Uses of Have

The word have can be used in different ways and has different meanings depending on its context.

Below is a list of the different ways it can be used:

Possession or Ownership

We can describe ownership of possessions, as well as keeping something on your person or at home.




He has six kids!

My grandmother doesn’t have a cell phone.

Do you have a big house?

* Note: The full structure is have got, which is actually the Present Perfect Simple. During informal spoken English, this can also be shortened to got (see Uses of Get).

I have got a dog.

I’ve got a dog.

I have a dog.

Doing Activities

We can talk about doing certain activities when used in conjunction with nouns




She has a shower every morning.

It’s been a while since I had a shave.

He usually has a nap on Saturday afternoons.

* Note: We can use take in a similar way.

They’re having a break.

They’re taking a break.


We can talk about eating or consuming when it is used with meals and food




I had breakfast and went to work.

He usually has a sandwich at work.

We have turkey every Thanksgiving for dinner.

* Note: We can use eat in a similar way.

They always have lunch together.

They always eat lunch together.

Paid Services

We can use the following structure to describe a paid service that is done by somebody else for us





past participle

They’re having their house renovated.

She had her hair cut yesterday.

* Note: We can also substitute have/has with get in order to talk about a paid service done for us (see Uses of Get).

She had her hair cut this morning.

She got her hair cut this morning.

* Note: This structure can also be used to talk about something that happens to use (usually something negative).

She had her purse stolen on the subway.

Necessity or Obligation

We can use Have/Has to to express necessity or obligation

Have/Has to



She has to be at work on time.

They don’t have to wake up early on weekends.

Do you have to wear a suit at work?

* Note: Have/has to is treated as a . There is a slight difference between have/has to and must. The obligation comes from within with must and the obligation comes from outside with have/has to.

I must quit smoking. (I feel an obligation to quit)

I have to quit smoking. (Someone or something is obligating me to quit)

He has to call his parents if he wants to stay out late.

She has to attend a meeting on Friday.

Sequencing Events

We can use it in the following structure when sequencing events or actions



past participle

Having bought their plane tickets, they started planning the rest of their holiday.

* Note: We can also achieve a similar result using the after + gerund structure.

After buying their plane tickets, they started planning the rest of their holiday.

Auxiliary Verb

The word, have/has, is used as an auxilary verb in Perfect tenses

I have been to Florida several times

I haven't been to Florida.

Have you been to Florida?

*Note: Have is often contracted to 've and Has is often contracted to 's in spoken and infromal Englsih.

I have seen that film twice.

I 've seen that film twice.