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In British English negative questions with the verb have (when it's a lexical verb and not an auxiliary) can be formed in two ways. Is there any difference between them?

Type 1

  • Haven't I got your number?
  • Haven't you got her number?
  • Hasn't he got your number?
  • Haven't we got her number?
  • Haven't they got our number?

Type 2

  • Don't I have your number?
  • Don't you have her number?
  • Doesn't he have your number?
  • Don't we have her number?
  • Don't they have our number?
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3  
You can do the same thing in American English. My impression is that Type 1 is slightly preferred in British English and type 2 in American English. –  Peter Shor Nov 15 '11 at 12:01
5  
I think there is a general sense of unease with the word "got" instilled by grammar police when we are young, @PeterShor. –  JeffSahol Nov 15 '11 at 12:35
1  
You are both right, although I'd say Type 1 was rather more than 'slightly' preferred in BrEng. –  Barrie England Nov 15 '11 at 17:47
    
Of course there's always a third option (well strictly speaking a reordering of the first): Have I not got your number? / Have you not got her number? –  sjwarner Nov 15 '11 at 22:03

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

At school in the UK in the 70's and 80's, we were always taught that "get" and "got" were very lazy and ugly-sounding verbs to use, and that there was nearly always a better alternative. So people of my generation would probably tend to prefer the "Don't I have" variations, at least in formal speech, even though they're all grammatically correct.

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I'm not really sure, but I suppose that the first form is preferred when you have the number as a result of some kind of recent action, and the second may mean that you have it for a long time already. In US, as far as I know, the meaning of the first form is usually virtually the same as of the second one.

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