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I was taught that "objects don't own anything", so I couldn't say that

"the city has many great pubs".

Instead, I had to use

"there are many great pubs in the city".

Was I taught right, or it is grammatical to indicate possession to objects using the verb "to have"?

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    It is a question of style, not grammar. It is perfectly correct both in terms of grammar and in terms of the meaning of the verb have. How else would you say "a bicycle has two wheels; a tricycle has three." – phoog Jul 9 '15 at 19:09
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    Cities can and do own land, buildings and money. – Avon Jul 9 '15 at 19:44
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    Be careful of what you were taught. Half of it is wrong, and even your teachers don't know which half. In this case, your teacher was clearly wrong. "The polypeptide has four prominent hydrophobic regions marked with brackets..." Here, this is something so small you can't even see it, but it has properties, mass, a particular effective configuration, and even abilities! – anongoodnurse Jul 9 '15 at 20:28
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Your teacher was unquestionably wrong. The use of "have" with inanimate subjects is common in English. It's one of the first example entries in this dictionary example, where 'contain' is given as well as 'possess' as the definition of 'have'. You will frequently find phrases like "The car has four wheels", "The building has three floors", etc.

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