Has vs Have Plural: Understanding the Difference

Using Have for Plural Subjects

When it comes to subjects that are plural, the auxiliary verb “have” is used in present tense. For instance, “they have,” “we have,” “the books have,” and “the dogs have” are all examples of the correct use of “have” for plural subjects.

It is important to note that “have” is also used for plural subjects in questions and negative statements. For example, “Do they have,” “They do not have,” and “Have we finished” all use “have” with plural subjects.

Using the correct form of the auxiliary verb is crucial to ensure proper subject-verb agreement in a sentence. Therefore, mastering the usage of “have” for plural subjects is essential in improving one’s written and spoken English.

When to Use Has for Singular Subjects

In contrast to “have,” “has” is used with singular subjects in the present tense. Examples of singular subjects that use “has” include “he has,” “she has,” “it has,” “John has,” and “the book has.”

When forming questions or negative statements with singular subjects, “has” is also used. For instance, “Does he have,” “He does not have,” and “Has the dog eaten” are all correct uses of “has” with singular subjects.

It is important to remember that using “has” instead of “have” with a singular subject is a common mistake. Therefore, paying attention to the number of the subject in a sentence is crucial in using the correct auxiliary verb.

Tricky Situations: Indefinite Pronouns and Collective Nouns

Indefinite pronouns and collective nouns can be challenging when it comes to choosing the correct auxiliary verb.

Indefinite pronouns, such as “everyone,” “anyone,” and “someone,” are treated as singular subjects. Therefore, “has” is used instead of “have” with these pronouns. For example, “Everyone has” and “Someone has” are correct uses of “has” with singular indefinite pronouns.

Collective nouns, on the other hand, can be either singular or plural depending on the context. For example, “the team” can be a singular entity when referring to the team as a whole, or it can be a plural entity when referring to the individual members of the team. In the first case, “has” is used, while in the second case, “have” is used.

Mastering the correct usage of auxiliary verbs with indefinite pronouns and collective nouns can be challenging, but it is an essential skill in becoming fluent in English.

Examples and Exercises to Master Has and Have Plural

To master the usage of “has” and “have” with singular and plural subjects, it is essential to practice and review examples.

Here are some examples of “has” with singular subjects:

  • The dog has a bone.
  • She has a meeting at 2 pm.
  • John has a new car.

And here are some examples of “have” with plural subjects:

  • They have two cats.
  • We have finished the project.
  • The books have been returned to the library.

To further practice and reinforce the usage of these auxiliary verbs, try these exercises:

  1. Fill in the blank with the correct auxiliary verb: “______ the students finished their homework?”
  2. Rewrite the following sentence using the correct auxiliary verb: “The team have won the championship.”
  3. Complete the question with the correct auxiliary verb: “______ he seen the new movie yet?”

Practicing with examples and exercises can help improve one’s understanding and usage of “has” and “have” in both spoken and written English.


Understanding the correct usage of “has” and “have” is crucial in mastering the English language. Using “have” with plural subjects and “has” with singular subjects is straightforward, but there are some tricky situations to be aware of, such as indefinite pronouns and collective nouns.

By practicing with examples and exercises, learners can reinforce their understanding and usage of these auxiliary verbs. With time and practice, the correct usage of “has” and “have” can become second nature, leading to clearer and more effective communication in English.

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