have you?

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marlo wagdy

Senior Member
Arabic
You havent got a pen, have you?

I dont know I cant understand this form

You havent got a pen (= You dont have pen)
have you (= he asking him if he have)

I know that, I understand this senetnce wrongly but can anyone demonstrate it to me, because it looks like contradictory statment with it self


 
  • JustKate

    Senior Member
    This construction, which I agree does appear to be contradictory, really just means "Do you have a pen?", usually a pen that is available for loan. That's it. It is used to indicate doubt or sometimes polite deference. It's simply a very restrained way of asking if someone has a something, usually something that the speaker wishes to borrow or use.
     

    marlo wagdy

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    I dont how you native speakers understand it when I asking you question like that here I know that you are havent pen but I just want to make sure? is that right?
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    When the statement is positive (and the 'tag question' is negative), it's saying you think something is true, but you're just checking:

    You have got a pen, haven't you? (= I think you've got a pen - but I'll just check: have you got one?)

    You can do this also with a negative statement and a positive tag question:

    You haven't got a pen, have you? (= I think you haven't got a pen - but I'll just check: have you got one?)

    But this negative + positive form can also be used to make a polite request:

    You haven't got a pen, have you? (polite and hesitant, as if = You probably haven't got a pen. But if you have, that would be great, and it would be nice if I could borrow it.)
     

    marlo wagdy

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    aha I mostly got it
    thats mean when I tell you
    'you couldnt do me a favour, could you?'(=you propaply cant help but if you could I will be glade)
    but is this mean that I realy know that he cant help me or its just a polite way to ask him to help me I mean I use it only if I not sure if he can help or not?
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    It is leaving the door wide open for the person to refuse the request, if that's what it is. Sometimes it's just a factual question you think something is true but you need to check it.

    You don't have any shares in Waxears Ltd, do you?
    No, I don't, but my cousin does. Why?
    Tell her to sell them at once.

    You don't by any chance have a few thousand dollars to spare until the end of the month do you? I am broke.

    Hermione
     

    JustKate

    Senior Member
    aha I mostly got it
    thats mean when I tell you
    'you couldnt do me a favour, could you?'(=you propaply cant help but if you could I will be glade)
    but is this mean that I realy know that he cant help me or its just a polite way to ask him to help me I mean I use it only if I not sure if he can help or not?
    It can mean either one, really. As Hermoine explained in her post, this construction is intended to give the listener an easy way to refuse the request. Thus, it's sometimes used when the speaker expects the listener to say "Sorry, but no I don't" (have a pen or whatever) and sometimes when the speaker just wants to sound very polite and hesitant.
     
    Last edited:

    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    Just to complicate things a little more, the polite "You don't have ..., do you?" doesn't necessarily mean "I think you probably haven't". The speaker may be fairly sure that the other person does have [whatever], but is phrasing it that way purely for politeness, just in case he needs to refuse.

    As Hermione says, it's leaving the door wide open for a refusal — and it's doing that by allowing the other person to agree with you, whilst still refusing: in effect the answer is "You're absolutely correct, I don't have ...".

    Whereas the question "Do you have ...?" might force the other person to the discomfort of giving a refusal in purely negative terms: "No, I don't have ...".

    Ws:)
     
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