Monday, 3 September 2007

I do, I do I do I do I do I do

img src="" border="0" title="We've moved to" alt="We've moved to" />

This post is more of a question than an answer, I suppose. When one is asked the question "Do you have any chocolate hobnobs in your pants?", the standard English is usually a variation on: "I have" or "I haven't".

But recently I have found myself slipping into the Americanised "I do" or "I don't". The question is, should I avoid this for purely xenophobic reasons, or is it grammatically incorrect? The problem is that I'm not strictly sure if "I do" is incorrect. My somewhat loose theory is that it is incorrect, because the question is based around the verb to have, not to do, with "do" in this context being an idiosyncratic English alternative to the "have you any chocolate hobnobs" style of question.

The problem comes when you look at the sentence "Do you like eating chocolate hobnobs through a porcelain straw?". If you answered "I do", it would sound correct. If you answered "I like", you'd sound like Borat.

Thoughts please.

Blogger Gez said...

Have you been drinking? I think you've got yourself tied up in knots. "I do" is surely the correct response to any question beginning with "do you...?". In the same way, "I will/won't" follows, "will you...?" and "I would/wouldn't" follows "would you...?".

Although weddings would be more amusing if the groom answered the question, "Do you take this woman...?" by grunting, "I take!", then bashed his bride over the head and dragged her up to his tree-house for a rough and thoughtless consummation.

3 September 2007 at 21:50  
Blogger Gez said...

To be followed by a buffet and everyone dancing in a sweaty circle to Come on Eileen.

"Toora Loora Toora Loo-Rye-Aye!"

3 September 2007 at 21:56  
Blogger Tom said...

I take your point, although I suspect you have been drinking. I swear I've heard Americans respond to 'Have you got...' with 'I do'. Perhaps that is the construction that's been confusing me. I'm confused!

3 September 2007 at 22:20  
Blogger Leah said...

I am an American, so I thought I would comment. It may be that Americans are confused by questions that begin, "Have you got..." because we do not begin questions that way over here. An American would not say, "Have you got 5 monkeys?" It would be, "Do you have 5 monkeys?" And wouldn't "I do" be an appropriate response to that? I guess I think of it as an abbreviated version of "Yes, I do have 5 monkeys."

4 September 2007 at 19:30  
Anonymous mighty red pen said...

Thanks for the laughs, guys. I agree with Leah and Gez regarding the "I do" issue.

As for the other thing, in the US, it would be a sit-down dinner of lemon chicken, followed by everyone dancing a conga line to Kool and the Gang's "Celebration."

5 September 2007 at 02:20  
Anonymous mighty red pen said...

Also, in the US, the correct answer to "Do you have any chocolate hobnobs in your pants?" is not "I have" or "I haven't" but "What the HECK is a chocolate hobnob?"

5 September 2007 at 02:25  
Blogger Gez said...

5 September 2007 at 11:22  

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