'Have', 'Has' and 'Had' - Advanced English Lesson

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In this lesson we will learn about the uses of ‘have’, ‘has’ and ‘had’ to express possession. Have fun!


We use ‘have’, ‘has’’, and ‘had’ when we want to say that something belongs to someone. The verb ‘to have’ is also used to express other ideas. But for today, we’ll focus on the idea of possession.

Laura: Hi everybody! Today we’ll explain the verb ‘to have’ when we want to say that something belongs to someone.

Vincent: Yes, Laura. That means a person possesses something.

Laura: Correct. Yesterday I went to the departmental store and bought a TV. Now, I have a TV.

Vincent: You mean you didn’t have a TV? What did you do when you were home?

Laura: Well, Vincent, I have many books. I read a lot when I am home. Notice that ‘I’ is the subject in these examples, and I said ‘I have’.

Vincent: I noticed that. And it’s because you use ‘have’ with the pronouns ‘I’, ‘you’, ‘we’, and ‘they’. When we refer to ‘he’, ‘she’, and ‘it’, we use ‘has’ to express possession.

Laura: Very good Vincent. Can you give us an example?

Vincent: Sure! My neighbor is very rich, and he has three cars.

Laura: He has three cars? Is he married?

Vincent: No Laura, he’s not married. But he has a girlfriend.

Laura: Hey, you can’t ‘possess’ a person!

Vincent: No, you’re right. But it’s an abstract idea. Like when we say that someone has children.

Laura: I get it. I was just kidding. The verb ‘to have’ can also refer to a feature, or characteristic. For example: my car has a stereo, or that restaurant has a great chef.

Vincent: Yes. I have three brothers, and we all have tattoos.

Laura: Ok. Remember that when we talk about things we don’t have now but did possess in the past, we use ‘had’, the past of the verb ‘to have’.

Vincent: I had a beautiful car, but my brother crashed it into a tree.

Laura: That’s too bad, Vincent. I had a beautiful goldfish, but my cat ate it.

Vincent: Oh, that’s sad. At least for the goldfish. My brother had a turtle, but one day it disappeared. He has a gecko, now.

Laura: Oh, no! I could never have a lizard. Well, time for some dialogues with more examples and less animals.

Do you have time for a movie?

Sam: I have two tickets to watch ‘Life of Pi’.

Vera: Is that the movie about the boy who had a tiger?

Sam: Yes. He had a tiger! The movie really has a touching message.

Vera: It has some beautiful scenes too.

Sam: Have you watched it before?

Vera: Yes I have. Not on the big screen, though.

Sam: It’s the reason I bought the tickets. Want to come with me? Do you have time?

Vera: Yes, I do! I have a lot of time. Let’s go!

I had a nightmare

Vera: Sam! You look terrible! What’s the problem?

Sam: I had a horrible nightmare. In my dream, I had a deadly illness, and no one wanted to help me because I was very contagious!

Vera: How stressful! But it was only a dream. You can relax, now.

Sam: I know. But it was so realistic.

Vera: Don’t you wish we could have control over our dreams?

Sam: Yes! That would be so cool!! Have the power to choose our dreams before we go to sleep. Awesome!

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