hasn't got / doesn't have / hasn't

anisahara

Member
Spain, Spanish
Hi everyone!

My question is: are all three correct? I mean can you say

He hasn't got an apple.
He doesn't have an apple.
He hasn't an apple.

I think "hasn't got" is more American and "doesn't have" more British, but what about just "hasn't"?

I always thought this was incorrect; I thought you could use the contracted form of 'have' only when it was the auxiliary verb, not the main verb...

Could someone make this clear for me? Thank you!
 
  • greenheyes

    Senior Member
    British English (Cheshire)
    He hasn´t got an apple / He doesn´t have an apple... both are correct. The first version is more BRITISH and the second AMERICAN. He hasn´t an apple.. is understandable, but very unnatural. HASN´T GOT /DOESN´T HAVE are interchangeable if the verb refers to possession, but not in expressions like TO HAVE DINNER, TO HAVE A SHOWER/ A SHAVE /A BATH .The negative form here must be "We don´t have dinner until eight". " He doesn´t have a shave every day". Does that make things clearer? Un saludo.
     

    the MASTER

    Senior Member
    English - British
    As a British person 'have got' is the most natural spoken form for me; 'have' being the more formal, stressed or written version.

    I am interested, though, in American usage. How common is 'have got'? Is its use geographical or based on social or racial lines?
    I've noticed its use in some popular songs; "I got chills, they're multiplying" from Grease; "U got the look" by Prince.
    Are these examples shortened versions of 'have got'?
     

    kw10

    Senior Member
    English (USA)
    In American English, it definitely sounds more natural to say "doesn't have" not "hasn't got." But theMaster is correct that we use a lot of abbreviations of "have got," like in the examples he gave. For example, to me it sounds perfectly normal to say "I've got a lot of homework this weekend" or "I have a lot of homework" but NOT "I have got a lot of homework." In the negative, we don't use the "have got" formation - I would say "I don't have much homework this weekend," not "I haven't got much homework."

    In terms of the specific examples mentioned by theMaster ("I got chills" and "U got the look")... using "got" in that sense is technically incorrect, so you tend to hear it more in slang or very informal situations. Saying "I got..." instead of "I've got" or "I have" is also stereotypically associated with people who are uneducated and/or from lower economic backgrounds.

    Hope this helps! It's an interesting topic.... I just started teaching English in Spain and was surprised to find that the kids here are taught to use "have got" - for example, "I have got 2 sisters." I'm supposed to help them practice what they learn in school, but of course to me that sentence sounds really wrong!
     

    anisahara

    Member
    Spain, Spanish
    Thank you all for your answers. They've helped a little. However, I'm afraid I need to re-direct the thread towards my original question.

    OK, so "hasn't got" is more British and "doesn't have" is more American. BUT, my doubt concerns the use of "hasn't" standing on its own.

    Greenheyes gave me a clue by saying that "He hasn't an apple" is understandable, but sounds unnatural. Thank you for that.

    Does everybody agree with this? I'd like to get some confirmation of this info, or else, some forum discussion on it.

    Thank you so much!
     

    MissIngalls

    Senior Member
    USA
    English-USA
    "He hasn't an apple" sounds absurd to me. I agree that I would understand it without any difficulty, but I've never heard anyone say that.

    However, there are a few uses of this structure that sound old-fashioned but are still in use; to me, they are treated as idiomatic expressions.
    For example:
    He hasn't a penny. (He is broke.)
    He hasn't the slightest idea/clue. (He has no idea.)
     

    kw10

    Senior Member
    English (USA)
    "He hasn't an apple" sounds absurd to me. I agree that I would understand it without any difficulty, but I've never heard anyone say that.

    However, there are a few uses of this structure that sound old-fashioned but are still in use; to me, they are treated as idiomatic expressions.
    For example:
    He hasn't a penny. (He is broke.)
    He hasn't the slightest idea/clue. (He has no idea.)
    Nicely stated - I agree completely. Anisahara, I don´t think people in either Britain or the US would say "He hasn´t an apple," it just sounds really weird.
     

    the MASTER

    Senior Member
    English - British
    In American English, it definitely sounds more natural to say "doesn't have" not "hasn't got." But theMaster is correct that we use a lot of abbreviations of "have got," like in the examples he gave. For example, to me it sounds perfectly normal to say "I've got a lot of homework this weekend" or "I have a lot of homework" but NOT "I have got a lot of homework." In the negative, we don't use the "have got" formation - I would say "I don't have much homework this weekend," not "I haven't got much homework."
    I just wanted to point out that I would only use the long form 'have got' if I were stressing the 'have'. In normal usage we always use the shortened versions e.g. I've got; you've got etc.

    The negative form is just as common for us. 'I haven't got' is much more normal than 'I don't have'.
     

    anisahara

    Member
    Spain, Spanish
    Thank you so much to all of you!!

    One of these sentences that I've come across lately (and to cap it all, I found it in a text book) is "Mrs. Harrison hasn't any food".

    It sounded weird to me too, but since it was in the text book, I wasn't sure...

    Thank you again, all your comments have been of great help!
     

    Mattterhorn

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    A Student's Grammar of the English Language by Greenbaum and Quirk states on page 38 that the three of them are possible:
    "In some stative senses, we can therefore have three alternatives:
    (a) We haven't any butter.
    (b) We haven't got any butter.
    (c) We don't have any butter.
    Of these, (a) is especially BrE (more formal); (b) is especially BrE (informal); (c) is AmE, and also common now in BrE."

    For me (a) sounds wrong, but I wouldn't argue with Quirk...
     
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