'Hasn't' vs 'Haven't': What's the Difference?

By Katie Moore, updated on July 1, 2023

‘Hasn’t’ vs ‘Haven’t’: What’s the Difference? This article is going to be a helpful lesson in learning the singular and plural versions of words. You will also learn about what a contraction is and how they are commonly used in English writing. 

In a rush? Here’s a preview of what’s to come: 

  • ‘Hasn’t’ is the contracted version of the singular ‘has not’ and is used when one person has not done something. 
  • ‘Haven’t’ is the contracted version of the plural ‘have not’ and is used when more than one person has not done something. 

What’s the Difference Between ‘Hasn’t’ vs ‘Haven’t’?

The key difference between these two words is how many people they apply to.

  • ‘Hasn’t’ is the singular form, meaning the verb only describes what one person has not done.
  • Meanwhile ‘Haven’t’ is the plural form, meaning the verb describes the actions of what at least two or more have not done. 

An exception to this rule is when using the first person singular “I,” in which case you would use the plural form ‘Haven’t.’ Keep this exception in mind, but otherwise, you will need to focus on the number of people you’re talking about to determine which word is the proper one to use. 

Now that we’ve discussed the key difference between these words, let’s take a closer look at some grammar basics —like singular vs plural, and contractions— to help you with future similar words. 

When to Use Singular vs. Plural

‘Hasn’t’ and ‘Haven’t’ are verbs, so we will focus on verbs in this section even though other parts of speech can also be both singular and plural.

  • Singular verbs, such as ‘Hasn’t,’ are used when only one person or object is doing an action.
  • Plural verbs, such as ‘Haven’t’ are used when more than one person or object is doing an action. 

Singular verbs often keep their root and simply add an ‘-s’ as a suffix to the end of the word. While ‘Has’ is its own root, it does follow the rule of having an ‘-s’ at the end. 

Here are some examples of singular verbs:

  • she sings
  • he eats
  • she laughs
  • he rides 

Plural verbs, on the other hand, tend to stay in their infinitive root form, but they are identified as plural by the subject (either people or things) attached to them. 

Here are some examples of plural verbs:

  • they sing
  • we eat
  • they laugh
  • we ride 

When determining whether to use ‘Hasn’t’ vs ‘Haven’t,’ be sure to take a look at the root verb within the word so you can assess whether the verb is singular or plural. What makes this tricky? Navigating, finding the root within the contraction.

Let’s learn more about what contractions are and what they do. 

Contractions: What Are They? How Do We Use Them? 

Contractions are a bit of a language shortcut, and it’s a way of combining two words into one to make them shorter, and it is typically used on verbs. In the case of ‘Hasn’t’ and ‘Haven’t,’ the word ‘not’ is shortened and glued to the end of the root verb. The shortening is indicated by replacing the “o” with an apostrophe, indicating that it shouldn’t be pronounced. 

Here is a breakdown of our new words: 

  • ‘Hasn’t’ is contracted from  ‘Has not.’ 
  • ‘Haven’t’ is contracted from ‘Have not. 

Note: the word's root doesn’t change when forming the contraction. Only the “not” is shortened. This is because, linguistically, it is easier for us to combine the ending words to make our speech flow more and so we can speak and get our points across quicker. 

Contracting verbs is also a great way to make your writing or speaking sound less formal and more conversational. As mentioned, we often use contractions naturally because they make our speech more efficient. Still, they also make it less serious, which can be helpful in informal writing settings such as text messages. 

How to Use ‘Hasn’t’ vs ‘Haven’t’ in a Sentence

Since you now have more basic information on the building blocks of our new words, let’s take a look at some example sentences using ‘Hasn’t’ vs ‘Haven’t.’ Be sure to focus on the subjects of the sentences and keep an eye out for singular vs plural, as well as the first-person exception. 


  • She hasn’t done enough chores around the house, so she can’t go to the sleepover. 
  • It’s already 9:00 p.m., and he hasn’t even started all the homework he has left. 
  • It hasn’t rained at all in two weeks, and people are scared of wildfires. 
  • She needs to be home for a dinner party, but she hasn’t left work yet. 


  • The siblings got into a fight and haven’t spoken to each other all day. 
  • I haven’t seen the new Marvel movie, and I am scared of spoilers online. 
  • They haven’t been able to move into their new apartment because of renovations. 
  • People haven’t heard back about the dangerous weather, and they’re getting scared. 

Final Advice on ‘Hasn’t’ vs ‘Haven’t’

This article has posed as a handful of mini-lessons all in one spot. You’ve learned when to use singular and plural forms of verbs, what contractions are, and how to use both of those when comparing ‘Hasn’t’ vs ‘Haven’t.’ Remember that the number of people doing the action and the root of the contraction are the biggest things to focus on when determining when to use these words. 

Need a quick recap of what we covered? 

  • Remember that ‘Hasn’t’ is the singular contracted version of ‘Has Not’ and is used in reference to just one person. 
  • Meanwhile, ‘Haven’t’ is the plural contracted version of ‘Have Not’ and is used to reference groups of people, except it also references the first person singular ‘I.’ 

Navigating and learning new words can be made more difficult when they include a variety of word adjustments, as we see in ‘Hasn’t’ and ‘Haven’t.’ But the more you learn these words individually as well as the way they change when made singular/plural or when they are contracted, the better you’ll be at mastering language. Look at more confusing words like these in our other articles to get a grasp on other contractions that can cause problems in writing.

We encourage you to share this article on Twitter and Facebook. Just click those two links - you'll see why.

It's important to share the news to spread the truth. Most people won't.

Written By:
Katie Moore
Katie is a recent graduate of Occidental College where she worked as a writer and editor for the school paper while studying linguistics and journalism. She loves helping others find their voice in writing and making their work the strongest it can be. Katie also loves learning and speaking other languages and wants to help make writing accessible for everyone.

Add new comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WritingTips.org Newsletter
Receive information on
new articles posted, important topics, and tips.
Join Now
We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.