The verb “to have” is used in a number of different ways in English. Here are the main uses of the verb “to have”.
To have is used as a main verb to indicate possession of objects, characteristics, relationships or other qualities.
He has three books by Hemingway.
Jane has a sister in France.
Frank has a lot of free time these days.
“To Have” | Main Verb: Actions
To have is also used as a main verb for many actions
have a bath, wash, shower, etc.
have breakfast, lunch, dinner
have time available
have a party
have a walk, hike, ride, etc.
have a discussion, fight, argument etc.
Erica is having a bath at the moment.
We’re going to have a party next week.
She usually has breakfast at seven o’clock.
Have got is also used, especially in British English, to indicate possession of objects, characteristics, relationships or other qualities.
He’s got some friends in Wales.
He’s got red hair and freckles.
Alice has got three cousins.
‘To have to do something’ expresses the idea that an action or routine is required of someone.
We use ‘to have to do something’ to speak about our responsibilities in life. This form can have the same meaning as ‘must’, but is generally preferred when speaking about responsibilities.
- ‘Must‘ is generally used to speak about an important personal obligation (For example: I must talk to Peter. It’s important!)
- ‘Will have to do‘ something is used to speak about future obligations
- ‘Had to do something‘ is used to speak about past obligations.
- ‘Don’t / didn’t have to do something‘ refers to an action which is not required of someone, but is possible.
- ‘Mustn’t‘, on the other hand, refers to something that is prohibited.
Doug has to get up early every day.
They have to work hard on Saturdays.
She doesn’t have to go to work on Saturdays. (It’s possible, but not necessary)
They had to leave early to catch the flight.
Jennifer had to explain the situation to Peter.
I didn’t have to go to the meeting in Dallas. (I could have gone, but it wasn’t necessary)
He will have to get up early tomorrow.
Janice will have to decide whether she wants to marry him or not.
They won’t have to purchase any additional materials. (They can, but it’s not required.)
To Have Something Happen / Happening | Experiences
Have + object(s) + base form of verb / -ing form
This form is used to speak about experiences that have happened, or experience in general.
We have people visit us all the time.
Sherry had her children playing in the garden.
To Have Something Done | Arrangements
Have + object(s) + past participle
This form is used to speak about something that you arrange to have done for you.
This form is also known as the causative ‘have’ because it expresses something which someone else causes to happen.
She had them delivered to her home.
We had Jack promoted to director.