Difference between Has and Have with Examples

Learning has no end and it is good that there is a platform like Akademia where one can find answers to many questions on language use and usage. This post is put together to show you the Difference between has and have with Examples.

Many people get confused when it comes to identifying these two non-modal auxiliary verbs and using them appropriately. Are they both plurals? Is ‘has’ singular and ‘have’ plural? When do we use ‘has’ and when do we use ‘have’? Not to worry, this post addresses these and many other questions on ‘has’ and ‘have’.

Difference between has and have with Examples

In looking at the difference between ‘has’ and ‘have’, it is pertinent to first identify the word classes of these primary auxiliaries.

Has and have

They are auxiliary verbs and this establishes the fact that both belong to the part of speech known as verbs. There are three non-modal auxiliary verbs in English: Do, Be and Have. We also refer to them as primary auxiliary verbs. The post on modal auxiliary verbs addresses the other types of auxiliary verbs which are not presently our focus.

Has

It is a variant of ‘have’ just like the article ‘an’ is a variant of the article ‘a’. ‘Has’ is singular in its structure. In its form, it is also present tense and its past tense is ‘had’.

Have

It is one of the 3 non-modal auxiliary verbs. In its structure, it can function as both singular and plural. However, it functions only as singular with the first person singular pronoun. In its form in relation to tense, it is present and its past tense is equally ‘had’.

Use of Has and Have

‘Has’ and ‘have’ are the two non-modal verbs that can precede ‘been’ together with their past tense form, ‘had’ to indicate the perfective aspect. (See difference between been and being)

Let us demonstrate all these uses with copious examples…

Examples of Has and Have in Sentences

  • The boy has travelled.
  • We have seen our results.
  • She has arrived.
  • The smoke has disappeared.
  • The police had secured the building. (past tense, perfective aspect)
  • He has been given a marching order. (present tense, perfective aspect)
  • The presidents have met in London. (present tense, perfective aspect)
  • He has a pen. (main verb)
  • They have some money. (main verb)
  • Her skin has dark spots. (main verb)
  • Millionaires have a manner of lifestyle. (main verb)
  • He has paid his fees. (third person singular)
  • She has eaten the cake. (third person singular)
  • The rabbit has entered the hole. (third person singular)
  • I have seen the car. (first person singular)
  • We have paid our dues. (first person plural)
  • You have tried your best. (second person singular or plural)
  • The workers have absconded from the site. (third person plural)




Difference between Has and Have

‘Has’ goes with the third person singular while ‘have’ is used with the first and second person singular and plural, then third person plural.

‘Has’ is strictly singular in form while ‘have’ functions as both singular and plural depending on the subject of the sentence.

When to use has and have

From the foregoing, the following are obvious:

You make use of ‘has’ when:

  • The subject of the sentence is singular.
  • In addition to the subject being singular, the subject must fall into the category of the third person singular pronoun.
  • When making reference to the perfective aspect and the subject is singular (third person singular), you can use ‘has’.
  • To stand as the main verb in a sentence that has a singular subject.

You make use of ‘have’ when:

  • The subject is singular and the singular subject is specifically ‘I’, that is, the first person singular.
  • The subject is plural.
  • Making reference to the perfective aspect and the subject is plural.
  • To stand as the main verb in a sentence that has a plural subject.

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