Contraction of 'have' meaning 'possession' ['ve]

Discussion in 'English Only' started by twinklestar, Sep 30, 2008.

  1. twinklestar

    twinklestar Senior Member

    Can I write "have" to "ve" in the following sentence?

    I've a book.

  2. vicky1027 Senior Member

    usa english
    I guess grammitcally you can say that, but it sounds awkward to me.

    "I have a book that I think you would enjoy reading."

    "I've got a book that I think you would enjoy reading."
  3. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    The City of New York
    USA - English
    You can write it that way if you would actually say it that way. Usually, though, (and there are exceptions) when "have" is contracted, it is the auxiliary verb "have", and not "have" meaning "to possess".
  4. twinklestar

    twinklestar Senior Member

    Thank you, guys.
  5. Matching Mole

    Matching Mole Senior Member

    England, English
    The contraction of "I have" is rarely said in such short sentences, particularly where "have" is the main verb and not an auxiliary one. For example: "I've got a lot of books", where the verb to get takes the place of the main verb, even though "have" is sufficient as the verb of possession. The verb to have may be abbreviated in longer sentences, even if it is the main verb: "I've a book you might be interested in". However this tends to be restricted to spoken English and, I think, is unlikely to be seen in writing.
  6. paintedhouse113 Member

    English - USA
    I've a book is English but not American English.
  7. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    In spoken English, it's said all the time. "I've been to England to see the Queen", "I've just bought a new car", etc.

    In casual writing such as letters or e-mails to friends and acquaintances, it would be perfectly acceptable. Google hits 694 million times on "I've".
  8. paintedhouse113 Member

    English - USA
    The difference between his example and yours is the nature of the verb, a transitive verb and an auxiliary. In the first case, at least in American English, it is unidiomatic; it may be true that in Canada I've a book is idiomatic.
  9. Gwan Senior Member

    Indre et Loire, France
    New Zealand, English
    Similar to what paintedhouse said, I've a book is reminiscent, for me, of Enid Blyton novels or similar. That is, it sounds like something a posh English child would say, not something I would say, although I recognise it as an acceptable form grammatically.

    I've been..., I've just... etc. (auxiliary verb) are of course common and idiomatic here, as elsewhere.
  10. giginho

    giginho Senior Member

    Svizzera / Torino
    Italiano & Piemontese
    Hi all!

    I dig up this thread just to add a little question:

    about the contraction of the verb to have, I've seen that it should not be used in the contracted form when it indicates a duty; for example: I have to go. Is it correct? Can I say: "I've to go" or does it sounds wierd?

    Thank you very much!

    Last edited: Dec 7, 2012
  11. Giorgio Spizzi Senior Member

    Hullo, Gigi.

    Yes, that would sound strange. You can say either "I have to go" or "I've got to go". In the latter case "have" is contracted because it functions as the auxiliary of the verb "get". In the former case you can't contract because it is not being used as an auxiliary.

    G(iorgione) S.
  12. giginho

    giginho Senior Member

    Svizzera / Torino
    Italiano & Piemontese
    Crystal clear, my friend!

    Thank you very much!
  13. Cagey post mod (English Only / Latin)

    English - US
    Here is a thread that shows the wide range of opinions on this topic:
    I have to admit / I've to admit - Contracted forms

    Some people agree with Giorgio Spizzi; some have different views.
  14. giginho

    giginho Senior Member

    Svizzera / Torino
    Italiano & Piemontese
    Thanks a lot, Cagey!
  15. emanko Senior Member

    Arabic- Egyptian
    Three years later,
    I hear natives say: We've a tree house NOT we have a tree house.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong.
  16. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    No, I don't think you are wrong, Emanko, except at the end, where you write that people don't say we have a tree house.

    I found a lot of this thread went against my experience of British English, but then a good deal of it came from Americans and they speak a different version of English. I'm not suggesting they are wrong.

    I could easily say either I've a book or I have a book depending on my mood, the time of day, my audience, or how emphatic I wished to sound.

    As for the so-called "I have" of duty: I could say either I've to go or I have to go; they carry slightly different implications.

    I've to go means I'm due to go, I've arranged to go. Often the duty is weak and has been imposed on me by myself, or by some external agreement or arrangement.

    I have to go can easily mean I must go, there is an external obligation on me to go. It's stronger than I've to go.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2015

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