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Grammar question
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OneJoelFifty



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 463

PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:16 am    Post subject: Grammar question Reply with quote

Can someone help me please, I can't decide on this. When asking the question:

"Do you have any brothers or sisters?"

Is it correct to answer "No I haven't." rather than "No I don't."?
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suspect the answer depends on whether you use British or N.American English.
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Cool Teacher



Joined: 18 May 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 6:10 am    Post subject: Re: Grammar question Reply with quote

OneJoelFifty wrote:
Can someone help me please, I can't decide on this. When asking the question:

"Do you have any brothers or sisters?"

Is it correct to answer "No I haven't." rather than "No I don't."?


Have you any ... No, I haven't

Do you have... No I don't.

But relaly I think both are okay sometimes it depends on if the students are doing tests or exams then you need to know what the examiners would allow otherwise I think both are completely fine and you shouldn't worry. Cool
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OneJoelFifty



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 463

PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 6:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The question was one that I set for my first grade junior high students in the end of term exams we just had. I marked "No I haven't." as wrong but I've been second-guessing myself.

Thank you.
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nightsintodreams



Joined: 18 May 2010
Posts: 314

PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 7:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally I'd say Either is correct. If someone asked me that question id reply "yes, I have a sister." would I fail your test? no wonder Japanese students answer questions (incredibly slowly) in a very rigid textbook style.
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G Cthulhu



Joined: 07 Feb 2003
Posts: 1321
Location: Way, way off course.

PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Grammar question Reply with quote

OneJoelFifty wrote:
Can someone help me please, I can't decide on this. When asking the question:

"Do you have any brothers or sisters?"

Is it correct to answer "No I haven't." rather than "No I don't."?


Both are perfectly fine, although if you wanted to be needlessly pedantic you could insist on a comma after "No". Why are both correct? Because the grammar is correct in so far as it meets almost any SE norms you care to name and they're both perfectly comprehensible in context. IMO, anyone arguing for one or the other beyond that is missing the point of language education.
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hagiwaramai



Joined: 24 May 2010
Posts: 119
Location: Marines Stadium

PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can you give them half a mark or something? The answer's understandable of course, and as a reply to "have you got any brothers or sisters?" it would be completely correct, but in this case the question was "Do you...?" so to focus on the use of the auxiliary verb in the answer you could take off half a mark. I doubt they were using their knowledge of British English to answer the question so I would imagine it's an auxiliary/main verb problem. It doesn't sound so bad in this case as both "do" and "have" are used in this question, but if the question was "Do you like..? or anything else the use of the main verb in the answer would sound very strange. I've heard "Yes, I like." too many times to mention, as in a lot of languages the main verb is the only one used so will be used in the answer, sometimes with "yes", sometimes without, and students translate it the same way into English, but in English the main verb is mainly used only for emphasis.

Edited to add, thank you fluffyhamster!


Last edited by hagiwaramai on Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:30 pm; edited 1 time in total
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
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Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

(Edit: I see Hagiwaramai has made some points similar to mine, but beat me to the post! Welcome to the forums, by the way! Smile ).

Why the need for a "full" negative answer? (It's somewhat mechanical, and more than many native speakers would bother with. And how many people are an only child anyway LOL). I suppose however that technically the 'don't' answer is better, as it's only the fact that the question also contains 'have' that the alternative answer form "suggests" itself (compare Do you know/like X? *No, I known't/liken't; ??No, I know [X] not/like [X] not).

I wonder if the students who answer with 'haven't' are aware of 'Have you got' (versus the quite formal 'Have you' [by itself] that Cool Teacher mentions).

@Nightintodreams: There isn't really any other way to express the positive proposition than your 'I have a sister'. I assume the test that OneJoelFifty set involved a very limited range of answers, by "e.g." translating Japanese sentences into English ones, and that those sentences were (and to be translated) in the negative.
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Pitarou



Joined: 16 Nov 2009
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Location: Narita, Japan

PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The correct answer is "No, I don't." "No, I haven't." is wrong, in both British and American English. I'm sorry to say this, but I'm really shocked that some of you guys seem unsure about this.

To put matters simply, every sentence has a "keyword" that can stand in for the verb + object. E.g.:

Quote:
I have never seen Star Wars. -- I have.
I was twelve years old. -- I was.
I am going to buy a tennis racket. -- I am.
I will buy a tennis racket. -- I will.
There might be a storm tonight. -- There might.
I can swim. -- I can.
I like cheese. -- I do.


Notice that, when the keyword is "do", we omit it, but we can put it back in for emphasis:

Quote:
I do like cheese! I really do!


In the negative form, we attach not to the verb. Here, "do" shows up:

Quote:
I haven't seen Star Wars. -- (No,) I haven't.
I don't like cheese. -- (No,) I don't.
etc.


For yes/no questions, we reverse subject and keyword so, again, "do" shows up:

Quote:
Have you seen Star Wars?
Do you like cheese?
etc.


Now, for your question:

Quote:
"Do you have any brothers and sisters?"


The keyword is "do". It's the first word in the sentence. So the answer must be "Yes, I do." or "No, I don't." There is no ambiguity here: a "do" question demands a "do" answer.

(Historically, "Have you any...?" "Yes, I have." was normal -- think Baa baa, black sheep -- but this is no longer mainstream.)


Last edited by Pitarou on Thu Jul 12, 2012 2:38 am; edited 1 time in total
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Cool Teacher



Joined: 18 May 2009
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Prescript-o-rama! Very Happy

Like I said I think it depends on how strict the examiners are but I woudl never correct a student in class who said it. Confused
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G Cthulhu



Joined: 07 Feb 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pitarou wrote:
The correct answer is "No, I don't." "No, I haven't." is wrong, in both British and American English. I'm sorry to say this, but I'm really shocked that some of you guys seem unsure about this.


In what sense do you mean "wrong"? Are you saying that the second option is somehow incomprehensible or outside normal use between the users concerned? As far as I'm concerned, that's the only test of "correctness." Does it met a SE standard? No, it doesn't, but it's hardly worth bothering with is it?

To be perfectly honest, anyone that would mark that wrong has no business being in a classroom teaching English IMO. It's pedantry to the point of impeding learning. (Very Japanese though Wink Rolling Eyes )
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
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Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If one really wants to test 'do', there are plenty more verbs in the dictionary other than 'have' that it supports!

Ultimately, is the answer with 'have' the one the test writer quite expected? No. But is it well-formed and communicatively effective in its own right? Undoubtedly, as the OP's doubt/question and the mainly reassuring answers show.


Last edited by fluffyhamster on Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:46 am; edited 1 time in total
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Pitarou



Joined: 16 Nov 2009
Posts: 999
Location: Narita, Japan

PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

G Cthulhu wrote:
In what sense do you mean "wrong"? Are you saying that the second option is somehow incomprehensible or outside normal use between the users concerned? As far as I'm concerned, that's the only test of "correctness."


I mean that it's outside of normal usage. That is the sense of the original question, is it not?

Proficient speakers of English give answers that match the form of the question. They do not give "have" answers to "do" questions.

Quote:
Does it met a SE standard? No, it doesn't, but it's hardly worth bothering with is it?

To be perfectly honest, anyone that would mark that wrong has no business being in a classroom teaching English IMO. It's pedantry to the point of impeding learning. (Very Japanese though Wink Rolling Eyes )
I hope this doesn't degenerate into a flamewar, but I must say that I cannot agree.

Of course I wouldn't interrupt a student who is trying to speak fluently just because of a little interference from the mother tongue, but if I encountered a student who was making the abovementioned error systematically, I would go out of my way to fix it. A student who keeps getting this wrong is demonstrating a fundamental misconception about how English works (see above) and the sooner it gets fixed the better.
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Cool Teacher



Joined: 18 May 2009
Posts: 887
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="Pitarou"]
G Cthulhu wrote:
Quote:
In what sense do you mean "wrong"? Are you saying that the second option is somehow incomprehensible or outside normal use between the users concerned? As far as I'm concerned, that's the only test of "correctness."


I mean that it's outside of normal usage. That is the sense of the original question, is it not?


Hmmmm....I would have to check that as I don't know this is true. Confused

Do you have any brothes or sisters? ...
a)Yes, I have a brother
vs.
b)Yes, I do. I have a brother.

I think (a) is common enough but it answers a "do" question with a "have" answer. Cool

Could we find any examoples of people using "No, I havn't" in real conversation? Is it really wrong?


Quote:
Proficient speakers of English give answers that match the form of the question. They do not give "have" answers to "do" questions.
[quote]

Are you sure? Wink
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 2594
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pitarou wrote:
if I encountered a student who was making the abovementioned error systematically

I guess we have slightly differing definitions of 'systematically'. I mean, think about it: 'have' with and without do-support is equally suited to expressing the notion of possession, so what's so unsystematic if the answer doesn't quite mirror the question but still clearly expresses the notion? Either way, 'have' is functioning as a main/lexical verb, ellipted in the correct answer but given in the "incorrect". And it's but a stone's throw from those to answers like "No, but I have a pet hamster". Very Happy

By your reasoning, would the following also be questionable due to a lack of "mirroring", Pitarou?

Have you (got) any brothers or sisters? Yes, I do/No, I don't.

Anyway, like I say, I'd wait until students were making systematic mistakes with verbs other than 'have' before intervening.


Last edited by fluffyhamster on Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:30 am; edited 1 time in total
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