Has vs. Have: How to Use Have vs. Has with Useful Examples

Last Updated on January 6, 2024

Sometimes even the simplest words can be misused by both native and non-native speakers of English. These are words that we use so often in our daily speech that we don’t even think about them, and maybe that’s the reason why we sometimes confuse them. However, it’s important to keep your speech free of grammatical errors, especially when it comes to formal writing.

Has vs. Have: the Main Differences 

Has vs. HavePin

Key Takeaways

  • “Has” is used with third-person singular subjects.
  • “Have” is used with first and second-person singular and plural, and third-person plural subjects.
  • Using “has” and “have” correctly is important for accurate communication.

Basic Definition of Has and Have

In English grammar, we often use the verbs “has” and “have” to indicate possession, but they serve different grammatical subjects.

“Has” is used with third-person singular subjects – that is, when referring to a single entity or person that is not ourselves or the person we’re speaking to. Here’s a simple breakdown:

  • He has
  • She has
  • It has

For example, She has a book.

“Have” is used with first and second-person singular and plural pronouns, as well as third-person plural nouns.

  • I have
  • You have
  • We have
  • They have

For example, We have a meeting at noon.

Has vs. Have: the Differences 

Take the pair has vs. have, for instance. You probably use these two words very often, and it’s best if you know the difference between them and use them correctly.

HAVE is the form of the verb that goes with such pronouns as I, you, we, and they, as well as with plural nouns. HAS, on the other hand, goes with pronouns he, she, it, and with singular nouns.

So, the distinction is pretty clear. Whenever you’re talking about someone or something in the third person singular, you need to use has, regardless of whether you’re using a noun or a pronoun. For example, it’s correct to say that she has two dogs and a cat, that Jason has to be home by five, or that this house has a red roof.

In all the other cases, you need to use have. For instance, you’ll be correct to say that you have three sisters, that my brother and I have to go to the dentist tomorrow, or that all the children in this neighborhood have a green jacket.

There’s just one more thing that you need to keep in mind. If you’re asking a question or if your sentence is negative, then you have to use have all the time. Therefore, even though you’re still using the third person singular, the correct thing to say would be, “Mary doesn’t have blue eyes” or “Does Mary have blue eyes?”.

To remember this, think that a sentence only needs one “s”. And, since you already have an “s” in “does” (or “doesn’t”), you don’t need an “s” in “has”. Therefore, has become have.

Has vs. Have Examples

Examples of “Has” 

  • She has a great sense of humor.
  • The committee has decided to postpone the event.
  • My brother has just finished writing his first novel.
  • The city has experienced significant growth over the past decade.
  • He has been working at the company for five years now.

Examples of “Have”

  • They have a new puppy at home.
  • We have to leave early to catch the train.
  • have seen that movie three times already.
  • You have been very helpful throughout the project.
  • Students have the option to take the course online or in person.

Interactive Exercises

Fill-in-the-Blank Exercises

  1. Both cats _____ finished their dinner. (has/have)
  2. The committee _____ decided on the new policy. (has/have)
  3. She _____ a lot of friends in the city. (has/have)
  4. The documents _____ been reviewed and approved. (has/have)
  5. My brother _____ a collection of vintage comic books. (has/have)
  6. The football team _____ a game this Saturday. (has/have)
  7. The company _____ seen better days financially. (has/have)
  8. Every student in the class _____ to complete the assignment. (has/have)
  9. The crowd _____ gone wild after the amazing performance. (has/have)
  10. He _____ no idea where he left his keys. (has/have)

Answers:

  1. Both cats have finished their dinner.
  2. The committee has decided on the new policy.
  3. She has a lot of friends in the city.
  4. The documents have been reviewed and approved.
  5. My brother has a collection of vintage comic books.
  6. The football team has a game this Saturday.
  7. The company has seen better days financially.
  8. Every student in the class has to complete the assignment.
  9. The crowd has gone wild after the amazing performance.
  10. He has no idea where he left his keys.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between ‘has’ and ‘have’?
‘Has’ is used with third-person singular subjects (he, she, it) while ‘have’ is for first-person (I, we), second-person (you), and all plurals (they).

When do we use ‘has’?
We use ‘has’ when the subject is singular and third person, like ‘She has a notebook.’

Can ‘have’ be used with singular nouns?
Yes, but only when the noun is either first-person singular (‘I have’) or second-person singular (‘You have’).

Do questions and negatives always use ‘have’?
Not always. In questions and negatives, we use ‘have’ with I, you, we, they (e.g., ‘Do we have time?’). But with he, she, it, we use ‘has’ (‘Does she have the keys?’).

In what case can ‘have’ and ‘has’ be used interchangeably?
Never, because they pertain to different subjects.

  • Use ‘have’ for:
    • I/You/We/They
    • Plural nouns
  • Use ‘has’ for:
    • He/She/It
    • Singular third-person nouns

Is it ever correct to say ‘he have’ or ‘she have’?
No, it is grammatically incorrect because ‘have’ is not the proper conjugation for third-person singular pronouns.

  • Incorrect: He have a dog.
  • Correct: He has a dog.

 

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