Three Main Functions of “Have” - eAge Tutor

Three Main Functions of “Have”


Grammar plays a major role in supporting English. Without grammar it is impossible to make sense of words, whether written or spoken. At times, most of us get confused with the usage of a word, whether it fits into the situation or not. English is a kind of a language that has many grammar rules and exceptions to it, which actually creates confusion. Almost most words have more than one usage. One such word which you must know is “have”. Today, let us understand different uses of ‘have’ in English.

Three uses of Have

You must remember one thing, the better you understand its functions, the easier it will be for you to use.

1)Have as an auxiliary verb

An auxiliary verb is added to a verb depending upon the subject of the sentence. An auxiliary verb conjugates according to the subject. The auxiliary verb “have” also changes according to the tense.


Sita has been waiting for over an hour.
They had taken English classes together.
She will have gone to Paris by tomorrow. 

2)Have as a modal verb

Modal verbs are those auxiliary verbs which generally express obligation, permission, probability and ability. “Have to” is used to say your responsibilities in life and generally has the same meaning as “must” in the positive. When making a sentence negative, “must not” shows prohibition which means you shouldn’t do something whereas "don’t have to" shows a lack of necessity, which means you don’t need to do something.


I have to run fast to catch the train.
Shikha had to skip her breakfast due to her blood checkup.
You have to do this in order to pass your exam.

3)Have as a main verb

‘To have’ is used to show the action which you own or possess or you perform. Like to have breakfast, have a fight, have doubts, etc.


They have an appointment with the doctor.
Do you have an extra pen?
Yesterday I had a fight with my brother.

Sometimes, "have got" is used instead of have. Both mean the same thing but have got is less formal.

These are the uses of have in different forms. In English, it is easy to learn everything but when it comes to its usage, many people get confused. In order to avoid confusion, you can join a Spoken English course and improve your english.

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-By Chander Madan

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