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?

  • 1
    This would be the violation of verb valency en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valency_%28linguistics%29
    – Unreason
    Oct 25, 2011 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, 2011 at 12:28

2 Answers 2


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.

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    Also "Yes I've got one", "Yes", "Sure", or simply handing over a pencil. :-) Oct 25, 2011 at 9:41
  • Isn't "Yes, I do" the reply to "Do you have a pencil"? It sounds a bit strange to me here. Oct 25, 2011 at 9:46
  • I agree. It depends, as always, on the circumstances, and on the relationship between the speakers. Oct 25, 2011 at 9:47
  • @ Tim: I think various combinations might be found, depending on . . . Oct 25, 2011 at 10:00
  • 2
    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. Oct 25, 2011 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)

  • This doesn't appear to be the way American English works.
    – Andrew Leach
    Sep 14, 2014 at 18:38

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