Translation:Do you have a ruler?
According to Jisho, [持つ] is a bit of a broad term, and among other things can mean, "to possess; to have; to own", I.e: ＡＢＣかいがいりょこう海外旅行しょうがい障害ほけん保険をも持っています。I'm a holder of ABC Travel Insurance.
As for whether [定規がありますか] is more correct, I'd want someone more knowledgeable than me to weigh in, but I think it more literally asks, "Is there a ruler?". I think the same meaning as [じょうぎをもっていますか？] could be implied, but the latter would be more literally, "Do you have a ruler in your possession?"
From this HINative Article:
"You don't really have to worry about it, because not many people actually know or care about the difference. But if you're interested in a little trivia:
The difference is in their function - 定規 is for drawing lines and curves and the measuring part is a bonus. You can identify them because if there would be some space before the nber 0.
物差し is primarily for measuring length and so the 0 is at the actual beginning (aka one cm from left side would be marked as 1cm).
For example the plastic triangle shaped ruler most of us used in school is in fact 定規.
But again, most people won't care or know."
It literally means carrying, but can also mean "have", specifically as in "have (on one's person)". So "Are you carrying a ruler?" or "Do you have a ruler on you?" should be correct translations for the Japanese sentence, and "定規がありますか" should be a correct translation for the English sentence.
In general, 持つ is used in many of the same contexts that "have" is used in English, so while they are not perfect synonyms, in this context "have" is not a wrong translation or an unnatural translation. If you wanted to ask if a classmate has a ruler, "定規を持っていますか" is a perfectly common way of phrasing the question.
no that's wrong. you can invert the subject and have in a question only when have is an auxiliary. when it acts as a verb meaning "to own, to possess", or as a modal, it cannot be inverted.
- have you eaten?
- *have you a car? (wrong)
- do you have a car?
- *have you to go? (wrong)
- do you have to go?
For the most part this is correct, but in some instances inverting "have" is possible at any time; although, it's almost entirely formal instances and in set phrases.
Ex: Baa, baa black sheep; have you any wool?
At the end of the day, I agree, and Stefanos' suggestion shouldn't be included.