When your Chinese friends say “He have eaten” instead of “he has eaten”, you can laugh. But not for too long. When you find out have, has, and had are the same word in Chinese, you’ll be wondering why you had to learn three different words just to convey the same meaning. Who’s laughing now.
Have, has, had are the same in Chinese
Take it easy on your friend, it’s just that they have a more efficient language as their native tongue that also doesn’t confuse everyone. To them, all they’ve ever known is 有 (yǒu), the word for “to have”. They’ve never learned “has” or “had” because it doesn’t exist in Chinese.
有 (yǒu) is merely the word for possession. Its form does not change, only the words around it.
How to use 有
In Chinese, 有 (yǒu) means “to have”, or to possess. If you wanted to say “I have money”, it would be 我有钱 (wǒ yǒu qián). If you were to say “He has money”, it would be 他有钱 (tā yǒu qián). The word 有 stays the same whether it was “have” or “has”. If you were to say “I had money”, it would be 我有过钱 (wǒ yǒu guò qián). This time there is an added word, 过 (guò), that indicates the passing of time.
To go from “have” to “had”, you only need to add a simple word to indicate the action occurred in the past. And this word can be used for almost any other verb as well. Much easier than learning different tenses of specific words.
Next time you’re confused about which form of “have” you should use, just remember that in Chinese, they are all the same word. It’s not too late to learn!