2

Why do we say "Did she have a big family" though "Did she has a big family" looks like the correct form? Could someone explain to me why we switch has to have in questions like that?

1
  • The short answer: Because you already conjugated the verb "do" (into "did"). You don't have to conjugate the other verb.
    – stangdon
    Apr 29 '16 at 12:15
7
  1. When a verb takes one or more auxiliary verbs, only the first verb in the chain is finite: conjugated for tense, person and number. The following verbs are cast in non-finite forms: an infinitive or a past or present participle, depending on what construction is employed.

  2. When a form of DO is employed as an auxiliary verb it is always followed by the infinitive form of the main verb.

    Does she have a big family?
    Yes, she does have a big family.
    No, she does not have a big family.

    Did she have a big family?
    Yes, she did have a big family.
    No, she did not have a big family.

Note that the infinitive form of every verb except BE looks the same as the ordinary present form, so it's easy to become confused about this.

-1

'has' is 3rd-person PRESENT tense only.

'have' is 3rd-person PAST tense.

DID is PAST tense, hence use have.

2
  • 2
    I'm afraid not. The past form of HAVE in all persons and both numbers is had. Does she have...? and Did she have...? are both correct; the form of HAVE used here is the infinitive. Apr 29 '16 at 10:06
  • Oh, true. I failed to think of those. *facepalm
    – Marjorie
    Apr 29 '16 at 10:14

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.