Difference between Has and Had

March 27, 2017 by Editorial Team

The words “has” and “had” have different functions but are incorrectly interchanged by many people. For instance, the statements “she has a blue jacket” and “she had a blue jacket” are both grammatically correct and may seem like they mean the same thing. Are you one of the people who cannot pinpoint why the two statements are different? If so, this article is for you.

Descriptions

Has vs Had

The word has is the present and singular form of the verb “to have.” It is particularly used with singular nouns and third person singular pronouns such as he, she, and it. Let us take a look at some examples below:

  • Nina has a high-pitched voice.
  • It has pineapples on it.
  • She has a new car.

The word “has” is also paired with the past participle tense of the verb to form the present perfect tense. This expresses an action that began at a certain point in the past and continues to the present. Here are some examples:

  • Barry has been an honor student since he was four years old.
  • It has grown five inches since January.
  • He has visited Peru five times now.

Conversely, the word had is the past form of the verb “to have.” It can be used for both plural and singular nouns and pronouns.

  • I had a pet goat when I was eight years old.
  • Only seven students had the required materials for the activity.
  • He had thick, blonde hair when he was born.

Additionally, the word “had” is also used to for the past perfect tense. In this case, it is paired with a verb in its past participle form. This designates an action that happened before another action occurred in the past. Let us take a look at these examples:

  • I had already submitted my project by the time you sent me the email.
  • Jamie sent a check to the customer after I had issued a refund electronically.

Has vs Had

What, then, is the difference between “has” and “had”?

The word “has” is the present form of the verb “to have.” It is used when the noun is singular or when the pronoun is third person singular. It is paired with the past participle form of the verb to form the present perfect tense to express an action that started at some point in the past and continues to present.

In contrast, the word “had” is the past form of the verb “to have.” It can be used for both singular and plural nouns and pronouns. It is paired with the past participle of the verb to form the past perfect tense to indicate an action that happened before another occurred in the past.

Comparison Chart

HasHad
Present form of the verb “to have”Past form of the verb “to have”
Used when the noun is singular or when the pronoun is third person singular such as she, he, and itUsed for both plural and singular nouns and pronouns
Paired with the past participle form of the verb to form the present perfect tensePaired with the past participle form of the verb to form the past perfect tense