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Alternative forms[edit]

  • -a (slang)


Contraction of have.


  • (postvocalic) IPA(key): /v/
  • (postconsonantal) IPA(key): /əv/, /ə/
  • (file)
  • Homophone: of (postconsonantal 've only, unstressed of only)


've (clitic)

  1. Have (in its sense marking the perfect or retrospective tense).
    • 2015 November 30, Shane O'Mara, Why Torture Doesn’t Work: The Neuroscience of Interrogation[1], Harvard University Press, →ISBN, page 12:
      Santorum, in a comment regarding Senator John McCain's repudiation of torture, stated, "He doesn't understand how enhanced interrogation works. I mean, you break somebody, and after they've broken they become cooperative" (Summers 2011).
  2. (dialect) Have (in its other uses).
    • 1845 March, “Editor’s Table”, in The Knickerbocker, or New-York Monthly Magazine, volume XXV, New York, N.Y.: [] John Allen, [], page 267, columns 1–2:
      Do n’t tell me you ‘have n’t got time,’ / That other things claim your attention; / There ’s not the least reason or rhyme / In the wisest excuse you can mention: / Do n’t tell me about ‘other fish,’ / Your duty is done when you buy ’em; / And you never will relish the dish, / Unless you ’ve a woman to ‘fry ’em.’
    • 1996, Deirdre Purcell, Roses After Rain, page 335:
      "...Where's the ladies' in this joint? I've to powder me nose."

Usage notes[edit]

In many dialects, -'ve is only used to mark the perfect aspect ("I've done something" = "I have done something"), not to signify possession ("I have something"), necessity ("I have to do something"), etc. In others, -'ve is used more broadly; this is sometimes proscribed.

See also[edit]