Found a similar question here, but with some minor differences. Is it archaic to use have you in sentences such as this:

John : I think we can see it with a specially crafted telescope.
Mary : Have you such a telescope?

instead of

Mary : Do you have such a telescope?

Is it still used in official and casual conversations?

  • 3
    It's not really done in AmE, except when one wants to elevate the register (i.e. sound arch). I think it's still pretty common in BrE. – Dan Bron Jun 1 '15 at 16:13
  • 2
    @Dan: It's not particularly common in BrE these days either (definitely not with younger speakers, or in casual spoken contexts). I'd have though outside of very formal contexts, Have you got X? would be the most common form on both sids of the pond. – FumbleFingers Jun 1 '15 at 16:35
  • @FumbleFingers Both of 'Have you an X?' and 'Have you got an X?' are unheard of in AmE at any register. The only instance, which allows AmE speakers to recognize it, is in the song Mary had a Little Lamb': "Have you any wool?" – Mitch Jun 1 '15 at 16:51
  • 2
    @Mitch: Comparing US/UK corpora for have you got in NGrams, I think maybe "unheard of in AmE" might be putting it a bit strong. But it does seem to be somewhat more common in BrE, and it's interesting to see that AmE shows a significant decline in this usage over the past half-century, which isn't reflected in the BrE chart. – FumbleFingers Jun 1 '15 at 16:57
  • 1
    In AmE, Have you got an X? is viewed as informal and is more likely to be heard in speech than seen in writing. But I think it's still quite common in speech. – Peter Shor Oct 13 '18 at 15:45

In American English, you almost never hear the more archaic form, "Have you such a telescope?"

It's not improper, just dated. I don't think anyone would be confused by it, but possibly taken aback by the anachronistic usage.

  • Except (of course) in: "Have you the wing (ring)?" – Oldbag Jun 1 '15 at 17:28
  • 2
    +1. With the exception of Baa baa black sheep, have at the head of a question in AmE is usually auxiliary "have" not lexical "have". – TRomano Jun 1 '15 at 18:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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