Having, Owning and Possessing

To have, to own and to possess are verbs. The “ing” form is called the present participle or gerund.


These are three important verbs which express having. You can say:

I have a car
I own a car.
I possess a car.


The first one is a common way to say you are in possession of something but it might not technically be yours. You might have a car that you have borrowed. You have the car but you do not own it.


The second one (own) refers to ownership. It means that you technically own the car. It means you have paid for it, or received it as a gift.


The third one could refer to having in possession or owning. It is not clear. It is a word which is seen mostly in writing and less commonly in spoken English.

Idioms with the Verb “to have”

There are many idiomatic expressions which make use of the verb “to have”

Eating, Drinking and Smoking

The verb “have” can mean, eat, drink or smoke:


They had a big meal.
I didn’t have lunch.
He had too much to eat.


I had a beer.
She had a coffee.
They had too much to drink.


I have not had a cigarette for years.
He had a whole packet of cigarettes last night.
Do you want to have a smoke?

Verbs Become Nouns with “to have”

There are many situations where we take a verb and make it a noun then add “to have”:

Rhino Eye
at nicklawes

Looking at Something

I looked at the elephant.
I had a look at the elephant.

Listening to Something

I listened to the new song that he had written.
I had a listen to the new song that he had written.

Trying Something.

I tried the new game.
I had a go at the new game.

I tried out his new motorcycle.
I had a go on his new motorcycle.

Link to audio of a conversation about motorcycles.

Being, Doing and Having as Auxiliary Verbs

Present Perfect Tense -have, has

“To have” is also a common auxiliary verb. We use it in present perfect tense:

I have been to more than fifty countries.

Which countries have you been to?

Tell us which countries you have been to in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

Present Continuous Tense – be, am, is are

I am studying English.
He is working in the city.
They are living in the country.
It is good to be alive.

Present Simple Tense – do, does

Do you speak English?
Which languages do you speak?
Does he understand?
Do they know what we are talking about?

Keep Studying by Clicking the Links

Life is Beautiful

You can find more lessons by clicking these links
Understanding Grammar

Present Perfect Tense

The Food Page
Present Continuous Tense


A Conversation about Motorcycles

A Conversation on the Golf Course

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