Grammatical Structures With Have

Have + object

The structure have + object is often used to talk about actions and experiences.

  • Let us have a drink.
  • I was having a bath.
  • Have a nice time.

In these expressions, have is used in the sense of ‘eat’, ‘drink’, ‘enjoy’, ‘experience’ etc. Common expressions are:

  • have a drink/ supper/ lunch/ breakfast/ a meal/ dinner/ coffee/ tea
  • have a wash/ a bath/ a shower
  • have a talk/ a chat/ a quarrel/ a fight
  • have a swim/ a walk/ a ride/ a game of chess

Points to be noted

In this structure, we make questions and negatives with do.

  • He had a word with his boss.
  • He didn’t have a word with his boss.
  • Did he have a word with his boss?

Progressive forms are possible.

  • I was having a bath when the telephone rang.
  • They were having a nap when the thieves broke in.

Have Got

Have got means exactly the same as have in most cases.

  • She has got a bad temper. (= She has a bad temper.)
  • have got a headache. (= I have a headache.)
  • have got an appointment with the manager this evening. (= I have an appointment with the manager this evening.)

Do is not used in questions and negatives with got.

  • Have you got a sister? (NOT Do you have got …)

Note that got forms of have are not common in the past tense.

  • had a cold last week. (NOT I had got a cold last week.)

Progressive forms of have are not normally possible with this meaning.

  • I have (got) a headache. (NOT I am having a headache.)

Have + object + infinitive/participle

Have can be followed by object + infinitive (without to), object + -ing and object + past participle.

Have + object + infinitive/-ing

In this structure have often means ‘experience’.

  • We had some difficulty finding the house.
  • have trouble coming up with new ideas.
  • Last night we had a strange thing happen to us.
  • It is nice to have you sitting by me all the day.

Another meaning is ‘cause somebody or something to do something’.

  • The film soon had us crying.

Points to be noted

After have + object, we use an infinitive without to.

  • Last night we had a strange thing happen to us. (NOT…strange thing happened/to happen to us.)

Here the infinitive suggests a completed action; -ing form suggests continuity.

Have + Object + Past Participle

This structure is used to talk about arranging for things to be done by others. The past participle has a passive meaning.

  • We are having the house painted next month.
  • We must have the roof repaired.

Another meaning is ‘experience’.

  • She had her car stolen last week.
  • We had our roof blown off in the storm.

Have to, have got to

Have (got) to is often used to talk about obligation. The meaning is similar to must.

  • have to be there by 5 o’ clock. (= I must be there by 5 o’ clock.)
  • He has to finish the work himself. (He must finish the work himself.)
  • have to do something before it is too late. (= I must do something before it is too late.)

Points to be noted

1. Had to is used to talk about obligation that existed in the past.

    • had to be there by 5 o’ clock.
    • He had to finish the work himself.

2. In this structure have can be used like an ordinary verb (with do in questions and negatives), or like an auxiliary verb (without do).

  • You have to be back in 10 minutes.
  • When do I have to be back? (used like an ordinary verb)
  • When have I (got) to be back?
  • (used like an auxiliary verb)

  • Do I have to be back in 10 minutes? (ordinary verb)
  • Have I got to be back in ten minutes? (auxiliary verb)
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Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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