Avoir

Have a French Verb

Avoir is one of the two most important French verbs (être is the other one) and has irregular conjugations in just about every tense and mood. Avoir literally means "to have," but also serves an an auxiliary verb and is found in many idiomatic expressions.

Avoir = to have, possess

J’ai une voiture bleue.   I have a blue car.
As-tu un numéro portable ?   Do you have a cell phone number?

Avoir = to have, be experiencing, be suffering from

J’ai mal au dos.   I have a backache.
Il a la grippe.   He has the flu.

Avoir = to have, dupe, con

J’ai été eu.   I’ve been had.
Je t’ai bien eu !   I got you!

Avoir = auxiliary verb

For the vast majority of French verbs, avoir serves as the auxiliary verb in the compound tenses and moods.

Nous avons déjà mangé.   We’ve already eaten.
Auras-tu fini avant midi ?   Will you have finished before noon?
S’il avait vendu la voiture, il vous aurez remboursé.   If he’d sold the car, he would have reimbursed you.

Potential French mistake Avoir = to be

In more than a dozen common phrases, avoir is equivalent to "be" in English.

avoir __ ans   to be __ (years old)
avoir chaud   to be hot
avoir de la chance   to be lucky
avoir faim   to be hungry
avoir froid   to be cold
avoir honte   to be ashamed
avoir l’habitude de   to be in the habit of, used to
avoir mal au cœur   to be sick to one’s stomach
avoir mal de mer   to be seasick
avoir __ mètres (de haut, de long)   to be __ meters (high, long)
avoir peur   to be afraid
avoir raison   to be right
avoir soif   to be thirsty
avoir sommeil   to be sleepy
avoir tort   to be wrong
il y a   there is, there are

Avoir in idiomatic expressions

Avoir is found in many idiomatic expressions; here are just a few:

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Avoir - to have


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