One asks: "Do you have a dog?". With the plural form, can one ask: "Do you have dogs?", or must it always be: "Do you have any dogs?" ?

Hello Sextus, how are you?

'Do you have (any) dogs?' would be what you'd say after entering a pet shop, e.g. if you wanted to buy a dog, but couldn't see any in the window.

In ordinary situations, for some reason, one always says 'do you have a dog?', even if you know the person probably has half a dozen. (Some people naturally look as if they own half a dozen dogs.) This allows the other person to say: 'I've got several!', at which point it's usual for the questioner to laugh in surprise and say, 'Really?'.

Surprise at the wholly unsurprising is a great social lubricant in English small-talk. It allows each statement to be made several times, with variations, thus filling what would otherwise be awkward and embarrassing gaps.

It occurs to me that horses are slightly different. If you knew that someone owned a large estate, you would probably say: 'do you keep horses?', rather than 'do you have a horse'. (But this may be merely BrE.)

See you
Hello Sxtus and Mr P

One phrase I come across with for asking such a thing is: "Do you have more than one dog?". But why do you use a singular "dog" here? I think "more than one" should be two or some number greater than two. So logically the sentence must be "Do you have more than one dogs?" But you are using the singular "dog". It sounds funny to me.

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Hello Paco

Yes indeed; if you met a person with a dog, you could say, 'do you have more than one dog?'.

But I think rather than:

1. Do you have/ more than one/ dog?

the sentence =

2. Do you have/ more than/ one dog?

Or to put it another way, you're saying:

3. Do you have > 1 dog?

But an adjective 'more-than-one' would be an interesting innovation, and perhaps could take a plural noun!

Hi MrP

Thanks for the quick reply.
Do you have/ more than/ one dog?

I see. My analysis was wrong.

Huhh, English is really hard to understand.

Thanks for the answers, though my original question was whether "Do you have dogs?" is equivalent to "Do you have any dogs?". And, from what you say, it seems that it is.


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Hello Sextus

I think 'do you have any more dogs' would be more usual if you did want to use the pliral. It sounds a little blunt without the 'any'!

See you
Thanks for the answer, MrP. I asked that question because one usually says "Do you have any brothers or sisters?". So I was wondering whether one can take "any" out.

Ah yes, indeed!

Lectum et captum est.

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