Difference Between Has and Have

Difference Between Has and Have

It really feels embarrassing seeing learned people use “Has” and “Have” wrongly. Admitted, spotting the context where they are correctly applied can be a herculean task. But when you understand how to apply them, you will be one step ahead of someone who doesn’t. Mind you, if you are fluent in English, you can confidently stand before anyone to express yourself because you are well aware that one hell of a wordsmith.

On the other hand, you cannot say the same for someone who obviously doesn’t know the difference between have and 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

Has is a possessive verb which is used to form a sentence in place of Have. It usually appears where the third person singular nouns are needed. You may be wondering what the third person singular nouns are. Just before we explain what the third person singular noun is, we have to take it all the way back. In English language, there are usually 3 PERSONS in a context.

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

So, to make the definition of has easy for you to understand, we will use some examples:

  • Life without my late father has been terrible; it has not been easy
  • He has what it takes to win the trophy
  • She has no conscience

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

Unlike has, Have has even broader application. Generally, we can summarize its application this way. Have is applied in a context that requires:

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

Now, let’s make the definition of have easier to grasp with some examples:

  • I have been there many times
  • You have been helpful so far
  • They have enough money to sustain them throughout the long vacation

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.

Has vs Have Comparison Table

HasHave
PersonsThird personFirst and second persons
Number of itemsOneMust be more than one except for first person

Conclusion of the Main Difference Between Has vs Have

In conclusion, we must note that has and 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.