As a beginner English learner, you will surely be confusing has and have. These two words are quite important and appear frequently in English writings. In case, you are confused as well this post is the perfect place for you.
It is important for you to understand what ‘has’ and ‘have’ basically are. They both are verbs. Verbs are used to express action. They are one of the basic parts of speech in English, along with nouns, adjectives, pronouns, and prepositions.
We use the verb “to have” when we talk about possessing (owning) something.
The infinitive or original, form of the verb is “to have.”
In the English present tense, “has” and “have” are both conjugations of this infinitive form. For example:
- I have a pen.
- He has a pen.
The verb “to have” is conjugated in the present tense in both sentences.
Now moving towards the other conjugations of “to have”. In addition to “has” and “have,” you may also encounter “to have” conjugated in a variety of ways:
- Had: This is the past tense conjugation.
- Having: The gerund form of “to have,” which is also used in the present progressive tense.
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Using “to have” as an Auxiliary verb
In addition to ownership, “to have” has another meaning. It can also be used as an auxiliary verb.
Auxiliary verbs are also known as helping verbs. It is used in conjunction with another verb to complete the meaning of a sentence. The auxiliary verb “to have” is important because it is used to create the past perfect and present perfect tenses.
- She has eaten lunch already.
- I have seen that film.
The verb does not indicate possession in this context. It is instead used in conjunction with another verb.
Has vs. Have: The major difference between the two
The distinction between “has” and “have” comes down to who is speaking and who is being spoken about. It is necessary to understand English points of view in order to truly understand “has” vs. “have.
Everything we read or say in English is written or spoken from a specific point of view. Who is speaking and who is being spoken about is revealed by the point of view? The use of pronouns can reveal the author’s point of view.
The speaker is speaking about himself or herself in the first person. Alternatively, the speaker is speaking about himself or herself as well as other people.
I: First-person singular pronoun
- We: First-person plural pronoun (for talking about yourself and other people)
- The speaker is speaking directly to someone else in the second person point of view.
- You: Second-person singular or plural pronoun.
- From the third-person point of view, the speaker is talking about somebody or something else.
- He: Third-person singular pronoun, for talking about men
- She: Third-person singular pronoun, for talking about women
- It: Third-person singular pronoun, for non-living things
- They: Third-person plural pronoun, for talking about people or things
- Got the main idea? Now let us move towards has vs. have.
When to use “has”
Using ‘has’ in the present tense
“Has” is used in the present tense with the third-person singular point of view. It will be used with he, she, it, a name, or a singular noun. It is also only used in positive statements. That means you won’t use “has” if you’re asking a question or speaking in the negative (using the word “not”).
- He has black eyes.
- This book has 600 pages.
- Japan has amazing food items.
- “Has” is also used in conjunction with singular pronouns such as “everybody,” “anybody,” and “nobody.”
- Everybody in the class has a copy of this book.
- I don’t think anybody has eaten yet.
Using “Has” as an Auxiliary verb in the present perfect tense
In the present perfect tense, we also use “has” as an auxiliary verb. Again, this is only applicable to third-person singular subjects such as he, she, it, a name, or a singular noun.
However, unlike the present tense, we use “has” whether we’re making a statement or asking a question in the present perfect tense. Also, whether the sentence is affirmative or negative, we use “has.”
- Annie has gone to the United States four times. (Affirmative statement)
- Has she received the appointment letter? (Affirmative question)
- The baby has not eaten today. (Negative statement)
- Has he not told you about this? (Negative question)
When to use “Have”
In the present tense, use “have” in the first- and second-person singular, and “have” in the third-person plural. To put it another way, use “have” with the subjects I, you, we, or they. Use “have” with plural nouns and when discussing multiple people or things at the same time.
- I have a paper.
- You have a new book.
- They have three dogs.
- We have a big car.
- Those gardens have colorful flowers.
- John and I have a red car.
If you’re asking a question in the present tense, you use “have” regardless of your point of view:
- Does anybody have the answer to the question?
- Do you have the cake?
- Does she have a pen?
- Does John have a best friend?
- Do I have your attention?
The same is true for negative present-tense statements. Use “have” regardless of your point of view.
- She does not have a house.
- I do not have a sister.
- They do not have time to see john.
- The movie does not have a good climax.
- We do not have a cat.
Using “Have” as an Auxiliary verb in the present perfect tense
Use “have” in the present perfect tense whenever you use the subjects I, you, we, or they.
- I have watched “The friends” six times.
- You have helped me a lot.
- We have thought about this all week.
The same is the case with questions and negative statements.
- I have not watched “The friends”.
- You have not helped me at all.
- Have we thought about this enough?
Summarizing the difference between “Has” and “Have”
Here is a quick summary of what we have discussed in this article:
The verb associated with possession or ownership is “to have.”
“Have” and “has” are both present tense conjugations of “to have.”
In the present perfect tense, “have” and “has” are also used as auxiliary (helping) verbs.
In the present tense:
With the subjects he, she, it, a name, or a singular noun, use “has.”
With the subjects I, you, they, we, a plural noun, or multiple subjects, use “have.”
However, use “have” for any questions or negative statements, regardless of “point of view.”
In the present perfect tense:
Use “has” whenever you use the subjects he, she, it, a name, or a singular noun—for affirmative, negative, or questioning statements.
When making affirmative, negative, or question statements, use “have” whenever you use the subjects I, you, they, we, a plural noun, or multiple subjects.
How to practice “Has” and “Have”
Watch videos: Consider something that interests you and look for English videos about it. There’s something for everyone, whether you want to watch vehicle rescues or American sports. These action-packed themes frequently describe people and their qualities/attributes, so you’ll hear the distinction between “has” and “have” quite frequently.
Write from a different point of view: Try this writing exercise if you want to improve your grammar and writing skills. Write a brief introduction to yourself. Make an effort to use the verb “have” as many times as possible.
Then, rewrite the paragraph as if it were about someone else. As we’ll see later, this will force you to practice distinguishing between “has” and “have.”
Read English books: There are a large number of English learning books that you can consult to practice distinguishing between “has” and “have.”
Learning the difference between has vs. have is all about practice. Watch English movies, read English books, and most importantly, observe the conversations of native English speakers to remove your confusion.
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