Have

'Have' can be an auxiliary verb or a main verb. It has no specific meaning as an auxiliary verb. In this lesson, we will learn all about it.

How to Use the Verb "Have" in the English Grammar

The verb have is used very often in English grammar. The verb have is used as an auxiliary verb or a main verb. In this lesson, we will learn all about it.

Functions of the Verb 'Have'

  1. Auxiliary Verb
  2. Main Verb

1. 'Have' as an Auxiliary Verb

Use

Have as an auxiliary verb has no specific meaning and it is used to show the tense of the main verb. Have is used in perfect tenses in passive and active voices. For example:

I have done my homework.

She has been given a book.

Position in a Sentence

The position of the auxiliary verb have is changed in a sentence depending on the presence of the modal verbs. In other words, the tense then the voice of the verb is prioritized. Look:

I will not have gone there this time next year.

As you see, the modal verb 'will' comes before 'have.'

Have you been there?

Contraction & Negation of 'Have'

This table shows some examples of the contraction, negation, and negative contractions of the verb have:

contraction negation negative contraction
I have I've I have not I haven't/ I've not
you have you've you have not you haven't/ you've not
she has she's she has not she hasn't/ she's not
they had they've they have not they haven't/ they've not
I had I'd I had not I hadn't/ I'd not

For example:

They've not been there.

I'd gone there before you were in charge of it.

2. 'Have' as a Main Verb

Use

Have as the main verb has a specific meaning. It is used to show possession but not always. Have a look:

  • Have as a main verb means 'own, possess.' Look:

The reunion has over 100 members.

I will have a car next year.

The verb have does not always show possession. Look at these rules:

  • Have used in the structure 'have + something + past participle' is a dummy verb. This structure means to receive service from others or someone else does something for you. For example:

I have my hair cut.

She had her car fixed.

  • There is another structure like 'have + object + bare infinitive/gerund.' That means 'to experience something, to be forced to do something.' Note that gerund refers to an ongoing experience but infinitive refers to the past experience. For example:

I had a dog passing by me.

The dog passing by is happening now.

I had an accident happen to me.

Infinitive means this happened in the past.

She had us crying in the middle of the party.

This sentence means 'we were forced to cry.'

  • The verb have means 'to eat, to drink…' Look:

I had a banana smoothie this morning.

I will have some apple pie today.

Tip

Have got can be used instead of have in informal language. Take a look:

I have got to do something.

They haven't got a cat yet.

Position in a Sentence

Have as the main verb acts like other main verbs and expresses the action of the doer. Note that if the verb have is conjugated in simple present and simple past tense, we need the auxiliary verb do for making an interrogative or negative sentence. For example:

I will have a banana smoothie this morning. → Will you have a banana smoothie this morning?

Here, the modal verb 'will' is enough to make interrogative or negative sentences.

She had some money. → She didn't have any money.

Here, for making a negation, we need the auxiliary verb 'do' conjugated in the past tense.

They have enough money. → Do they have enough money?

Conjugation

Here are how we conjugate the verb have:

  • present
singular plural
I have we have
you have you have
she/he has they have
  • past
singular plural
I had we had
you had you had
she/he had they had
  • present perfect
singular plural
I have had we have had
you have had you have had
she/he has had they have had
  • past perfect
singular plural
I had had we had had
you had had you had had
she/he had had they had had

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