Yes, I have.

We should not use auxiliary verb "do" in the answer for this case. On the contrary, if we use : Do you have a pencil ?

Then its answer will be : Yes, I do.

(MTesol Phan phi Phong3p)

share|improve this answer
This doesn't appear to be the way American English works. – Andrew Leach Sep 14 '14 at 18:38

protected by tchrist Sep 14 '14 at 16:20

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.