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English Grammar: The Past Tense of HAVE

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A basic, important grammar lesson for anyone learning English! Do we say “he didn’t have” or “he didn’t has”? If you are not sure of the correct form of the verb, this lesson is for you. It's a good idea to solidify basic, essential grammar concepts. In this lesson, I will teach you how to use the past tense of the commonly confused verb “to have” in affirmative, negative, and question forms. Practice with me and master this important verb! After watching, take the opportunity to practice what you've learned by doing the quiz at http://www.engvid.com/english-grammar-the-past-tense-of-have/ . No more embarrassing mistakes for you!

TRANSCRIPT

Hi. I'm Rebecca from engVid, and this is a lesson for English learners of all levels, so whether you're a beginner, intermediate, advanced, or somewhere in between, this lesson I believe will help you. Why? Because in this lesson I'm going to review the verb "to have" in the past tense. Now, as you probably know because you've been speaking English, the verb "to have" is a very important verb for two reasons. First of all, we use it by itself for lots and lots of things. And secondly, because we also use it not only by itself, but as a helping verb with some of the advanced tenses. Right? With the perfect tenses. But we're not going to go into that. We're just focusing here on how to use the verb "to have" in the past tense, because this is also something where a lot of students make mistakes, but not you after just a few minutes. So, let's get started.

Okay. So, what is important here is that actually in English the past tense becomes very easy, and a lot easier than many other languages. Why? Because with whatever subject we have you have to use only one verb. You don't have to change the verb based on the subject. So, in the past tense... Remember this is not the present tense. In the past tense the verb "to have" becomes "had". Okay? Say it after me: "had". Good. So in other words, I'm going to give you a very simple sentence. Okay? Because we're going to say it very often. So let's keep it simple. Always keep it simple when you're trying to learn one point; don't mix it up with lots of other points. Don't put hard vocabulary. Okay?

So: "I had fun.", "You had fun.", "We had fun.", "They had fun.", "He had fun.", "She had fun.", and "It (the cat/the dog) had fun." Okay? All right. Now, so you see how simple it is? What you have to learn is that the verb "have" in a positive sentence becomes "had". And we can use "had" with every subject. All right?

Now, what happens when we make it negative? This is where some students get a little bit confused because they remember this, and then they try to put this here, but that's not the case. What happens when we make a negative sentence and when we make a question is that we come back to the base form of the verb. What's the base form of our verb? "To have", right? So if you want to make a negative sentence, then we simply say: "I didn't have fun.", "You didn't have fun.", "We didn't have fun.", "They didn't have fun." You see? It's basically staying the same, but we're using "have". We're not using "had" anymore. Okay? "He didn't have fun.", "She didn't have fun.", "It didn't have fun." Okay? We'll just pretend there's an it. So what's important is this "have". All right? Come back to the base form of the verb, but not here.

Now, the same thing will happen when we have a question. We're going to come back to the base form of our verb. So it's quite simple then. "Did I have fun?" I don't know. I think so. "Did you have fun?", "Did we have fun?", "Did they have fun?", "Did he have fun?", "Did she have fun?", "Did it have fun?" Okay? All right.

Now, that's basically it. It's not more complicated than that. Remember that in the positive sentences we use "had", and after that come back to the base form, but use "did" or "didn't". Now, just to review, this "didn't have" stands for "did not". Okay? But usually in conversation we don't say: "He did not have fun." We just say: "He didn't have fun." That's the contraction, the short form. And here we can use the word "did" and that's what we usually use, and it's important to use it. We can't just say: "You have fun?" That would be wrong. Okay? So remember to put "did" in there. You could also, by the way, ask a negative question. So you could say: "Didn't you have fun? I thought you would love that movie." Okay? So you could ask a negative question. But if that's confusing to you, don't worry about it. Okay? You don't have to do it. And the other thing to remember is that when we add a question word, we still keep this order. What do I mean? For example: "When did they...?" Okay? "When did they have the meeting?" Okay? "Where did they have the meeting?" Right? So whether it's saying: "When? Where? Who did they meet?"-right?-we're still keeping this construction. We're just adding a question word before that.

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