Unit 4.2

Have: Auxiliary verb

Introduction

An auxiliary verb is a helping verb that has no meaning on its own but it gives functional and grammatical meaning to the main verb.

Have can be used both as main verb and as auxiliary verb.

Have as a main verb is used to talk about possessions or actions.
Have as an auxiliary verb is used to form the present and past perfect tense in all of their three forms.

Form

The verb have as an auxiliary verb is followed by the past participle.

It has two different forms: present and past.

Present form

In its present form it has three forms:

  • Affirmative: it is used to form the present perfect and the present perfect continuous;
    Subject + have/has + past participle + …
    Subject + have/has + been + [verb + -ing] + …
  • Negative: it is used to form the present perfect and the present perfect continuous;
    Subject + have/has + not + past participle + …
    Subject + have/has + not + been + [verb + -ing] + …
  • Interrogative: it is used to form the present perfect and the present perfect continuous;
    Have + subject + past participle + …?
    Have/has + subject + been + [verb + -ing] + …?

Past form

In its present form it has three forms:

  • Affirmative: it is used to form the past perfect and the past perfect continuous;
    Subject + had + past participle + …
    Subject + had + been + [verb + -ing] + …
  • Negative: it is used to form the past perfect and the past perfect continuous;
    Subject + had + not + past participle + …
    Subject + had + not + been + [verb + -ing] + …
  • Interrogative: it is used to form the past perfect and the past perfect continuous;
    Had + subject + past participle + …?
    Had + subject + been + [verb + -ing] + …?

Example

  1. To form the Present Perfect tense:
    • I’ve sold my car.
    • You have been thinking a lot. 
    • He has not understood what you said.
    • We haven’t been working hard enough. 
    • Haven’t you gotten up yet? We will be late.
    • Have they been buying tickets online for five years?
  2. To form the Past Perfect tense:
    • I had stayed in a hotel when I went to Scotland.
    • I had been travelling for many years before I decided to settle down. 
    • He had not seen a more beautiful woman in his life.
    • hadn’t been eating pizza all day. 
    • Had they enjoyed the party?
    • Had you been living here for long when you met me?

Use

Have as an auxiliary verb is used:

  1. to form the present perfect tense;
  2. to form the past perfect tense.

Summary

Have as an auxiliary verb is used to build the present perfect tense and the past perfect tense.

To form the present perfect, we use the present form of the verb to have; while to form the past perfect, we use the past form of the verb to have.

For example:
— “I have read the new book. = Present Perfect
— “He had not waited a long time before she arrived.”  = Past Perfect

Let’s revise this content within the {Form} section. Take a look at the {Example} section that shows its use within a context.

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