My cat has no food.
My cat has not food.
My cat has not got food.
My cat does not have food.

What are the differences between these two sentences?
Which one is the correct? Why?

  • 3
    All but the second are correct. Also My cat does not have any food. And My cat has got no food. – Peter Shor Sep 26 '16 at 15:26

The second one is obviously wrong here. Other are all correct and convey the same meaning. Why the second sentence is incorrect is, the sentence says " my cat has not food". Not mostly is followed by either an adjective or an adverb. Example: her dress is not beautiful, his walk was not fast. I hope I made little sense. I am assuming that last sentence is a typo and it ought to be ,my cat does not have food. Thanks.

  • They don't all convey exactly the same meaning. There are nuances. And My cat has not got food is significantly different. It describes an action that did not happen, not a situation. – michael.hor257k Sep 26 '16 at 15:45
  • @michael.hor257k In American English, a failure of the cat to get food would be expressed as my cat has not gotten food. – choster Sep 26 '16 at 16:23
  • And in British English it does not describe an action that did not happen. – Colin Fine Sep 26 '16 at 18:42
  • In American English, my cat has not got food means essentially the same thing as my cat does not have food". You need to use "gotten" to make it an action that failed to happen. – Peter Shor Sep 26 '16 at 21:31

My cat has no food. - Normal spoken English

My cat does not have food. - Reasonable English but would more likely to have the word 'any' in it giving My cat does not have any food.

My cat has not got food - Grammatically correct but is very rarely, if ever, used like this. However it is perfectly normal with 'any' in it giving My cat has not got any food.

My cat has not food - Grammatically correct, and would have been used in the past. However it now sounds archaic and odd. This may be partly because 'has not' is used to form the 'present perfect simple' tense an example of which would be My cat has not been given any food

  • You raise an interesting point with the last one. When "has" is an auxiliary - i.e. in a perfect form - the negative is always "has not"/"hasn't". When it is a full verb, as here, "has not" used to be the form, but it has been increasingly replaced by "doesn't have". But, particularly in British usage, "hasn't" has survived in this sense even though "has not" hasn't survived. So "My cat hasn't [got] any food" is quite normal in British English. – Colin Fine Sep 26 '16 at 18:41
  • @ColinFine You (and user 77973 below) are quite correct about "My cat hasn't any food". I missed that while I thinking up my answer. Obviously the present perfect "has not" is unrelated to "has not" in the sense of "not possessing" but I still feel that it's probable the fact that they are both spoken in the same way has contributed to the second usage dying out. – BoldBen Sep 26 '16 at 19:02
  • I think that's unlikely @BoldBen, because "hasn't" has survived in both meanings. I think it's more likely that it has been ousted by "has no". Though "has not <NP>" and "has no <NP>" have a different grammatical structure, and allow different kinds of NP (the first can have a determiner, the second cannot), in very many contexts they are interchangeable. – Colin Fine Sep 26 '16 at 19:46

I am no linguist, however, all of these sound correct and natural to me, but perhaps more so abbreviated as in: hasn't got, or if it's :"My cat has not food" then it would perhaps sound better with "any" added in as in "My cat hasn't any food" though it still has a rather archaic feel about it. To clear up misunderstanding as to my explanation number 2. sounds correct only if changed.

  • 2
    I don't know what variety of English you speak, but in mine "My cat has not food" sounds wrong. – Peter Shor Sep 26 '16 at 15:28
  • 1
    Regarding the sentence" My cat has not food" it could sound more understandable with the use of a contraction such that instead of "has not" it's hasn't and if also rephrased with "any", though somewhat archaic it makes perfect sense to me when slightly modified. It is like saying: "She hasn't any flowers." not "She has not flowers" – user79773 Sep 26 '16 at 15:36

My cat has no food.

Correct but uncommon in American spoken English.

My cat has not food.

Just wrong.

My cat has not got food.

"Got" here is the past participle of get (chiefly British: most Americans would say gotten). Your kitty has failed to obtain food.

My cat does not have food.

The most common (and to a native speaker, "natural") way of expressing the idea.

  • Not quite right about the British use of no 3: "My cat has not got food" is not the equivalent of American "My cat has not gotten food" (or not only that). It is far more likely to mean the same as "My cat does not have food", and fifty years ago most Brits would have said it rather than "does not have". – Colin Fine Sep 26 '16 at 18:36
  • That's interesting, my answer is different, but I'm British. – BoldBen Sep 26 '16 at 19:05

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