Here are some ways to talk about possession in English.
Verb “to have”
“I have two children.”
“He has a beautiful house in London.”
Remember: “have” is a normal verb in English. Use the auxiliary “do” and “does” in the present tense to make questions, and “don’t” and “doesn’t” to make negatives. Use “did” in the past tense to make questions, and “didn’t” to make negatives.
“Do you have any money?”
“Does he have any children?”
“We don’t have much time.”
“She doesn’t have a big car.”
“Did he have a good holiday?”
“We didn’t have a holiday last year.”
Verb “have got”
You can also use “have got” in the present tense to talk about possessions.
I have got a new car.
You have got a nice house.
He / she has got an important job.
We have got pizza for dinner.
They have got two beautiful children,
I’ve got a new car.
You’ve got a nice house.
He’s got / She’s got an important job.
We’ve got pizza for dinner.
They’ve got two beautiful children.
“Have got” is a two-part verb, and “have” (or “has” for he / she / it) acts as the auxiliary. This means you don’t use “do” or “does” in questions. Like the verb “to be” and modal auxiliaries, change the word order to make a question.
I have got = Have I got…?
You have got = Have you got…?
He / she has got = Has she / he got…?
We have got = Have we got…?
They have got = Have they got…?
Have I got time to go shopping before the film starts?
Have you got room in your bag for my phone?
Has he got any children?
Have we got a bottle of water for the car journey?
Have they got a new car?
Yes, I have / No, I haven’t
Yes, you have / No, you haven’t
Yes, he / she has / No, he / she hasn’t
Yes, we have / No, we haven’t
Yes, they have / No, they haven’t
Make “have got” negative with the negative form of “have:
I haven’t got time.
You haven’t got time.
He / she hasn’t got time.
We haven’t got time.
They haven’t got time.
In the past
You can’t use “haven’t got” for past possession. Use the past form of the verb “have”: “had“.
Last year I had a lot more time.
(Not “Last year I had got a lot more time.”)
Other uses of have / have got in English
-To talk about illnesses
She has the flu.
She has got the flu.
– To talk about obligation
I have to study for the exam.
I’ve got to study for the exam.
– In different situations
I have / have got
… an idea
… a suggestion / proposal
… a feeling that…
… brown hair and blue eyes
Avoid these common mistakes with have / have got
1. “I haven’t any brothers or sisters.”
Remember: the negative form is either “I haven’t got” or “I don’t have”.
2. “Have you got a new coat?”
“Yes, I have got.”
Remember: the short form of “have got” is “have”. You can’t abbreviate it to “I’ve”.
3. “Last week I had got a bad cold.”
Remember: in the past tense, use “have” not “have got”.
We also use ‘s to talk about possession.
Sarah’s eyes are blue.
John and Jane’s children are very tall.
1. We generally use ‘s for people, not things.
John’s car is big.
But for things, use two nouns without ‘s, or “of”:
“The car windows are dirty.” Or “The windows of the car are dirty.”
Not “The car’s windows are dirty”.
2. Put ‘s after a singular noun and after an irregular plural noun.
My son’s bedroom. (One son, one bedroom.)
The women’s football team. (More than one woman, one football team.)
Put ‘ (apostrophe only) after a regular, plural noun.
My sons’ bedroom. (More than one son, one bedroom.)
The girls’ school. (More than one girl, one school = a school for many girls)
3. When you refer to the possession of two people, put ‘s after the second person.
Susan and Tom‘s children.
Other ways to talk about your possessions
She owns a sports car.
I own a mountain bike.
The person who owns something is “the owner”.
“Can the owner of the blue Smart please come to reception?”
Who does this scarf belong to?
The red car belongs to my husband.
That book is mine.
Those keys are yours.
(For more information on mine, yours, his, hers, ours and theirs, see our page on Pronouns and possessives.)
Have and Have Got Exercise
Choose the correct answer.
Now go on to the next page to learn essential vocabulary to talk about your body: English Vocabulary: Parts of the Body