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What are auxiliary verbs? Auxiliary verbs are ‘helping’ verbs that are divided into two main categories; The ‘main auxiliaries’ that are; ‘have, be and do’ and the ‘modal auxiliaries’ which are; ‘can, could, may, might, should, must, shall, will, would, ought to, need to and dare to‘. Dictionary definition of auxiliary verbs: ”accompanying another verb and typically expressing person, number, mood, or tense In; “I will go,” the word “will” is an auxiliary verb”.

Base form = have

Present form = have/has

Past form = had

Present participle/gerund = having

Past participle = had

(1) Have/has is used as an auxiliary verb to form ‘perfect’ forms in English. ‘Perfect’ forms are formed with have + past participle (appointed, sold, found, spoke etc.). The ‘perfect’ tenses in English are: 
The present perfect tense (have/has + past participle): 
  • He has been to the mall.
  • I haven’t seen her for ages.
  • David has left for France.
The past perfect tense (had + past participle): 
  • She had left the office before 18:00.
  • Had you taken your books to work yesterday before arriving?
  • They had been in traffic for ten hours before they managed to arrive home.
The present perfect continuous tense (have/has + been + verb + ing): 
  • She’s been speaking to me for an hour on the phone. I’m exhausted…
  • How long have you been living in the United States for?
  • I’ve been speaking French my whole life.
The past perfect continuous tense (had + been + verb + ing): 
  • We had been driving for fifteen hours straight last week.
  • Had you been emailing her when I saw you on Tuesday?
  • My friends at school had been acting quite rude when I saw them last week.
The future perfect tense (will/shall + have + past participle): 
  • My aunty shall have arrived at the airport at five o’clock tonight.
  • The won’t have spoken a word of English when they wake up tonight.
  • When I get to the city centre I’ll have run out of petrol.
The future perfect continuous tense (will/shall + have + been + verb + ing): 
  • Will we have been sleeping for thirteen hours by the time we get to Sydney?
  • I shall have been living in Scotland for eight years by 2025.
  • He’ll have been talking on his phone for nearly three hours by the time we finally get to our destination.
 (2) We use to have to show ownership and possession of objects, relationships, states etc..
  • have a friend who lives in Spain.
  • She has a new car.
  • have a girlfriend.
(3) We use to have to talk about experiences and actions.
  • The lady is going to have a beer with us tonight.
  • I’m going to have a shower now.
  • He has a lot of work to do.
(4) We use to have with to + infinitive to express an obligation.
  • have to clean the garage by 18h tonight.
  • They have to learn English.
  • He still has to learn a lot.

Have or have got

(5) have + got is a more informal way of using to have. Note, we do not use do in questions and negatives with got the past simple and past participle of the verb: get.
  • She has got herself a brand-new house.
  • Today Ive got an appointment with him.
  • I‘ve got thee new toys.

We don’t usually use ‘got’ (the past of ‘get’) in the past tense. For example, it would be incorrect to say; ‘did you get good results last week’? It would be better to say ‘did you have good results last week’?

“Do have” vs. “Have got”

To ask questions with the verb ‘to have’, it is correct to use both the usual “do (+ subject) have” or the alternative form “have (+ subject) got”. The connotation of the chosen form can, however, change with the dialect. Traditionally, in British English, the form “do have” implies habitualness and repetition, while the other meanings use the “have got” form. For example:

  • Do you have band practice on Tuesday nights?
  • Has she got a big house?

While, in American English, only the form “do have” is used in both meanings. However, in modern day British English, it is becoming increasingly common to use “do have” regardless because of the influence of American speech.

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