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  • dictionary form (bare infinitive): have
  • present tense: has (3s), have (1s/p, 2s/p, 3p)
  • past tense: had

  • present participle: having
  • past participle: had

light verb

"Have" est un verbe (comme get, put, make, etc.) qui peut remplacer d'autres verbes plus précis dans le langage courant. Ci-dessous des exemples typiques des phrases où "having X" serait plus fréquemment utilisé pour décrire une activité telle que eating, inviting, giving birth, or experiencing.

  • We're having tuna casserole tonight.
  • They're having us over for dinner.
  • I'm having a baby.
  • I'm having contractions.
  • overheard on 1 January: "No, seriously, I had a bath last year."

Some further examples:

  • We're having (some) trouble ... Ving
    • ... meeting the production schedule.
    • ... getting paid.

full verb

"have" is used both for the idea of "possession" / "ownership" (I have a house.) and the notion of "being the seat of" (I have a headache. I don't have a clue.). This second meaning is less common in English than in French. (Cf. avoir faim, avoir froid, avoir mal, tous traduit par be en anglais)

  • Il est toujours correct d'employer l'auxiliaire do avec le verbe plein "have".
  • Il est rarement correct de s'en passer. (sauf dans un registre très recherché ou poétique... e.g. I haven't enough mittens for all of my kittens!)

Perfect aspect

"Have" is the auxiliary for the so-called perfect tenses. In the perfect the main verb is in the past participle form, e.g. driven, written, bought, seen, been, etc.

past perfect: had driven
present perfect: has driven (3s), have driven (1s/p, 2s/p, 3p)
future perfect: will have driven
perfect infinitive: (to) have driven
perfect participle: having driven

L'aspect "perfectif" est employé pour faire le bilan jusqu'à un point de répère dans le temps, e.g.

  • I have (still) never been to Italy. Je ne suis toujours pas allé(e) en Italie.
  • I had never been to Italy before I went last Easter. Je n'avais jamais mis les pieds en Italie, avant d'y être allé(e) pour Pâques.
  • I will have finished by Monday. J'aurai terminé lundi.


When combined with the function word to + Verb, have functions as a marker of obligation.

present: has to V /hæstə'verb/ (3s);
have to V /hæftə'verb/ (1st s, pl; 2nd s, pl; 3rd pl)
past: had to V /hædtə'verb/
future: 'll have to V /(ə)lhæftə'verb/

Cf.    Worksheet on have to


have so do sth
I had my brother call the tax office. (i.e. my brother called the tax office because I asked him to.)
I had the intern cover the city council meeting (i.e. I sent the intern (stagiaire) to report on the city council meeting.)
have sth done
I had my hair colored.
I had my car serviced. (by a registered mechanic)