This is a question I saw in an English Grammar test.

Who had an apartment?

a. Tony did.
b. Tony had.
c. Tony was.
d. Tony has.

As far as I know when have means own we use do, does, and did to make questions, just like main verbs. Doesn't the rule also apply here to give a short answer.

As in:

A: Who killed the guard?
B: The robber did.

A friend of mine insists that b is "more correct"?

  • Please describe your research in more detail. For example, do you know why "did" is used in that first option? (It has nothing to do with making a question.) Do you know whether "have" is a main verb or an auxiliary verb in that second option? Sep 17 at 14:45
  • @MarcInManhattan This is a question in an English exam. There are four options. Tony did, Tony had, Tony was, Tony has. Sep 17 at 16:04
  • Who killed the guard? Auxiliary for past tense: did.
    – Lambie
    Oct 3 at 16:13

2 Answers 2


In reduced answers of this form, you reduce the sentence to just the subject and the auxiliary verb.

Who is playing football?

Tony is.

With a simple present or past tense questions, "do support" is needed in the answer, as there is no auxiliary verb

Who has a pet cat?

Tony does.

Compare this to a sentence in which "has" acts an auxiliary:

Who has seen Star Wars?

Tony has.

Hence "Tony did" is the correct answer.

These examples are rather artificial and are not like typical fluent English. It would be more likely to reduce the answer to just the subject. Moreover you "own", "rent" or "live in" an apartment, rather than "have" an apartment

Which of the characters in the novel lives in an apartment?



Tony did can be the answer if you're responding to a question or statement regarding Tony's apartment,

Tony had can be the answer if you're just providing a general statement regarding Tony's possession of an apartment.

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