Contractions with the verb HAVE

This lesson explains how to make contractions with the verb HAVE and a subject pronoun or the negative adverb not. Before you continue, review these lessons: Contractions | Verb HAVE .

Read lesson
 * en español
 * en français

The simple present of the verb HAVE (have | has) is frequently contracted with a subject. Join the conjugated verb to the subject and replace the first two letters of the verb with an apostrophe.

not contracted   words
joined
  delete first
two letters
  contracted
I have Ihave Ihave I’ve
They have Theyhave Theyhave They’ve

In American English, has is not usually contracted with a subject when it is the main verb in a sentence.

uncontracted (common)   contracted (not common)
I have a blue car. I’ve a blue car.
We have good news. We’ve good news.

Instead, Americans prefer using the present perfect with got ( past participle of the verb GET).

uncontracted   contracted   American English
I have a blue car. I’ve a blue car. I’ve got a blue car.
We have good news. We’ve good news. We’ve got good news.

Has can never be contracted with its subject (he, she, or it) when it is the main verb in the sentence and is in the present tense.

uncontracted incorrect
He has chocolate. He’s chocolate.
She has a car. She’s a car.

These false contractions look the same as contractions made with BE and change the meaning:

He+is He’s
She+is She’s
It+is It’s

However, these contractions are possible when HAVE is the auxiliary verb in the sentence.

uncontracted = contracted
He has left. He’s left.
It has rained. It’s rained.

We know these contractions are formed with has because they are  followed by past participles (left | rained).

In negative statements, the auxiliary verb HAVE is often contracted with the negative adverb not. Join not to the conjugation and replace the o with an apostrophe.

uncontracted   words
joined
  delete
the o
  contracted
have not havenot havenot haven’t
has not hasnot hasnot hasn’t

Here are examples of both forms of contraction: (subject + HAVE) and (HAVE + not).

uncontracted   less common   more common
I have not finished. I’ve not finished. I haven’t finished.
You have not eaten. You’ve not eaten. You haven’t eaten.
He has not started. He’s not started. He hasn’t started.
It has not rained. It’s not rained. It hasn’t rained.
We have not seen it. We’ve not seen it. We haven’t seen it.
They have not met. They’ve not met. They haven’t met.

There is no difference in meaning between these two forms of contraction, but the contractions with not are more common.

Related lessons:

Read lesson
 * en español
 * en français

Leave a Reply