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Not long ago, Johnson and Cummings were thick as thieves. Johnson had Cummings to thank -- at least in part -- for his two greatest political triumphs: Brexit and his landslide election victory in 2019.

[CNN.]

Does "had" have possessive meaning in the paragraph above?

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anonymousDoes "had" have possessive meaning in the paragraph above?

Broadly speaking, yes. However, the expression "have ~ to thank (for)" is somewhat idiomatic, and the individual or literal meaning of "have" feels less prominent than the overall meaning of the expression.

Comments  
anonymousDoes "had" have possessive meaning in the paragraph above?

I never thought about it before. To have someone to thank for something is almost an idiomatic expression. Johnson didn't possess Cummings at all, like he might have had a quid to spend, but at the same time Cummings was his to thank. I guess I do think of it as possessive, in a weakened sense.