Has vs. Have: What’s the Difference?

Has and have are different conjugations of the verb to have. Have has to do with possession, and to have something is to be in possession of it.

  • I have a pencil.

Has and have sometimes get confused with each other in people’s writing–but more often in speech–because have is an irregular verb. It, therefore, doesn’t take the usual verb endings of other English verbs.

What is the Difference Between Has and Have?

In today’s post, I want to talk about when to use has and have, how each word works in a sentence, and how to make sure you don’t confuse them again.

The short answer when comparing has vs. have is that has is used with the third person singular. Have is used with the first and second person singular and plural and the third person plural.

If this sounds a bit confusing, or you don’t quite remember what differentiates the first, second, and third person, don’t worry. I will explain everything below.

After reading this post, you won’t ever again wonder to yourself, “Should I use has or have?”

When to Use Has

has been have been grammar rulesHas is the third person singular present tense of have. This just means that it is used when you are speaking in the third person singular, i.e., with the pronouns he, she, and it.

  • He has a great idea.
  • She has a car that we can borrow.
  • The new iPhone is great; it has a bigger screen.
  • John has a headache and doesn’t want to go out tonight.
  • It’s not clear if the team has a policy prohibiting players from traveling when they are out with an injury. –New York Post

The easiest way to remember the correct use of has is that it is paired with the pronouns he, she, and it.

It can also be used when you are referring to someone by name.

  • John has a bike.
  • Suzy has a car.

It is important to note that has is only used with the third person singular pronouns. The third person plural they is used with have.

When to Use Have

has versus have grammarHave is used with the first and second person singular present and plural tenses and the third person plural present tense. Again, in plain English, this just means you use have when you are speaking in the first and second person singular and third person plural, i.e., with the pronouns I, you, we, and they.

  • I have a great deal for you.
  • Do you have any money?
  • We have a new ride at the amusement park.
  • They also have a wonderful gift shop. I’m a very visual person, and I love opening beautiful books on art or design and looking through them. –The New York Times

Again, the best way to remember the correct use of have is to remember the pronouns it is paired with. Have uses the pronouns I, you, we, and they.

Everyone Has or Have?

Which form is correct to use with everyone or everybody? Is it everyone has or everyone have?

Everyone is a singular pronoun, so it should be matched with has, not have.

  • Walton says everyone has to fill the 30-point void left by the absence of the NBA’s leading scorer and reigning MVP. –USA Today

The same goes for everybody. Everybody has or have? Everybody is singular, so the following verb must match it.

Contractions That Use Has/Have

Positive Contractions

  • I have = I’ve
  • You have = You’ve
  • We have = We’ve
  • They have = They’ve
  • He has = He’s
  • She has = She’s
  • It has = It’s

Negative Contractions

  • Has not = Hasn’t
  • Have not = Haven’t
  • Had not = Hadn’t

Remember the Difference

The best way to keep track of have vs. has is to think of the pronouns that each verb uses.

Has uses the pronouns he, she, and it.

Have uses the pronouns I, you, we, they.

Summary

Has vs. have. What is the difference? These are two different conjugations of the same verb to have.

Has is the third person singular present tense.

Have is the first and second person singular present and plural tenses and the third person plural present tense.

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