UK:*UK and possibly other pronunciationsUK and possibly other pronunciations full: /ˈhæv/, weak: /həv/, elided: /ˈhæd/
WordReference Collins English Usage © 2020
Have is one of the most common verbs in English. It is used in many different ways. Its other forms are has, having, had.
used as an auxiliary verb
Have is often an auxiliary verb.
They have just bought a new car.
She has never been to Rome.
Having been warned beforehand, I knew how to react.
Have, has, and had are not usually pronounced in full when they come after a pronoun or noun. When you write down what someone says, you usually represent have, has, and had as 've, 's, and 'd after a pronoun. You can also represent has as 's after a noun.
I've changed my mind.
She's become a teacher.
I do wish you'd met Guy.
Ralph's told you often enough.
Have to is often used to say that someone must do something.
I have to speak to your father.
He had to sit down because he felt dizzy.
➜ See must
actions and activities
Have is often used in front of a noun phrase to say that someone does something.
Did you have a look at the shop when you were there?
I'm going to have a bath.
➜ See have - take
causing something to be done
Have can also be used to say that someone arranges for something to be done. When have is used like this, it is followed by a noun phrase and an -ed participle.
We've just had the house decorated.
They had him killed.
Have is often used to show possession.
He had a small hotel.
You have beautiful eyes.
Do you have any brothers or sisters?
In conversation and less formal writing, have got can be used instead of ‘have’ to show possession.
She's got two sisters.
Have you got any information about bus times, please?
➜ See have got
using a simple tense
Don't use a progressive form in any of the following ways:
• Don't use a progressive form when you are talking about ownership. For example, don't say ‘I am having a collection of old coins’. Say ‘I have a collection of old coins’ or ‘I’ve got a collection of old coins'.
We haven't got a car.
• Don't use a progressive form when you are talking about relationships. Don't say ‘I am having three sisters’ or ‘I am having a lot of friends’.
They have one daughter.
I've got loads of friends.
• Don't use a progressive form to say that someone or something has a particular feature. For example, don't say ‘He is having a beard’.
He has nice eyes.
He had beautiful manners.
The door's got a lock on it.
• Don't use a progressive form to say that someone has an illness or disease. For example, don't say ‘She is having a bad cold’.
He had a headache.
Sam's got measles.
• Don't use a progressive form to say how much time someone has in which to do something. For example, don't say ‘He is having plenty of time to get to the airport’.
I haven't got time to go to the library.
He had only a short time to live.
I hope I'll have time to finish it.
using a progressive form
Here are some ways in which you do use a progressive form of have:
• You use a progressive form to say that an activity is taking place. For example, you say ‘He is having a bath at the moment’. Don't say ‘He has a bath at the moment’.
The children are having a party.
I was having a chat with an old friend.
• You use a progressive form to say that an activity will take place at a particular time in the future. For example, you can say ‘I’m having lunch with Barbara tomorrow'.
We're having a party tonight.
She's having a baby next month.
• You also use a progressive form to talk about continuous or repeated actions, events, or experiences. For example, you can say ‘I am having driving lessons’.
I was already having problems.
Neither of us was having any luck.
You're having a very busy time.
have - take
Have and take are both commonly used with nouns as their objects to indicate that someone performs an action or takes part in an activity. With some nouns, you can use either have or take with the same meaning. For example, you can say ‘Have a look at this’ or ‘Take a look at this’. Similarly, you can say ‘We have our holidays in August’ or ‘We take our holidays in August’.
There is often a difference between British and American usage. For example, British speakers usually say ‘He had a bath’, while American speakers say ‘He took a bath’.
I'm going to have a bath.
I took a bath, my second that day.
When talking about some activities, American speakers often use take. For example, they say ‘He took a walk’ or ‘She took a nap’. British speakers would say ‘He went for a walk’ or ‘She had a nap’.
Brody decided to take a walk.
I went out on the verandah and took a nap.
After dinner we went for a ride.
She's going for a swim.
'have' also found in these entries:
ability - able - about - according to - accustomed to - affect - afford - afraid - after all - afternoon - ago - agree - aim - alive - alone - already - also - alternate - although - amount - and - another - answer - anxious - any - anything - any time - anyway - anywhere - apologize - appear - apply - approve - arrive - ask - assignment - as well as - aural - awake - bad - bath - be - bear - because - become - before - behind - believe - beside - better