When to Use ‘Have’ or ‘Has’: Solving the Verb Puzzle

When it comes to describing possession in the English language, have and has are the most popular words. 

We use them every day and from their usage, it is obvious that we neither know the grammar rules nor follow them. 

Did you know that both has and have are forms of the verb ‘to have?’

Has is used with the pronouns heshe, it, and with singular subjects. On the other hand, Have is used with plural subjects and these pronouns: I, you, we, and they. 

Now, we will explore when to use have and has in your work as a writer. 

When to use has or have

When to use and have depends on the subject of the sentence. 

Have and has are both conjunctions of to have. 

We will explain this in detail below. 

See also: When to Use an Apostrophe: A Beginner’s Guide to Showing Possession and Omitting Letters

When to use have

Have is a conjunction and is being used in the following scenarios: 

  • Using the first person (Iwe)
  • Writing or speaking in the second person (you)
  • Using the third person plural (they)

    For example: They have three pets. 

    The subject is in the third person plural pronoun, therefore, have is the right word choice. 

    When to use has

    Has is used with singular pronouns like he, she, and it.

    Has is used when;

    • When making a statement in the third person singular (heshe, and it).
    • If you are referring to one person or thing, and you are not using the words or you, then use has.

    Example: He has long curls I admire. 

    Has is used here with the third person singular pronoun he. 

    Has in a sentence

    • She has a Maths test this afternoon.
    •  Martin has a tall, slender niece.
    • The dog has already given birth.

      Have in a sentence

      • have a serious question for you.
      • Do you have any money with you?

      See also: When to Use ‘Too’: Understanding ‘Too’ for Everyday Use As A Writer

      How to use has and have with other verbs

      Some of the ways to use has and have with other verbs include:

      To indicate possibility

      Combining has and have is an indication of something that will likely happen but hasn’t happened yet. 


      You have to come out clean.

      The puppy has to go on a morning walk.

      To explain an action that has been completed

      If you want to communicate that an action of the verb has been completed before the time of speaking, you can use has and have.

      This will become a present past tense.


      • We have waited for a response from customer service for hours.
      • Shayla has told me this story once before.
      • She has played piano for three years.

      How to remember when to use has vs. have

      If after going through the lessons above you’re still struggling to know when to use has or have, don’t be afraid. 

      In this session, we will explain some tips you can use to remember. 

      Tip #1: Let the subject and verb agree.

      Has is used with singular subjects, which are he, she, it while have is used with plural subjects-we, they. 

      The subject of the sentence determines the form of the verb. 

      Tip #2: If it is the third-person singular subject, use has.

      When the subject of your sentence is a third-person singular subject or pronoun (he, she, it), you should always use has. Have, on the other hand, can be used with both first and second-person subjects (I, we, you, they).

      See also: When to Use ‘Me’ or ‘I’: Easy Tips for Correct Usage for Writers

      Has vs. have examples


      • The penthouse has a lot of bedrooms.
      • So far, the film has received positive reviews.
      • He has visited Vegas several times.


      • The kids have been playing outside all day. 
      • I have several events to attend on Friday.
      • Mina and Lina have been living in the city for five years.

      Has and have

      • She has a black car, but I only have a blue bike.
      • Gory has a piano, and the neighbors have an acoustic guitar.
      •  He has many choices but you have one.

      Are Has and Have Singular or Plural?

      • Have is singular if used with I / you have or plural if it is (we / they have)
      •  Has is always singular if used with he / she / it has

       However, this rule is different when writing about a group of people, a team, or a company with the pronouns everyone and everybody, use has. 


      • Everybody has a teeth.
      • Now that everyone has arrived, we’ll get started.

      If it is a general group like children, people, the media, use have


      •  Children have eaten their meals. 
      • The media have caused a panic attack. 

      Is It “The Team Has” or “The Team Have”?

      When talking about collective terms i.e. family, team, group, you can use has or have

      The team has achieved record results this year. (team = single group)

      The team have achieved record results this year. (team = collection of individuals)

      Do I Use Has or Have with a Name?

      For a single name, using the third person pronouns, use has. Names take of he or she which is singular. 

      • He has a car.
      •  Peter has a car.

      Is It “She Should Have” or “She Should Has”?

      From the examples above, it should have been has but the verb should has special rules. 

      It is a modal verb and have is used after a modal verb. 

      Is It Grammatically Correct to Write “Had Had”?

      Use had if the action was finished before a specific time. Use had before the action.


      ●     No wonder you’re angry. You had arrived before 3pm! 

      ●     I had treated Malaria a few weeks back before it was diagnosed. 

      It may look weird, but it is correct to use had had to buttress that an action was completed before a time. 


       They had had their dinner by 7pm.

      I had had my wedding dress ready before I met my husband. 

        See also: When To Use A Semicolon vs Colon: Breaking Down Semicolons vs. Colons In Everyday Writing

        Can I Use Have and Has in the Same Sentence?

        Yes, of course! Follow the rules we have discussed already. 

        For example:

        She has red shoes, but I have blue shoes.

        Has or have FAQs

        What’s the difference between has and have?

        The main difference between has and have depends on the subject of a sentence. Has is used with singular subjects and with pronouns he, she, and it. Have is used with plural subjects and with pronouns I, you, we, and they.

        When should you use has?

        Use has when referring to someone or something else in the third person singular, or when referring to just one person or thing. Use has with he, she, and it to show possession in the present tense.

        When should you use have?

        Use have when talking about yourself in the first person (I, we) when referring to someone directly in the second person (you), or when speaking to multiple people in the third person plural (they). Use have with I, you, we, and they.