'I haven't anywhere to sleep tonight'

Survival Leopard

New Member
Spanish (Spain)
Hi all

I'm slightly puzzled over this sentence, 'I haven't anywhere to sleep tonight', which I found while doing an exercise on mistake spotting and correction. So far in the exercise, each sentence has come with one mistake (this is the wording of the exercise: 'Find and correct the mistake in each sentence.'), so I assumed there must be a mistake in this one as well, but it does not sound incorrect to me, though it does sound rather informal.

I have been considering the following alternatives:

'I don't have anywhere to sleep tonight.'
'I haven't got anywhere to sleep tonight.'
'I haven't any place/anyplace to sleep tonight.'

I'm inclined to correct it to the first option, but I would like to know what your opinion on this is. Which are the most correct and/or formal options?

Thank you very much
 
  • sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    "I haven't nowhere" is a double negative. "I haven't anywhere to sleep tonight" is not a majority form, but it exists in the speech of some, and its frequency probably varies from region to region.
     
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    Wordnip

    Senior Member
    British English
    Perhaps it shoud be, "I haven't somewhere to sleep tonight."

    I have somewhere to sleep tonight. :tick:
    I have not somewhere to sleep tonight. :tick:

    I have anywhere to sleep tonight. :cross:
    I haven't anywhere to sleep tonight. :cross:
     
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    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    You wrote
    I'm not sure but I think 'haven't anywhere' is a double negative.
    It's not. :)
    "I haven't anywhere to sleep tonight", to me, is perfectly normal English. The construction "I haven't {something}" is merely another way of saying "I don't have {something}", but it seems to work best with a noun phrase, as here, rather than just a noun. The uncontracted form, "I have not {something}" is archaic, but that doesn't make the contracted form an error.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    'Any' is different from 'some'.
    It is hard, though, to see why 'haven't anywhere' is wrong if 'have nowhere' is right.
    The argument cannot be that 'not anywhere' is not a place at all and therefore you cannot have it, because that applies equally well to 'have nowhere'.
    Nor can it be that 'anywhere' is an adverb and therefore cannot stand as object of 'have', for the same reason.

    However, as a matter of style, I prefer 'have nowhere' for brevity and simplicity.
     

    Wordnip

    Senior Member
    British English
    I entirely agree, and can't help feeling that a great deal of overthinking has been going on here.

    (Cambridge Dictionaries Online)
    I agree that 'I haven't anywhere to sleep tonight' is perfectly acceptable; I'd certainly use it. However, my reply, above, was to point out the 'logic' of what was considered to be wrong with it in the exercise.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    'Anywhere' (not 'somewhere') is the correct form in a negative or virtually negative context.
    However, the answer expected in the exercise is apparently 'I have nowhere to sleep'.

    As mentioned, I regard that as better style. I retain the shadowy memory of a rule I was taught at school to the effect that in a case like the topic sentence, if the option of a word such as 'nowhere' exists, that takes precedence over 'not anywhere'; and therefore 'I haven't anywhere to sleep' should be rewritten as 'I have nowhere to sleep'.
     
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