have (got): possession, relationships etc

  • We can use have to talk about possession, relationships, illnesses, and the characteristics of people and things (for example in descriptions).
    We can use do in questions and negatives.
      They hardly have enough money to live on.
      Do you have any brothers or sisters?
      The Prime Minister had a bad cold.
      My grandmother didn’t have a very nice character.
  • In British English, we often use the structure I have gotio talk about possession, relationships etc. I have got means exactly the same as I have — it is a present tense, not a present perfect.
    Questions and negatives are made without do.
      They’ve hardly got enough money to live on.
      Have you got any brothers or sisters ? I haven’t got much hair.

    Got-forms are used mostly in the present: I had got is unusual. They are informal: we use them very often in conversation, but less often in, for example, serious writing.
    We do not use gof-forms to talk about repetition or habit. Compare:

      I’ve got toothache.
      I often have toothache. (NOT I’ve often got toothache.)
      We haven’t got any beer today, I’m afraid.
      We don’t often have beer in the house.
  • Note that we do not use progressive forms of have for these meanings.
      I have a headache. OR I’ve got a headache.
      (NOT I’m having a headache.)