Changing the word Has to Have when forming an interrogative sentence.


Okay, can someone give me a simple explanation that ESL students will understand for the following scenario? Affirmative sentence: Jack has breakfast every morning at 8am. Interrogative sentence: Does Jack have breakfast every morning at 8am? Why do we change the word has to have - what's the rule? Thanks!

asked May 31 '13 at 13:28 Kay New member

2 answers


The simplest possible explanation: when making questions or negative statements using the do verb (which is necessary when there is only one verb in the affirmative sentence, for example, have in your example sentence), the present or past tense and the subject-verb agreement affects do, not the main verb!  The main verb changes to base form (there are several terms for this form, for example, base verb, infinitive form, infinitive-without-to, or dictionary form. They all refer to the same form, unfortunately. It is embarrassing, frankly, that grammarians cannot agree what to call this form, but basically it is the word that anyone would look up in the dictionary: we don't look up has in the dictionary, we look up have.  We don't look up ate in the dictionary, we look up eat.  So it is that form that goes with the do verb, and do (which is called an auxiliary or helping verb when making questions or negative statements) is changed to agree with the subject and to render the sentence or question past or present.  I hope this helps, but if you want more information, please check out this link:

link comment edited May 31 '13 at 15:16 Shawn Mooney Expert

I tell students to look for CLUES in a sentence, especially with verb forms. In your example, do/did/does (helping verbs) are always followed by a base form verb (main verb). Thus 'has' (3rd person singular, present simple) changes to the base form 'have' because of the CLUE 'does'. Other clues for the base form are: modal verbs (can, will, etc.), and also the imperative. In addition, the clues for a past participle are: has/have/had. It helps for students to know verb forms (base, past simple, past and present participles) and their 'clues'.

link comment answered Jun 01 '13 at 03:36 Ahmad Barnard Expert

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