In the United States, summer is a time when students can have fun, rest, and relax -- at least those not attending summer school.
In many countries around the world, summer is also a time to take long vacations or short trips to beautiful places.
In today’s Everyday Grammar, we will explore the grammar of rest, relaxation, and summer fun. You will learn how the verb have plays a central part in describing fun times.
Let’s begin with a few important ideas.
Have is an unusual verb. It can act as a main verb, as in:
We had fun!
Or it can act as an auxiliary verb, as in:
I have visited this place many times.
For today’s report, let’s only explore have in its use as a main verb.
One common structure is have + a noun phrase. A noun phrase is a group of words that act like a noun in a sentence.
Have + a noun phrase can mean to own or possess something.
But it can also have other meanings that are very commonly used. Many of these meanings express fun and relaxation.
Meals and drinks
When people go on trips, or even have time to relax at home, they are often more careful about preparing and eating meals.
Students who do not have to hurry to school may be more likely to have a big breakfast. Or perhaps families on trips take more care to have large dinners.
In any of these cases, the structure have + a noun phrase can mean to eat or drink something.
For example, a person might say any of the following:
Do you want to have lunch?
I’d like to have a snack.
Have + a noun phrase can take on other meanings, too.
One meaning is to enjoy something.
So, young people could describe a situation in which they had fun, or had a good time, or even had a blast.
The three statements are nearly the same in meaning, with have a blast being the strongest statement of them all.
Consider this example:
Parent: How was your day? Did you play with your friends?
Child: Yes! I went to Teddy’s house, and we had a blast!
Parent: What did you do?
Child: We set fire to a …
Parent: You did what?
Child: Just kidding!
Getting a chance or the time to do something
On summer trips, families and others finally get a chance to do something fun or different.
This leads us to the final meaning of have + a noun phrase: to get a chance or the time to do something. The most common expressions are have a chance or have time.
Consider these two examples:
When I go on summer vacation, I will have a chance to read books and play video games.
When I take a vacation from work, I will have time to see friends and go hiking!
While the examples we explored today are about summer vacations or trips, you can use these structures to talk about all kinds of fun and relaxing times and activities. English grammar can be fun… especially when you use grammar lessons to talk about great times!
I’m John Russell.
John Russell wrote this story for VOA Learning English. Bryan Lynn was the editor.
Words in This Story
relax – v. to spend time resting and enjoying yourself
auxiliary verb – n. Grammar : a verb (such as have, be, may, do, shall, will, can, or must) that is used with another verb to show the verb's tense, to form a question, etc.
snack – n. a small amount of food eaten between meals