Is using the phrase "Would you have interest?" grammatically incorrect? I also include in the subject line the name of the company, the job title, and location right after the question (see example below).

My boss told me it is grammatically incorrect? I am a native English speaker with advanced English skills. The emails have already gone out, so I'm not looking for an alternative phrase. I believe this to be a grammatically sound question for an email subject line because it has a subject and a verb and the details follow the question. My boss said that "it's bad grammar" and that I should have written no question at all and give a long string of information in my email. I believe she also instructed me that saying "Would you have an interest" would have been better. Below is the example subject line with slight modifications for simplicity and to leave my employer's name out.

My subject line: Would you have interest? AAA Company Technical Writer Opportunity in San Diego, California

Sometimes I alternated with the question, "Are you interested?" Are you interested? AAA Company Software Engineer Opportunity in San Diego, California

Boss's suggested subject line: CompanyName / Job Opportunity Title / Division/ Division Location / Reference to Travel

I believe my version (just the question) was grammatically correct (for a subject line), but I could have chosen better words. I wanted to start my subject line off with a question because people feel inclined to answer questions.

I don't want a suggestion of a new sentence as I will construct it the way my boss wants. The boring answer will be exciting to me.

References: this site, Google, Grammarly. I couldn't find information to the contrary, but couldn't really find any information to support my stance either. This is why I decided to sign up to this forum and ask my very first question. I also skimmed the FAQs and read similar questions, not finding the answer. If this is still off topic, please let me know what would be on topic for this forum.

  • I don't understand how this question would be off-topic. The text is clearly identified and I am asking if it is grammatically correct.
    – Amber
    Nov 21, 2017 at 19:39
  • 3
    I am persuaded that this question is a request for explanation of a relevant rule of grammar or usage (if any exists)—and not a request for simple proofreading. Moreover, the poster has outlined her research efforts, which, though unsuccessful, show legitimate effort on her part. Consequently, I am voting to reopen the question.
    – Sven Yargs
    Nov 22, 2017 at 4:54
  • This question has been asked elsewhere online at forum.wordreference.com/threads/… and usingenglish.com/forum/threads/… and italki.com/question/310249 You can read those pages @Amber -- I found that many people online agree with Jack Woods here that have an interest is the 'more natural' way to phrase the expression, if not in itself a strict grammatical requirement. Nov 22, 2017 at 9:50
  • @Amber I also particularly appreciate your willingness and effort to improve this question substantially based on community expectations, which convinced the members very much and succeeded in getting it reopened. Nov 22, 2017 at 12:28
  • Thank you. I went to look at the reference brought up by the English Student, but I don't feel those discussions relate other than using the word "interest" and they provide no evidence to support their position. They quoted no style books, but indicated they "didn't think." It's difficult to accept someone speaking from authority with no references. I see plenty of people using the words "would you have interest in going to play golf today?" Is an article always necessary if the sentence is clear without one?
    – Amber
    Nov 22, 2017 at 13:31

1 Answer 1


It looks grammatically correct, but it doesn't sound right because people don't use it. "Would you be interested?" is the more common way. In fact, I've only heard non-native English speakers use "Would you have interest."

When I taught EFL years ago, I would often revert back to the "it doesn't sound right excuse" and when pressed more, I would delve into a boring grammar reason.

Delving a little deeper, interest, when used in the active voice, requires an object. It also requires an article in front of interest.

For example: Would you have an interest in this job?

Again, it still doesn't sound right. Would you be interested in this job? still sounds more common.

  • Thank you. It sounds like it is grammatically correct, but could be confusing for the reader. I wanted the boring grammar reason. However, I will modify my writing to sound less foreign. Thank you for the answer.
    – Amber
    Nov 21, 2017 at 19:34
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    Do you have a source for "Delving a little deeper, interest, when used in the active voice, requires an object. It also requires an article in front of interest."
    – Amber
    Nov 22, 2017 at 4:31
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    To have "an interest" in something is more usually used in the sense of "a vested interest", i.e. to be a stakeholder and own part of the something either financially or metaphorically. So "I have an interest in three coffee shops" means I'm a part owner of three coffee shops, and "I have an interest in the playpark by the lake" means I have kids who would use the playpark. "An interest in this job", as you say, sounds "wrong".
    – AndyT
    Nov 23, 2017 at 10:41
  • It doesn't sound wrong to me - I've heard the phrase before in different contexts. Usually I would expect to hear that phrase in relation to an offer of some physical thing: "Would you have interest in this last piece of cake?" (Particularly if there are other potential stakeholders as well - e.g. others who want that last slice of cake, or, possibly, a highly contested job opening). Regarding a common activity I'd probably prefer "Would you be interested?". I'd be more taken aback by the vagueness in such an email subject (which may be flagged as spam), though, rather than its phrasing. Nov 28, 2017 at 23:00
  • The statement wasn't by itself. The subject line included the name of the company (a large one), the job title, and the location. The details followed the question.
    – Amber
    Nov 30, 2017 at 1:06

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