The verb to have is used in lots of different situations, and it carries a different function and meaning in each of them. Here you will find four main uses:
- MAIN VERB I. To have can be the main verb of a sentence, meaning to own or to possess.
Example: I have two beds in my room.
She has 3 dogs at home (the third person singular: he/she/it, uses has instead of have).
In questions and negatives, we will use the auxiliary do, does or did + have.
Example: Does she have the books?
My brothers don’t have any pets at home.
I didn’t have this piano last year.
The verbal structure have got is also used to indicate that we own or possess something.
Example: I have got two beds in my room.
She has got 3 dogs at home.
In questions and negatives, we will not use auxiliary verbs because have will be the auxiliary verb itself.
Example: I haven’t got any sisters.
Has she got any spare pencil?
- MAIN VERB II. To have can also be used as a main verb in the following actions.
- Have a party
- Have breakfast, lunch, dinner
- Have a walk, ride, hike
- Have an argument, a discussion, a fight
- Have a question
- Have fun
- Have a bath, shower
- Have time
- AUXILIARY VERB. To have is used as an auxiliary verb in perfect tenses (listed below). Therefore, the verb will change depending on the tense (present, past, future), person (I, you, he, she, it, we, you, they) and meaning (affirmative, negative or questions).
- Present perfect → She has bought a new car.
- Present perfect continuous → They haven’t been studying.
- Past perfect → Had you finished the homework when I arrived?
- Past perfect continuous → It had been snowing for almost 3 hours.
- Future perfect → I will have finished the report by the time you get home.
- Future perfect continuous → He will have been cooking for 2 hours by the time they finish the homework.
- MODAL VERB. To have to is considered to be a semi-modal verb which expresses obligation. It is always followed by an infinitive. In this case it needs an auxiliary verb to create negatives and questions.
Example: She has to do the homework every day.
Do you have to wear a uniform at school?
The singer doesn’t have to bring the microphone.
- CAUSATIVE. The verb form to have something done is used to describe an action that somebody else does for you. The structure is the following:
(1) Have (present, past, future) + (2) something/somebody + (3) Past participle verb
Example: I usually have my hair cut.
1 2 3
My sister had her house painted.
My father didn’t have his clothes washed. He did the washing himself.