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have got or have????

dears hi) pls advise what is the difference between HAVE GOT and HAVE. Thanks in advance)

PS. the difference in + and ?, stable expressions and etc. is clear and I mean the lexical meaning.

Aug 10, 2016 8:51 PM
Comments · 10

Some resources for anyone reading:

'How many children do you have?' / 'How many children have you got?' is the same thing. There is a slight difference in that one could say that the do you have is more formal. However, there would never be a misunderstanding.

It is possible use the reply 'normally one child a year' as a joke though this relies on a deliberate misinterpretation. A similar joke would be: Person 1: 'how long is the book?' Person 2: 'Oh, about 15cm?'.

The story about beer is hard to read and doesn't make much sense. "We do not have beer" does not equal "we do not drink any beer".

At a bar:

Customer 'A glass of vodka, please'

Barman: 'Sorry, we don't have vodka'

This just means that the bar does not have vodka. The barman could also say 'Sorry, we haven't got any vodka' and it would mean the same thing.

The problem with isolated grammatical examples is that this is not how language is used in the real world (in any language). There is always more context - verbal and non-verbal.

More verbal information can be given: 'Sorry, we don't sell vodka', 'Sorry, we don't have any vodka left', 'Sorry, we're all out of vodka'.

Non-verbal clues can be given: 'sorry, we don't have vodka' in addition to apology body language (upturned hands, slight grimace, head nod to the side) would be understand by most native speakers as the barman apologising for running out of vodka.

August 11, 2016

These are my comments on the first situation:

 "We haven't got any beer" means there is no beer in the house at the moment. "We haven't got any beer" is exactly the same as saying "We don't have any beer". Please believe me - there is NO difference in meaning at all between these two statements. 

 "We don't have beer" is a statement in the present simple, suggesting a constant situation, which can be interpreted as 'we never have beer'. This goes back to the point that Silas made above - we can only use the 'have got' form when we are referring to possession. If you are using 'have' to replace another verb, such as 'drink', you cannot use 'have got'. If a host says 'We don't have beer', we could understand this to mean 'We never drink beer (with our meals). If a restaurant says 'We don't have beer', they probably mean 'We never stock beer'.

 "We don't have any beer" / "We haven't got any beer" = There is no beer in the house at the moment

 "We don't have beer" = We never drink beer.  [Note the lack of 'any' here].

 That is the point which the writer is trying to make, albeit in a very confused fashion. However, this situation would never arise, and there would never be any confusion, let alone 'monstrous consequences.'

Why? Because 'We don't have beer' is not natural way for  a native speaker to tell you that there is no beer in the house at the moment. A native speaker would most probably use 'any' to indicate a temporary lack of beer - 'We don't have any beer'. Or else they would say 'We're right out of beer.' or 'There's no beer left'.  Additionally, the stress, intonation and manner of delivery - as well as the context  and any other non-linguistic features such as tone of voice, facial expression - would make it crystal clear what was meant.

August 11, 2016

Well said, Richard. I think that's exactly right.


The problem with isolated grammatical examples is that this is not how language is used in the real world. There is always more context - verbal and non-verbal.


The person who invented both of these situations - yes, and they are invented - is probably a non-native who understands the grammar rules but not how the language actually used. Either that, or they're a native teacher who's spent so long in the artificial environment of stilted dialogues, invented to illustrate a grammar point, that they've forgotten to take account of how language is used in the real world.


As for the second example, it's more of a joke than a genuine misunderstanding. Nobody would genuinely fail to understand what the man meant by 'How many children do you have?'.  What's more, 'How many children do you have?' is actually a more natural way to ask this question, even in British English.

If there is a difference between 'Have you got..?' and 'Do you have..?', it's one of formality. 'Have you got?' is more informal than 'Do you have..?'. So, in this context, where a man is asking a woman he doesn't know a personal question, the natural choice would be to use 'Do you..?'. This is a conversation which would never occur in the real world.




August 11, 2016

In the phrase have got, "have" is not a main verb, but an auxiliary verb. When it's an auxiliary verb, it can contract (I've) and take negatives (haven't).

The problem with "I've" is that we need a main verb, otherwise we don't hear any verb at all. So, it turns out that got is our best option.

Notice that we normally say "I've got" and not "I-have-got".  The contraction makes I've got informal (plus get is a common, everyday word), so we don't use it in formal writing or speaking.

The meaning of both I've got and I have is either possession, or obligation (if we add to). They don't have (or haven't got!) the meanings of consume ("have breakfast"), take ("have a shower"), experience ("have a good time") and so on.

August 11, 2016

No. None of that is correct. There is never any misunderstanding. Your story about the beer makes no sense, and I don't believe that the conversation between the American and the Englishwoman ever happened. It is not true that one form is British and the other is American - in fact, both 'have' and 'have got' are used on both sides of the Atlantic. 

August 10, 2016
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