There's just a problem, and I can't find a correct answer to solve it.

It conserns the so called "short answers" to general questions. The poblem may be simply ridiculous, but nevertheless... The problem is in looking for a short answer to a general question with "have + any" in American English. For example, you've got a question:

In British: Have you got any sugar?

In American: Do you have any sugar?

There's no problem to answer in British English: - Yes, I have some. or - No, I haven't got any. But how can it be done in American English?

The auxillary verb "to do" is used and must be placed in the short answer, as far as the rools demand. What shall we have in the answer?

With "do" we have:

  • Yes, I do some. But what do you do?
  • No, I don't do any. But what don't you do?

May be the correct answer in such a situation is:

  • Yes I do have some. and
  • No, don't have any? Or...

Please, help me to take in the situation.

Yours sincerely, Victor.


First, your impression:

The auxillary verb "to do" is used and must be placed in the short answer, as far as the rules demand.

I don't think you understand the definition of a "short answer". Let's look at a different question, where both British and American English have the same answers.

Did you take any candy?

Some of the possible answers are:

Yes, I took some.
Yes, I did.
No, I didn't take any.
No, I didn't.

But not

*Yes, I did some.
*Yes, I took.
*No, I didn't any.
*No, I didn't take.

The explanation is that "yes, I did some" doesn't count as a "short answer" here, while "yes, I took" counts as a "short answer", and so is ungrammatical because you didn't use the verb "do".

I am not going to explain all the grammatical rules about short answers—they're too complicated and there's probably another answer on this site which does it.

For your question, just replace the verb take with the verb have above.

Do you have any sugar?

Yes, I have some.
Yes, I do.
No, I don't have any.
No, I don't.

But not

*Yes, I do some.
*Yes, I have.
*No, I don't any.
*No, I don't have.

  • Shor I'm sorry, but I don't want you to explane me any questions with the verb "to take" or any other notinal verb. The question is simple: – Victor Jun 21 '16 at 16:16
  • 1
    @Victor: I'm trying to explain that in American English, for your specific question, have behaves like any other transitive verb. – Peter Shor Jun 21 '16 at 16:53
  • The auxiliary verb for /to have/ is do and the auxiliary verb for /to have got/ is have. Both forms mean the same thing. Neither is British or American. There must be schoolbooks teaching that "out there". I encounter this myth all the time. – Lambie Jun 22 '16 at 14:26
  • 1
    @Lambie: There is a difference. The difference between American and British speakers in this respect is that many Americans answer Yes, I do to Have you got the tickets? and Yes, I have to Have you gotten the tickets?, whereas I am told British speakers don't use gotten and answer Yes, I have to both questions. – Peter Shor Jun 22 '16 at 14:42
  • @Lambie: Another difference: British speakers sometimes ask have you any sugar? which sounds quite weird in the U.S. But you're right—some ESL classes seem to teach that there are much bigger differences. I think these are myths. – Peter Shor Jun 22 '16 at 14:43

OK, here we go: //1) Have you got a car// is semantically identical to //2) Do you have a car//. And the use of one or the other does not necessarily indicate BrE or AmE usage.

The tag answers are: 1) Yes, I have and 2) Yes, I do.

So the point to remember here is that English has two ways of expressing ownership or possession. And they are 100% semantically the same.

It should be noted, however, that in fast speech (when people speak quickly) or informal speech, one often hears in AmE: Got time? Got sugar? Got a car? That is a truncated form of /have you got/: [Have you] got milk? In colloquial speech, there is sometimes a shift of helping verb, so you get this situation:

John: Got a car?

Mary: Yeah, I do.

This shift in helping verb from what should be HAVE in response to "Have you got a/an x" is also heard in BrE.

There is no such thing as BrE HAVE and AmE DO. Americans use /have you got/ and the British use /do you have/. AmE speakers use the truncated form of /[have] you got/ a lot but also use the full-out Have you got x? There is simply no justification to call one form (have you got) British English and the other (do you have) American English.

some Question with have: Do you have some sugar? Yes, I have some. Question with have got: Have you got some sugar? Yes, I have got some. or Yes, I've got some.

Important point: Neither is British or American. Both are semantically the same and both are used in both varieties of English.

Final point: Sometimes people switch (as pointed out above) between the simple have form and the have got form. Have you got any sugar? Answer: Yes, I do have some. Do you have any sugar? Answer: Yes, I've got some.

Summary: have and have got are two semantically equivalent ways to express having something (owning or having in one's possession). Each one has an interrogative form. Sometimes, speakers will switch horses in mid-stream and answer the "Do you have some x?" with "Yes, I've got some x?" or "Have you got some x" with "Yes, I have some x." This has zero to do with British or American usage....

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