This article is to clear up about “have” and “had.” I’ve had a number of people telling me they don’t understand where to use it. So here is a review of the main tenses with have.
In present simple, “have” means you are the owner of something. Or it is something that belongs to you.
I have a bag full of books.
Rudolf has a beautiful red cat.
The Hoskins have a big house.
We have meetings every Thursday afternoon.
As you’ve noted, in the second sentence I didn’t use “have,” but “has.” That’s because in present simple, “have” changes to “has” for he, she, and it.
Rudolf has a beautiful red cat. (Rudolf = he)
She has brown hair.
The dog has a fresh bone. (the dog = it)
Fill in have or has:
1 My brother and I ___________ the same eyes.
2 My friend ___________ a blue bike.
3 Walter __________ a nice smile.
4 This telephone _______ an old case.
5 Mickey ___________ an easy phone number.
6 The chickens ________ enough food for the day.
7 The doctor ________ unreadable handwriting.
You’ll find the answers at the bottom of this page.
You use “had” in the past simple. When someone had something in the past, it means something belonged to them.
He had an important day at the office.
They had a great holiday last summer.
For questions, use “did” and “have.”
Did you have a nice vacation this month?
What did you have for lunch?
For negative sentences, use “did” and “not” and “have.”
He didn’t have any change.
Choose the Simple Present or Simple Past of have. In some sentences you must use the negative.
1 This hospital ________ 700 beds.
2 __________ you __________ fun at the party?
3 Yes, we _________ a great time at the party.
4 Why _____________ Morris _____________ his bag with him?
5 English people often ________ a sandwich with their tea.
6 Bernie _________ breakfast at 8 o’clock.
7 He ____________________ breakfast today, because he was too busy.
8 You __________ two sisters, don’t you?
9 Her parents never ___________ time for her, because they were always working.
You’ll find the answers at the end of this page.
Have and had in perfect tenses
You also use “have” and “has” in present perfect. And you use “had” in past perfect. Here is where you can get confused.
If you’re a beginner, stop reading now. Practise simple present and simple past first, until you know them perfectly.
In present perfect you need to use “has” or “have” plus a verb in the third form.
have talked – Have you talked to your mother today?
has eaten – Mannie has eaten four biscuits since he came home.
Past perfect is like present perfect, but you use “had” plus a verb in the third form.
The past perfect is used to indicate a time before a certain time in the past.
Dorothea had worked as a journalist before she became a publicist.
I hadn’t seen Tim for a long time, but he was still a handsome guy.
Note: You may abbreviate “have” to “’ve” as in: I’ve many things to do today.
“has” may be abbreviated to “’s” as in: Yoshi’s just been to the bakery.
Use Present Perfect or Past Perfect with the verbs between brackets:
1 He ________ never _____________ (see) his father, until they got acquainted when he was 17.
2 I _____________________ (know) Suzy from when we were in school.
3 The team _______________ (won) all their games this season.
4 I ____________________ (warn) him not to come too close to the dog.
5 She ______________________ (not have) as much fun as when she was in love for the first time.
6 You ________________ late to work too many times this month. You’re fired!
7 Mr. Fisher ________________ (wanted) to go to his favourite hotel in St. Tropez one last time, but sadly he died.
8 Things ___________________ (change) a lot in his hometown. He realized this when he visited it again after five years.
You’ll find the answers when you scroll down.
Exercise 1 (Easy):
Exercise 2 (Intermediate)
2 Did you have
4 Why does Morris have or: Why doesn’t Morris have
7 didn’t have
Exercise 3 (Advanced):
1 had never seen
2 have known
3 has won
4 had warned
5 hadn’t had
6 have been
7 had wanted
8 had changed