French verbs

Verb Avoir (to have) – How to use it?

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Avoir is an irregular French verb that means “to have”. It is one of the most used  French verbs which also include:  être, aller and faire. This is the verb of the third group, irregular verb, and its conjugation must be memorized.

  • J’ai deux voitures > I have two cars.
  • Elena a trois frères > Elena has 3 brothers.
  • J’ai une idée > I have an idea.

Avoir is used in a number of expressions, many of which are translated by the English verb “to be”. Below are some of them:

  • avoir faim — to be hungry
  • avoir soif — to be thirsty
  • avoir raison — to be right (avoir une raison — to have a reason)
  • avoir peur de … — to be scared of…
  • avoir besoin de … have a need for something…
  • avoir chaud / froid — to be cold/hot
  • avoir sommeil — to be sleepy
  • avoir __ ans to be __ years old
  • avoir raison / tort — to be right/wrong
  • avoir envie de — to want

Some abstract expressions require a partial article (de or du — it is not a preposition):

  • avoir du courage — to be brave
  • avoir de la chance — to be lucky
  • avoir l’habitude de … — to have a habit to do something
  • avoir la patience de … — to have the patience to do something
  • avoir le droit de … — to have a right to do something

Avoir + à + Infinitif

Avoir + à + Infinitif – This formula is used for the need or obligation to do something. In English, we say “I need to …”

j’ai un texte à traduire — I need to translate the text

Avoir is an auxiliary verb, which combines with the past participle of the primary verb for most French verbs to form a compound tense, such as “passé composé”. Verbs that don’t use avoir, use être as their auxiliary verb.

📌And one more important grammatical moment: after the verb avoir in the negative form, all the articles are replaced with the preposition de.

  • J’ai un frère – Je n’ai pas de frère
  • Nous avons un fils – Nous n’avons pas de fils

Hope this article was useful for you and informative. Do you know other expressions with AVOIR? Also share your thoughts, which makes you struggle in learning french, so we will be covering those topics in the next article.

A bientôt nos amis!

Yana Solodkova

Yana Solodkova

Founder of Choice to Speak & Choice to Travel. Business Analyst. Hyperflexible stubborn.

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