One meaning of 有 is "have" i.e. possess. Can 有 also be used to form the present perfect tense as in "I have looked", possibly "我有看"?

If so, then a follow-up question: what is more natural, using 有 or 过?

  • 1
    Yes, but it's a typical case of translationese, at least in China mainland. Many think translationese is negative.
    – ElpieKay
    Commented Sep 18, 2016 at 3:01
  • this has come up before and answered by link to What does the construction 有 + Verb mean? italki.com/question/200801
    – user6065
    Commented Sep 18, 2016 at 5:22
  • 1
    Only in Taiwan. Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 12:40
  • @EnricoBrasil, yeah, Taiwanese like to use 有+verb. Mainlanders perfer verb+过. Nevertheless, both can be clearly understood.
    – Zhang
    Commented Mar 21, 2019 at 5:49
  • 我想了一下,“有看”和“看过”还是略微有些差别的。Scenario:老师交待学生回去要看某本书。第二天,有位学生回答不上来老师提问的关于那本书里的内容。老师问他,“我交待的书你有没有看过?”如果回答“有看过”,那表明很可能只是看了一眼,没有认真阅读。如果回答“我看过。”有点完整看过的意思,如果为了表明自己没有认真看,可以补充一句,“只不过没有好好看。”
    – Zhang
    Commented Mar 21, 2019 at 5:59

5 Answers 5


Yes, you can use 有 to form present perfect tense, consider the following examples:

  1. In mainland, people usually don't use 有 (to me it sounds a bit childish and made me think of a little girl.) :

    Michel: 你看过 "Pride and Prejudice" 没? Have you ever read ...

    Emily: (我)看过。 I have read it.

  2. In Hong Kong or Taiwan, looks like it's frequently used (I haven't been there but in quite a lot of TV series and variety shows the celebrities often use it, friends from there may correct me if I'm wrong)

    Michel: "你有看(过) 'Pride and Prejudice' 没?"

    Emily: "(我)有看(过)啊,很好看的。" (I have read it.)

Here you can see, since you have used 有, 过 becomes optional.

As for 有 and 过, in order to form a perfect tense you should at least use one, depends on which tone do you want to use from the previous examples.

  • Except that this looks rather contrived (at least to the language police). The meaning is absolutely the same if 有 is removed. Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 9:59
  • Haha, I live in Hong Kong and I'm studying a Chinese course. It is just now that I found out I misused and (本班列車不會載客) in my past ~20 years writing essays. Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 8:12

This is an really interesting question. It is actually a wrong usage in Taiwanese Mandarin. Since we speak a lot of Taiwanese here, the usage of adding 有 in showing past perfect is effected by Taiwanese or which called "Minnan" dialect.

In standard Chinese grammar, for example: I have read the book. 我讀過那本書。 ---->我有讀過那本書。 Have you had dinner? 吃過飯了嗎? ---->有吃飯了嗎?

If you get someone who can speak Minnan dialect, it will sound perfectly smooth in Minnan. However, it became an incorrect usage that used by everyone in Taiwan.


I believe the question is more complicated than a misuse in Taiwan. In Xinhua dictionary, has a meaning of yield or have happened.

Consider the short sentence.


It is a rough paraphrase to 情况变了. is, of course a perfect tense word. So could we also regard here as a perfect tense word too?

Sadly, among linguists there is still controversy upon the issue. I would personally suggest 情况有变化 emits a stronger feeling of Situations have changed than There are changes in situations.

Consider another phrase


What means here? The phrase does manifest a solid meaning of have shamed masters instead of Something exists, which shames masters.

The only consensus researchers have reached so far is doesn't act as an auxiliary verb. The word is still a transitive verb. So you feel OK when the following word/phrase is both a verb or a noun, or is often regarded as a noun, namely a gerund. But it is weird when conditions are not met.

An idea comes to my mind that we may need a 'perfect tense' scale. From the weakest to the strongest lies , and . Improper combinations of 'past tense' word and the following verb give strange impressions.

Besides, I would remind you is more of an aspect word, rather than a tense word. It only implies perfect, not necessarily present. For instance, 情况有过变化 has a stronger meaning of Situations had changed. And sometimes the word's meaning is probably overrided, such as 在这几年里,情况有变化 (Situations are changing in the past few years.).

I'm not a professional studying Chinese. Feel free to challenge me if you have different ideas. Finally I'd like to point out language itself is a evolving magic, maybe one day today's misuse would become tomorrow's fashion.


“我有看过”= “我看过” it means I have read it. "有" emphasis that have already do something.


I'm from southern China. In my experience, 过 is used more to form present perfect tense than 有.

But sometimes people do use 有. It seems more common in Taiwan mandarin, or at least "stereotypical" Taiwan mandarin.

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