Here is a new grammar post for learners from Elementary to Intermediate levels tell you how to use verbs in English: learn to use ‘have’ and ‘get’ in spoken English.
My students often ask me: Why are these verbs used so much in English?
This happens because they are flexible in their meanings and they are easy to use in conversational, informal language.
Spend some time on these verbs, and it will help you become closer to fluency as this is a natural way to speak English, not the translated version of it.
How to use verbs in english: main verbs and auxiliaries
First, let’s have a look at the verb to have. Learners are so mixed up with its forms. We see them a lot so they start jumping around.
The main problem with have is that it also has a function of an auxiliary (= grammar) verb just as be and do.
So, if we look at the sentence: I have had a wonderful day today, we will see have in TWO of its functions. The structure of the verb form in Present Perfect is as follows: have (aux in Present) + had (V3).
If I change the sentence to: She has had a wonderful day, has will still show Present but 3d person form.
And after one more change: I had had a wonderful day before… , the first had shows us Past Perfect form, and the second had still shows us the main meaning ‘to spend’ in V3.
I hope it all makes sense for people who are not huge fans of grammar. The English STRUCTURE is really important if you want to figure out the nature of the language to become fluent in it.
Now, your turn:
Always ask yourself if the have you use is an auxiliary (for Perfect tenses) or a main (=meaningful) verb. Let’s see the examples:
- I have 3 classes today. Is it an auxiliary or a main verb?
- She has done a lot today. What about here?
In sentence (1), have is a main verb because it shows its meaning ‘to own’.
In sentence (2), on the contrary, has is an auxiliary one for forming the Present Perfect form. The main verb here is done.
Pay attention how it will influence the formation of negatives. I will say ‘I don’t have 3 classes today’ but ‘She hasn’t done a lot today’.
Do you see the difference now?
Practise! Check is the following sentences are correct:
To conclude this part, have is a verb of two functions (grammar auxiliary and main verb), so you need to figure out its function to make correct grammar structures.
meanings of ‘have’ (as a main verb)
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