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Is it idiomatic to contract I have not as I've not instead of I haven't in the present perfect?

For example:

I have not been to Canada. As I've not been to Canada.

He has not ridden a camel. As He's not ridden a camel.

You have not lost your wallet. As You've not lost your wallet.

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  • See he comments on this question. It seems idiomatic to me (British, 70+) in some contexts. "[Surely] you've not lost your wallet, have you?" - "I've not been feeling too well lately." Mar 15 at 14:59
  • As some people on that thread mentioned, it seems to be more common in British than American English.
    – alphabet
    Mar 15 at 15:28
  • Google Books has just 2 written instances of the sequence I've not been to France. Mar 15 at 15:52
  • ...that's compared to 82 instances of I haven't been to France.. The former is perfectly valid, but it's not common. Mar 15 at 15:53
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    The answer is yes for all varieties of English: have not been can contract in two ways: I haven't/He hasn't been OR I've/He's not been. Both are correct.,
    – Lambie
    Mar 15 at 16:01

1 Answer 1

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It is far less common to say "I've not been...", but still grammatically correct and used by some people more than by others, depending on personal habits of speech.

Saying "I've not been to Canada" differs from saying "I haven't been to Canada" in one important aspect: the word "not" is clearly pronounced and can be given greater emphasis. For an Asian speaker who may have difficulty enunciating the final "t" consonant (Asian languages tend to drop the aspiration following a final consonant--making it more difficult for an anglophone to decipher), this may make it easier to communicate the thought correctly--like saying "cannot" instead of "can't" to make sure one is less likely to be misunderstood.

Some English speakers will choose the less common form of contraction just for variety, and may not always use this same form in their own speech.

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  • I've not been to Canada" can be stressed at not and: "I haven't been to Canada" can be stressed at: haven't been. So, meaning-wise, it's the same thing.
    – Lambie
    Mar 15 at 16:17

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