“to have”

In Hausa the English verb “to have” is represented by the preposition da. Basic sentences take on the following form:

Subject pronoun (-na form) + da + noun

For example:

Ina da bokiti = I have a bucket

Ousmane yana da bokiti = Ousmane has a bucket

Muna da bokiti = We have a bucket

Note that, since there is no verb that means “to have” in Hausa, the literal sense of these sentences are: I am with a bucket, Ousmane is with a bucket, We are with a bucket


This same formulation is used when describing people or aspects of other things.

For example:

Ina da tausayi = I have sympathy // I am sympathetic

Ousmane yana da kirki = Ousmane has kindness // Ousmane is kind

Muna da gaskiya = We have honesty // We are are honest


Alternatively, expressing the lack of something takes on the following form:

Ba + subject pronoun + da + noun

For example: 

Ba ni da bokiti = I do not have a bucket

Ousmane ba shi da bokiti = Ousmane does not have a bucket

Ba mu da bokiti = We do not have a bucket

Ba ni da tausayi = I do not have sympathy // I am not sympathetic

Ousmane ba shi da kirki = Ousmane doesn’t have kindness // Ousmane is not kind

Ba mu da gaskiya = We do not have honesty // We are not honest


By adding a question mark and using intonation when speaking, each of the phrases above become questions.

For example:

Ousmane yaya da kirki? = Does Ousmane have kindness? // Is Ousmane kind?

Muna da bokiti? = Do we have a bucket?

Ousmane ba shi da bokiti? = Ousmane doesn’t have a bucket?


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