Julie in Melbourne writes:
I am co-writing with two other women and we continually struggle with editing issues. HELP. Is it ok to write a positive with a negative?
eg: I have no lollies.
I haven't any lollies.
I prefer the second, but my friend says either are ok. When I was at school with the dinosaurs, it was unacceptable to place the positive with the negative.
Your question points up some fascinating differences in English dialects. They're both acceptable, but both would raise eyebrows in North America.
First of all, "lollies" is a Briticism for what we'd call "lollipops." Secondly, we'd say, "I have no lollipops."
We would also hear "I haven't any" as a Briticism; we would tend to say, "I haven't got any." (We also cherish an obsolete verb form, "gotten," which disappeared in the British Isles circa 1750: "I haven't gotten any lollipops today.")
So a Canadian or American would most likely say, "I haven't got any lollipops." And if we did have lollipops, we'd say, "I've got some lollipops"—not "I've some lollipops."