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Where have I to deposit the fees?

I get that the error is in the 'have I' part. In affirmative, we say, I have to deposit the fees. In negative, we say, I don't have to deposit the fees. In interrogative, we ask, Do I have to deposit the fees?

So, How can I improve the given sentence?

Where do I have to deposit the fees?


Where do have I to deposit the fees?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The sentence

Where have I to deposit the fees?

may be called very old fashioned: 'have to' theoretically may be used in this way.

This swapping of positions of I and have is an example of what is called subject-operator inversion, or subject-auxiliary inversion. Auxiliary verbs are noted for their ability to take part in such tricks. But "have to" is said to be a 'semi-auxiliary': we may use it as an auxiliary or as a usual verb ("main verb").

In our time, people treat 'have to' as a main verb in questions, hence, no inversion is made. But in questions there must be an auxiliary verb in the first (operator) position. So we use another auxiliary verb - DO. This is called DO-support, and the proper sentence is:

Where do I have to deposit the fees?

The variant

Where do have I to deposit the fees?

is ungrammatical because it uses the S-A inversion and adds DO on top of that. It is as if we have decided to treat 'have to' as a full-fledged auxiliary, and then decided to throw in the DO-support for good measure. We end up with two auxiliaries in a slot where only one is allowed (either 'do' or 'have').

Here's an example of the old-fashioned use of "have to" as an auxiliary in a question, with S-A inversion:

But go on, why had you to go? (In a book by Iris Murdoch).

Notice how 'had' stands before 'you'. In modern English, we use DO-support in such questions with 'have to':

But go on, why did you have to go?

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+1 You might mention the term lexical verb for "main verb", since this is often employed in newer texts and may therefore be familiar to advanced learners. –  StoneyB Feb 22 '14 at 17:54
@StoneyB: After upvoting your comment, I looked up this, because it occurred to me that (not knowing the terminology) I might use functional verb to denote the one that actually functions as a real verb (to describe doing something, as opposed to just being a feature of grammar). In light of that link, is the main/auxiliary verb distinction now to be referred to as lexical/functional? –  FumbleFingers Feb 23 '14 at 1:30
@FumbleFingers I haven't encountered this before, but it is interesting. It's not clear from this ?handout? whether 'functionals' include modals and auxiliaries or lie between modals and auxiliaries on the left and lexicals on the right. –  StoneyB Feb 23 '14 at 2:30
@StoneyB: Let me know if/when you figure it out. Meantime I shall try to remember to use substantive rather than functional when I'm just "making up" terminology to identify the main, lexical verb. –  FumbleFingers Feb 23 '14 at 3:00
I was just going through OALD and found this line: "Have is also used but is more formal:I have no objection to your request. ◇ Have you an appointment?" So I guess the original sentence Where have I to deposit the fees? is indeed correct. –  Ramit Feb 24 '14 at 14:25

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