The Verb 有 (yǒu) and How to Use It

The verb 有 (yǒu) is one of the most frequent in Chinese and has two main uses: “to have” and “there is / there are”.

We’ll also learn how to form negative sentences with the verb 有, since unlike other verbs, it doesn’t use 不.

The verb 有 in the sense of “to have”

This is the most frequent use. People use it to talk about something they own.

  • He has four kids.
    四个孩子。(Tā yǒu sì gè háizi.)
  • We have an old car.
    我们一辆旧车。(Wǒmen yǒu yī liàng jiù chē.)
  • I have the answer!
    答案!Wǒ yǒu dá’àn!

有 (yǒu) in the sense of “there is/are”

  • Today there’s a lot of people at the museum.
    今天博物馆里很多人。(Jīntiān bówùguǎn li yǒu hěnduō rén.)
  • There are four books on the table.
    四本书。(Zhuō shàng yǒu sì běn shū.)
  • When I was a kid, in my house there were two dogs.
    小时候,我家两只狗。(Xiǎoshíhòu, wǒjiā yǒu liǎng zhī gǒu.)

How to deny the verb 有 (yǒu)

As we mentioned at the beginning, unlike other verbs, we don’t deny 有 (yǒu) with 不 (bù) but with the partícula 没 (méi).

  • She has no problem.
    没有问题。(Tā méiyǒu wèntí.)
  • We haven’t money.
    我们没有钱。(Wǒmen méiyǒu qián.)
  • There’s no one.
    没有人。(Méiyǒu rén.)

The verb 有 can also be omitted, and you can simply say 没 (méi).

  • I have no time.
    时间。(Wǒ méi shíjiān.)

When used in questions

In affirmative-negative questions (that is, that are answered with “yes” or “no”), the negative particle 不 (bù) is used.

However, just as the verb 有 (yǒu) uses 没 (méi) for negation, it it does the same in affirmative-negative questions.

  • Do you have a car?
    有没有车? (Nǐ yǒu méi yǒu chē?)
  • Yes, (I do). 有。(Yǒu).

To summarize, then, we’ve seen that 有 (yǒu) is used to talk about something that you own or something that exists. We’ve also leared that, to deny it, the particle 没 (méi) is used.

Among the mostly used verbs, there are also the verbs 喜欢 (xǐ huān) and 爱 (ài). In this post about verbs “to like” and “to love” you’ll learn more about them.

In our academy of Asian languages, Hanyu Chinese School, we have everything you need to learn Chinese. Contact us to find out about our customized plans. If you want to make it more fun, get your friends to study together.

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