1. He wouldn't be so popular if he hadn't so much money.


  1. He wouldn't be so popular if he didn't have so much money.
  • 1
    Your second answer is more likely to be said, but they're both grammatical. If you're a learner go with the second phrasing: it's important that you know that, generally speaking, main verb HAVE usually needs DO for negatives. [ Please don't be offended by any unhelpful answers here, they're just people trying to be funny about ESL terminology ] Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 0:21

2 Answers 2


The "have" of possession is an auxiliary verb in British English, but it is a real verb in American English. Thus, in British English, "Baa, baa, black sheep, have you any wool?", where "have" is inverted in the question just as any auxiliary may be. But if Americanized, this would be: "Baa, baa, black sheep, do you have any wool?" (which no longer sounds right), since the possessive "have" of American English is a real verb, not an auxiliary. (The perfect "have" is an auxiliary in both British and American.)

  • This appears to be exactly reversed. Have in "have you any wool" is a main verb — there is only one verb, so it must be a main verb and cannot be an auxiliary. Also, a question like "Do you have a pencil?" is going to be far more common in BrE than "Have you a pencil?" And "Have you got a pencil?" more common than that. Commented Jan 23, 2015 at 20:16
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    @Andrew Leach, your reasoning is impeccable, but your premise that a sole verbal element cannot be an auxiliary is wrong. The term "auxiliary" seems to imply this, but it's just a term -- it can't tell us what the right analysis is. Auxiliaries can be identified by whether they are inverted in yes-no questions, and this turns out to be independent of whether there is another verbal element: "Is he there?" "Is he going?", "Is he often eaten by sharks?" (I accept what you say about what is idiomatic in British English.)
    – Greg Lee
    Commented Jan 23, 2015 at 20:50

From my association with someone from the UK, 1 would be British English (and would confuse some Americans), and 2 would be American English (but probably would not confuse readers in the UK).

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