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Have To vs. Has To: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sara Rehman || Published on November 27, 2023
"Have to" and "has to" both express obligation or necessity. "Have to" is used with I, you, we, they, while "has to" is used with he, she, it.

Key Differences

"Have to" and "has to" are both modal phrases indicating necessity or obligation. "Have to" is the form used with plural subjects (we, you, they) and singular subjects I and you. "Has to" is specifically used with third-person singular subjects (he, she, it). Their usage depends on the subject of the sentence.
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023
In terms of grammatical structure, "have to" and "has to" are followed by a base form of a verb. They do not change form according to tense; rather, the auxiliary verb "have" or "has" is modified to indicate different tenses. For example, "I have to go" in the present becomes "I had to go" in the past.
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023
The phrases "have to" and "has to" imply compulsion or obligation that comes from an external source. While "have to" is used in a more general context, "has to" is specifically for singular subjects. For example, "They have to study" versus "He has to study."
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023
In questions and negatives, "have to" and "has to" are used with auxiliary verbs. For instance, "Do I have to?" or "She doesn't have to." This contrasts with modal verbs like "must," showcasing a key aspect of their usage.
Janet White
Nov 27, 2023
Both "have to" and "has to" can be used in various tenses by changing the form of "have/has." Their meaning remains centered around necessity or obligation regardless of the tense. For example, "They will have to leave" (future tense) versus "She has to leave" (present tense).
Harlon Moss
Nov 27, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Subject Agreement

Used with I, you, we, they
Used with he, she, it
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Example

"We have to go now."
"She has to go now."
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Tense Variation

"I had to go" (past)
"She had to go" (past)
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Negative Form

"I don't have to go"
"He doesn't have to go"
Harlon Moss
Nov 27, 2023

Interrogative Form

"Do they have to attend?"
"Does he have to attend?"
Janet White
Nov 27, 2023
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Have To and Has To Definitions

Have To

Refers to a responsibility or obligation.
I have to take care of my pet.
Harlon Moss
Nov 10, 2023

Has To

Indicates a singular subject must do something.
It has to be done by tonight.
Sara Rehman
Nov 10, 2023

Have To

Indicates something is mandatory.
You have to wear a helmet while riding.
Sara Rehman
Nov 10, 2023

Has To

Responsibility of a singular subject.
She has to take care of her garden.
Harlon Moss
Nov 10, 2023

Have To

Denotes something essential.
They have to eat to survive.
Sara Rehman
Nov 10, 2023

Has To

Suggests compulsion for a singular subject.
He has to obey the law.
Sara Rehman
Nov 10, 2023

Have To

Suggests being compelled by external factors.
We have to follow the rules.
Sara Rehman
Nov 10, 2023

Has To

Essential action for a singular subject.
He has to eat to maintain his health.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 10, 2023

Have To

Implies a requirement or necessity.
I have to finish this task today.
Huma Saeed
Nov 10, 2023

Has To

Necessity for a singular subject.
She has to complete her homework.
Huma Saeed
Nov 10, 2023

FAQs

Is 'has to' only for obligations?

Primarily, yes. It's used to indicate necessity or compulsion, typically from an external source.
Harlon Moss
Nov 27, 2023

Can 'have to' and 'has to' be used interchangeably?

No, they cannot. "Have to" is used with plural subjects and I/you, while "has to" is used with third-person singular subjects.
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Can 'have to' be used for singular subjects?

Yes, with the singular subjects I and you.
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

How do you form a question with 'have to' and 'has to'?

Use auxiliary verbs, like "Do you have to?" or "Does she have to?"
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Can 'have to' and 'has to' imply personal desire?

No, they imply external obligation or necessity, not personal desire.
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Can you use modal verbs like 'must' instead of 'have to' or 'has to'?

Yes, but 'must' often implies a stronger sense of personal determination.
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Are 'have to' and 'has to' used in different tenses?

Both can be used in different tenses, but their form changes, like "had to" for the past tense.
Huma Saeed
Nov 27, 2023

How do 'have to' and 'has to' differ from 'should'?

'Should' implies a recommendation, while 'have to' and 'has to' imply obligation.
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

How does the negative form of 'have to' and 'has to' work?

Use "don't have to" or "doesn't have to" for negatives.
Janet White
Nov 27, 2023

How do 'have to' and 'has to' differ from 'need to'?

'Need to' often implies a personal necessity, while 'have to' and 'has to' imply external obligation.
Janet White
Nov 27, 2023

Are 'have to' and 'has to' formal expressions?

They are neutral and can be used in both formal and informal contexts.
Janet White
Nov 27, 2023

Can 'have to' be used for past obligations?

Yes, in the form of 'had to.'
Janet White
Nov 27, 2023

Are there any exceptions in the use of 'have to' and 'has to'?

Generally, their use is straightforward, following the rules of subject-verb agreement.
Janet White
Nov 27, 2023

Is 'have to' used differently in British and American English?

Usage is generally the same in both dialects.
Harlon Moss
Nov 27, 2023

Can 'have to' and 'has to' be used in continuous tenses?

They are not commonly used in continuous tenses.
Janet White
Nov 27, 2023

Is it possible to use 'have to' and 'has to' in subjunctive moods?

They are not typically used in subjunctive constructions.
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

How do 'have to' and 'has to' compare to 'ought to'?

'Ought to' often conveys a moral or ethical recommendation, while 'have to' and 'has to' convey obligation.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 27, 2023

Can 'have to' and 'has to' be used for future obligations?

Yes, with the help of auxiliary verbs, like "will have to."
Janet White
Nov 27, 2023

Are 'have to' and 'has to' used in passive voice?

They are typically used in active voice.
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Is there a difference in meaning between 'have got to' and 'have to'?

They are similar in meaning but 'have got to' is more informal.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 27, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sara Rehman
Sara Rehman is a seasoned writer and editor with extensive experience at Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Information Technology, she combines her academic prowess with her passion for writing to deliver insightful and well-researched content.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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