Auxiliary have

From Teflpedia

Auxiliary have is the use in English of "have" as an auxiliary verb, which is used to express the perfect aspect in the present tense and the past tense.


Without the progressive aspect[edit]

  • Present perfect:
    • Have you got a pen?
    • Yes, I have. No, I haven't.
  • I have got a pen.
  • I haven't got a pen.
  • past perfect
    • Had you got a pen?
    • Yes, I had. No, I hadn't.
  • I had got a pen.
  • I hadn't got a pen.

With the progressive aspect[edit]

With the progressive aspect, have is used as the first auxiliary verb and "be" as the second.

  • Present perfect continuous:
    • Have you been doing something?
    • Yes, I have // No, I haven't.
    • I have been doing something.
    • I haven't been doing something.


EFL learners usually encounter auxiliary have at low levels when they are taught "have got", which is typically treated as a special case. Only at pre-intermediate levels are they properly taught how to use the present perfect.

Note that when used as a lexical verb, lexical have is supported by auxiliary do. This can be a bit confusing for low-level EFL learners.