Have Verb In Past Tense: 7 Facts You Should Know


Have in English language is one of the primary auxiliary verbs. We shall explore in this article, how the base form of the verb ‘have’ is changed to be used in past tense.

The past tense form of the auxiliary verb ‘have’ is ‘had’. ‘Have’, ‘has’ and ‘had’ fall under the class of ‘to have’ verbs. The auxiliary verb ‘had’ is utilized in the past tense while framing simple past, past perfect and past perfect continuous tense sentences.

We will go through some of the most interesting and important facts about the have verb in past tense.

Forms of have verb used in past tense

While ‘have’ is the base verb and it is used in present tense, we shall here see what form it takes in the past tense.

‘Had’ is the only form of the ‘have’ verb in the past tense. The form ‘had’ is utilized to form sentences in various past tenses such as, simple past, past perfect and past perfect continuous.

How have verbs are used in past tense?

Have verbs fall under the primary auxiliary category and thus perform dual role. Let us now see what are the two ways in which have verbs are used in past tense.

The past tense form of the have verb ‘had’ can be used both as a main verb and as a helping verb (auxiliary verb) used along with the main verb.

Example: Priya had a brown teddy bear when she was a child.

In this sentence, the past tense of the have verb ‘had’ is utilized as a main verb to denote the possession of the brown teddy bear to Priya when she was a child (in the past tense). Here, the verb ‘had’ is used to form the simple past tense.

Example: I had read this book long back.

In this sentence, the past tense of the have verb ‘had’ is used as a helping verb along with the main verb ‘read’ to form the past perfect tense of the main verb ‘read’, thus making the sentence as a past perfect sentence.

When have verbs are used in past tense?

We shall here see at what places and when we will use the have verbs in past tense.

Have verbs are used in past tense when we need to frame a sentence in simple past, past perfect and past perfect continuous tenses.

Example: Rupali had a dog.

In this sentence, ‘had’, the past tense of the have verb is used as a main verb to form the sentence in simple past tense by showing the possession of a dog to Rupali.

Example: Mr. Singh had completed the project.

In this sentence, ‘had’, the past tense of the have verb is used as a helping verb along with the main verb ‘completed’ to form the past perfect tense.

Example: Sangeetha had been playing volley ball.

In this sentence, ‘had’, the past tense of the have verb is used as a helping verb along with the main verb ‘playing’ to form the past perfect continuous tense.

Why have verbs are used in past tense?

We will now see the reason why have verbs are utilized in past tense.

‘Had’, the past tense of the have verb is used as a main verb to indicate the possession or belongingness of a person, place, thing or an animal to another noun (person, thing, place or animal) and as a helping verb to express the past perfect tenses.

ExamplesTense Used
Sandhana had a red cloak. Simple Past Tense
Sandhana had visited Delhi many times.Past Perfect Tense
Sandhana had been visiting Delhi many times.Past perfect continuous Tense
‘Had’ Examples

Formula and structure of have verbs used in past tense

There are particular ways in which the past tense of have verbs must be used in a sentence. Let us go through how ‘had’ is used in sentences.

The formula and structure of have verbs used in past tense are as follows.

Type of SentenceStructure/ FormulaExamplesExplanations
1. Simple Past affirmative sentenceSubject + had + object + remaining part of the sentenceThe family had a palatial mansion once upon a time.The family (Subject) + had + a palatial mansion (Object) + once upon a time (Remaining sentence)
2. Simple Past negative sentenceSubject + had + no + object + remaining part of the sentenceThe child had no toys to play with.The child (Subject) + had + no + toys (Object) + to play with (Remaining sentence)
3. Simple Past interrogative sentenceHad + subject + no + object + remaining part of the sentenceHad she no pencil with him?Had + she(Subject) + no + pencil (Object) + with him (Remaining sentence)
4. Past Perfect affirmative and negative sentenceSubject + had + past participle of the main verb + not (used in case of negative sentence) + object + remaining part of the sentence.a. Ramesh had eaten lunch in my house.
b. Ramesh had not eaten lunch in my house.
Ramesh (Subject) + had + eaten (past participle of main verb ‘eat’) + not (in ‘b’ sentence) + lunch (Object) + in my house (Remaining sentence)
5. Past Perfect Continuous affirmative and negative sentenceSubject + had + not (used in case of negative sentence) been + main verb + ing + object + remaining part of the sentence.a. Vihaan had been playing basketball since afternoon.
b. Vihaan had not been playing basketball since afternoon.
Vihaan (Subject) + had + not (in sentence ‘b’) + been + play (main verb) + ing + basketball (Object) + since afternoon (Remaining sentence)
Have verbs used in past tense structure and formula

Examples of have verbs used in past tense

Let us go through the sentences where have verbs are used in past tense.

  • 1. I had a red color toy car when I was five years old.
  • 2. Sumati had performed very well in the annual day function.
  • 3. Varsha had not been visiting us regularly.
  • 4. Saurav had no books in his school bag.
  • 5. Our team had played extremely well.
  • 6. It had been raining heavily since yesterday night.
  • 7. The girl on the last row had been looking at you for a long time now.
  • 8. The students had not taken the warning seriously.
  • 9. The entire class had submitted their assignments on time.
  • 10. Our opponent team had many talented players.
  • 11. The school had been closed since a long time.

In all the above sentences, ‘had’, past tense of the have verb is utilized either as a primary main verb to denote or indicate belongingness or as a helping verb along with the main verb to denote the various past tenses.

Conclusion

Thus from the above article we got to know that ‘had’, the past tense of the have verb is utilized to denote ownership or an action that took place in the past.

Sowndharya Jagadeeswaran

Hi... I am Sowndharya Jagadeeswaran, a university rank holder in M.A. English Literature. I have also done my master's in Business Administration. Inquisitive as I am, my interest in action-oriented research helped me publish research papers in reputed journals. Now, as a career, I am an instructor where I teach young and adorable students the intricate technicalities of Public Speaking and Creative Writing. I also enjoy writing articles on topics I specialize and research in. You can connect with me through LinkedIn.-https://www.linkedin.com/in/sowndharya-j-972378233

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