Has vs Have – Difference Between Has and Have

Has vs Have – Difference Between Has and Have

It really feels embarrassing seeing learned people use has or have wrongly. Admitted, spotting the context where they are correctly applied can be a herculean task. They both have the same meaning – to own, to possess or hold something for use. Has is a verb used in the context with pronouns like he, she, it. While have is root verb used strictly with pronouns I, you, we, they.

On the other hand, you cannot say the same for someone who obviously doesn’t know the difference between have or has. But then, what is the difference between have and has anyway? No doubt, the difference between has and have can be a bit technical, but we will break everything down for you in this piece.

Definition of Has – What Does Has Mean?

Has can be defined as a verb used to express possession and containment alongside pronouns like she, he, this, that, and it. It is also defined as the third person singular present tense of “have.” It is used when speaking or writing in reference to the third person.

  • The first person: I
  • The second person: YOU
  • The third person: HE, SHE, and IT


  • He has many cars
  • She has very few friends
  • My luggage has a lot in it
  • Jane has finished her examinations
  • The company has adopted a new policy against office bullying
  • My house is up the hill, it has a white roof
  • Daniel has four vicious dogs
  • Everyone has settled down and is ready

This term has different meanings, but having a grasp of the explanation above is foundational and instrumental in understanding all the others. In comparing has vs have, it is understandable why many may use one in place of the other. Especially because the former is the third person singular present tense of the latter.

It is important to reiterate that you can only use this term with the third person singular pronouns, which is not the case with the third person plural.

Has is also used when you are making reference to someone or something that is in singular form. Example, bag, Michael, School, Mack, etc.

Here are some examples:

  • So far, Mack has been exceptionally good at his job
  • My little sister’s bag has a black ribbon
  • Roger Federer has what it takes to clinch the trophy
  • The school has some of the best teachers in the world
  • The police has not done enough to unravel the misery behind the minister’s sudden disappearance
  • Michael Jackson still has a place in contemporary pop music

Note that the past tense of has is had. Therefore, you should always remember to apply has when the context requires a present tense.

Definition of Have – What Does Have Mean?

Have is defined as a root verb for expressing possession or containment alongside pronouns like you, we, I, these, they, and those. It is mainly used with the first and second-person singular pronouns and third person plural pronouns.

  • The first person: I
  • The second person: YOU
  • The third person plural noun: THEY


  • I have a lot of literature you may like
  • I have visited Nigeria in Africa
  • You have to study hard to pass
  • We have a few questions for you
  • They have not heard the news
  • Those have been cheaper in the past
  • These have been shipped in from China

Comparing have vs has shows that the former can be applied in a broader sense compared to the latter. These two also have the same meaning (for the most part) and their fundamental difference is in the pronouns they are used alongside.

In addition to that, there is also “had,” which is the past form of the transitive has and have. Note that “had” does not regard points-of-views, or if the subject is singular or plural. It does not matter if it is the first, second, or third person; so long as it is used in the past tense.

Have is also generally used to describe a plural noun, a body or organization.

Here are some examples:

  • Since we have God, we have everything
  • The police have to step up their game
  • Chelsea have inked all the necessary papers to have former player Frank Lampard back to Stamford Bridge as manager.  

The past tense of have is also had.

What Is the Main Difference Between Has and Have?

Basis of ComparisonHasHave
DefinitionA verb used together with the pronouns – this, that, he, she, and it, to express possession or containmentA root verb that is generally used alongside the pronouns you, we, I, these, they, and those, to express possession or containment
NounsApplied alongside singular nounsApplied alongside plural nouns
PronounsThat, this, he, she, and itThey, those, these, I, you, and we
PersonsThird personFirst and second persons
Number of itemsOneMust be more than one except for first person

So What Is Has and Have? – Conclusion

In conclusion, we must note that has or have are both possessive verbs that share lots of similarities. Hence, they are used interchangeably. However, they have some contextual differences. There are instances where you can suitably interchange the two verbs.

For instance,

  • Chelsea FC has/have signed a new manager
  • The state has/have not done enough to stamp out systemic corruption

But then, there are certain conditions that apply whenever you are using either of the possessive nouns in the context above. For instance, when you say, “Chelsea FC has signed a new manager,” the next pronoun must be in a singular form. Look at the examples below:

  1. Chelsea FC has signed a new manager, Frank Lampard. With Lampard in charge of the English side, it looks forward to having a superb 2019/2020 season.  
  2. Chelsea FC have signed a new manager, Frank Lampard. With Lampard in charge of the English side, they look forward to having a superb 2019/2020 season. 

Indeed, where these rules are not followed to the letter, scholars and other enlightened readers would know that the writer cannot spot the difference between has and have. At this point, we believe that you know the difference between has vs have, so make sure you use them correctly whenever you speak or write to save yourself some embarrassment.