Do you have any idea? vs Haven't you any/Have you no idea?: American vs British?


Senior Member

I have detected that Bristish and American English differ on the matter of the subject. I would like to know if the following conclusions are correct, that is, if native speakers find them correct.

An American would say: Do you have any idea where she is?
while an Englisman would say: Haven't you any idea where she is? or Have you no idea where she is?

  • sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Normandete, you are in effect asking whether the English always make their questions negative: "Haven't you any idea?", "Have you no idea?" The answer is "No". It is not at all unusual for an English person to say "Do you have any idea?" We also say "Don't you have any idea?".
    I don't see why Brits would be reluctant to say "Do you have any idea where she is?"

    Nor do I. In my AE speech I would routinely ask something like "Haven't you ever seen "Titantic?" The third construction, however, "Have you no idea where she is?" would sound story-bookish to my ear and not something I would expect to hear in speech but think maybe that might be a routine alternative in British speech, so I'm eager to hear opinions from our BE friends.


    American English
    I would not expect to hear "Haven't you any idea ..." in the U.S. except by British immigrants or tourists. What I would expect to hear from my neighbors, if they were going to use "any idea":

    Do you have any idea where she is?
    Don't you have any idea where she is?


    Senior Member
    I don't understand how this is grammatical "Have you no idea...?", I thought it'd have to be "Have(not) you got any idea" or "do you have no idea". So the thing is "to have" can make inversion without an auxiliary, I thought this wasn't correct.