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Using the verb have correctly

The verb have is a tricky word for English learners, it can be used in sentences as the main verb; I have a daughter, or can be used in sentences as a helping verb; I have been to England. Sometimes it can be both; They have had a long day. Particularly difficult are the negative and question forms using have as the main verb; I don’t have time or How long do I have to wait?


In these exercises we will practice using have in the present simple, past simple and present perfect. I’ll assume that you understand which tense is used for, so this is simply about using the correct form, but if you do need to look at the rules again then have a look at the post Essential English Tenses for German Speakers.

Below is a table with the correct form of the verb to have when it is used as the main verb in the present simple, past simple or present perfect.

Having looked at the table above, I'll list some of the most common errors that people make, the idea being that if you know what is incorrect, then you would have another prompt to re-think the correct form.

  • (X) I haven't time today. (haven't is never used in the Present Simple, but it is used in the Present Perfect).

  • (X) I hadn't time yesterday. (hadn't is never used in the Past Simple, but it is used in the Past Perfect).

  • (X) They haven't has time yesterday. (note in this case the incorrect word is has).

Exercise: To practice using have correctly, translate the following sentences from German into English using the correct form of have. Remember to pay attention to the tense that is being used, it is either the present simple, past simple, or present perfect. The answers are below.

  1. Ich habe im Moment eine Menge Arbeit zu erledigen.

  2. Er hat einen Firmenwagen.

  3. Die Firma hatte letztes Jahr ein erfolgreiches Quartal.

  4. Er hatte eine tolle Idee für die neue Marketingkampagne.

  5.  Wir haben viele gute Rückmeldungen von Kunden bekommen.

  6. Er hat genug Zeit gehabt, um eine Entscheidung zu treffen.

  7. sie haben keinen freien Besprechungsraum.

  8. Wir haben keine Zeit, uns heute zu treffen.

  9. Unser Team hatte nicht genug Zeit, um den Bericht fertig zu stellen.

  10. Sie hatte nicht die nötigen Qualifikationen für die Stelle.

  11.  Ich hatte in letzter Zeit nicht viel Zeit.

  12. sie hatten keine Zeit, auf meine E-Mail zu antworten.

  13.  Hast du die neueste Version von Microsoft Teams? 

  14. Hat er meine E-Mail-Adresse?

  15.  Hat das Unternehmen im letzten Monat einen Gewinnanstieg gehabt?

  16. Hatte unser Team Schwierigkeiten gehabt, den Termin einzuhalten?

The answers:

  1. I have a lot of work to do at the moment.

  2. He has a company car.

  3. The company had a successful quarter last year.

  4. He had a great idea for the new marketing campaign.

  5. We have had a lot of good feedback from clients.

  6. He has had enough time to make a decision.

  7. They don't have a free meeting room.

  8. We don't have time to meet today.

  9. Our team didn't have enough time to finalize the report.

  10. She didn't have the necessary qualifications for the position.

  11. I haven’t had a lot of time recently.

  12. They haven’t had time to respond to my email.

  13. Do you have the latest version of Microsoft Teams? 

  14. Does he have my email address? 

  15. Did the company have a profit increase last month?

  16. Did our team have any difficulties meeting the deadline?

  17. Have you had any new ideas for the project?

  18. Has he had a chance to read the report?

Links to all further exercises related the tenses, as well as exercises related to other frequent sources of errors for German speakers can be found here - 

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