Happen to have

chameleon82

Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2016
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Urdu
Home Country
Pakistan
Current Location
Pakistan
"If you happen to have any queries, you can contact me via email."

"If you happen to be a native speaker of any of these languages, feel free to contact me."

I have just read these sentences on Internet. I am unable to comprehend "happen to have". What does it mean? Is the usage of this phrase correct here?

Thanks!!
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Charlie Bernstein

VIP Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2009
Member Type
Other
Native Language
English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
It's an odd idiom, isn't it?

The sentences sort of mean:

"I don't expect you to have queries, but if you do, you can contact me via email."

"You're probably not a native speaker of any of these languages, but if you are, feel free to contact me."

That's not exactly the intent, though. "Happen to" doesn't suggest strong doubt. It's more casual. It suggests that something would be unexpected or not planned - but not surprising or a cause for concern, either. Other examples:

- If you happen to be in town tomorrow, come visit us.
- If you happen upon a four-leaf clover, you'll have good luck all day.
 

GoesStation

No Longer With Us
Joined
Dec 22, 2015
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
You'll also see the phrase used by people speaking about themselves: I happen to be a blond white man, but I don't think my opinion on the subject is any less important. In this case it's very hard to express what the difference with the straightforward I am a blond white man. For learners, I think it's safe to read this version of I happen to be as equivalent to ​I am.
 
Top