This is a dilemma I often face, especially with beginner or elementary students. Do you usually teach them the form ‘have you got any brothers or sisters?’ or ‘Do you have any brothers or sisters’?
[Here’s an interesting discussion I found on this topic.]
The dilemma stems from the fact that students often get confused, and end up using ‘have’ as if it was ‘be’ in sentences such as ‘I haven’t a dog’.
I have come to the conclusion that part of the problem is due to how we Italians learn languages in schools. In Italian state schools English still tends to be taught as classical languages are taught. So, since when we study Italian grammar one of the first language items we meet are ‘essere’ (to be) and ‘avere’ (to have) — which in Italian are the two main auxiliaries — we tend to transfer this to English.
I don’t think this fully accounts for the frequent mistakes in the use of ‘have’, but I do think the expression ‘I’ve got’ tends to confuse Italian speakers, who then tend to think at ‘have’ as if it shared the same characteristics of ‘be’.
I’m not sure I’m making much sense with this, but the whole point of this post was: which form do you prefer to teach and why? I’m aware this is mainly a BrE-AmE difference, so your answer would probably depend on the variety of English you speak or are more familiar with. I tend to use ‘have got’ a lot, but feel reluctant to teaching it to beginner learners, who then feel very confused when they first encounter ‘do you have’.
I don’t think teaching them side by side would be a good idea, as it risks to confuse learners even more. So how do you go about it? Do you usually prefer to teach one form over the other or both? How do your learners react?
I’d also be curious to know how this whole questions fits within the ELF debate. I anticipate ‘do you have’ would be a preferable option in this case, being simpler and closer to how other verbs are used.
I’d appreciate it if you could share any relevant articles or blog posts on this matter, as it still puzzles every time I have to introduce a topic that requires a predominant use of ‘have’.
PS: the cover image of this post is just a tribute to one of my favourite romantic films ever, You’ve Got Mail. 😀