Is “He’s” the Contraction for “He Is” or “He Has”?

The contract “he’s” can be a little tricky because people are often unsure if it means “he has” or “he is.” If you read on, this page will explain exactly what the term means and shows how it is used in example sentences.

Is “He’s” the Contraction for “He Is” or “He Has”?

The contraction “he`s” can mean both “he is” or “he has” when the “s” refers to the auxiliaries verbs of “is” and “has.” However, when referring to the 3rd person present participle of “have”, which is “has”, the contraction is incorrect.

he's contraction he is he has

The Cambridge Dictionary states that “he’s” is the contraction for “he is”, used in present tenses, and “he has”, used in present perfect tenses.

Therefore, in these examples, which are present simple and present perfect,  the “s” can mean both “is” and “has”:

  • He’s an excellent doctor.
  • He’s already drunk too much to be able to drive.
  • He’s a really nice person once you get to know him.
  • He’s been driving for three hours and still hasn’t arrived.

However, if you are using the word “has” as the 3rd person present participle of “have”, the contraction is incorrect. As shown in the following examples:

  • He’s a new car. – INCORRECT
  • He’s two brothers and a sister. – INCORRECT

To make these sentences correct and reflect possession or obligation, it is common to use the verb “got” along with the contraction, which becomes:

  • He’s got a new car.
  • He’s got two brothers and a sister.

Is “He’s” the Contraction for “He Is”?

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the contraction “he’s” is a valid and correct contraction for the auxiliary verb “is”, which is used in present simple and continuous.

There are no circumstances where “he’s” is incorrect if it is used to refer to “he is” in present tenses, like in the examples below.

Here are some examples of “he’s” in present tenses:

  • He’s giving a speech tomorrow afternoon.
  • He’s a very successful sportsman.
  • He’s having dinner with us tomorrow night.
  • He’s French.
  • He’s doing a degree a Greek History.

Is “He’s” the Contraction for “He Has”?

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the contract “he’s” can be used to represent “he has.”

However, it can only be used in this way as the auxiliary verb for present perfect tenses. “He’s” cannot be used as the 3rd person form of “have.”

As shown in the example sentences:

However, the following sentences would be incorrect:

  • He’s a new girlfriend, and she seems nice. – INCORRECT
  • He’s the flu, so he isn’t coming to work. – INCORRECT

These sentences would generally be made correct by adding “get”:

  • He’s got a new girlfriend, and she seems nice. – CORRECT
  • He’s got the flu, so he isn’t coming to work. – CORRECT

When Can I Use the Contraction “He’s”?

You can use the contraction “he’s” when the “s” refers to the auxiliaries “is” or “has.” However, you cannot use “he’s” as the 3rd person form of the verb “have.”

It is generally best to avoid contractions to avoid ambiguity and be more concise in formal or academic writing. However, in informal writing or messages, it is standard and common to use the contraction “he’s”  for both present and present perfect tenses.

Final Thoughts

The contraction “he’s” can be used if the “s” represents the auxiliaries “is” or “has” from present and present perfect tenses. However, the contraction “he’s” is incorrect if used as the 3rd person form of “have”, in which case the verb “get” needs to be added.