How to Say “Has” in Sign Language: A Comprehensive Guide

Sign language is a powerful mode of communication used by the deaf and hard of hearing community. It utilizes a combination of handshapes, facial expressions, and body movements to convey meaning. In American Sign Language (ASL), the word “has” can be expressed in several ways depending on the context. In this guide, we will explore formal and informal ways to convey “has” in ASL, with tips, examples, and some insights into regional variations if necessary.

Formal Ways to Say “Has” in Sign Language

When communicating formally in ASL, there are several signs that can be used to convey the meaning of “has.” It’s important to note that the specific sign chosen may vary depending on the sentence structure and subject matter. Here are a few commonly used signs:

  • Open-handed “5” handshape: This sign is made by forming an open hand with all fingers extended and pressed together. The hand is then placed near the chest, palm inward, and moved slightly forward. This sign indicates possession or ownership. For example, in the sentence “She has a cat,” you can sign “SHE” followed by the open-handed “5” handshape near the chest, moving forward slightly.
  • Index finger pointing: Another formal way to express “has” is by pointing an index finger towards the subject. For instance, in the sentence “He has a car,” you can sign “HE” followed by pointing your index finger towards where the car would be located.

It’s crucial to remember that ASL is a visual language, so facial expressions and body movements play a significant role in conveying meaning. Therefore, it’s important to accompany these signs with appropriate facial expressions and body language to ensure clear communication.

Informal Ways to Say “Has” in Sign Language

Informal sign language is often influenced by regional differences and can vary among individuals or small communities. However, here are a few informal ways to convey “has” in ASL that are commonly used:

  • Flat hand tap: In some informal contexts, signing “has” can be simplified by tapping the flat of one hand against the palm of the other. This gesture conveys possession or ownership. For example, in the sentence “They have a dog,” you can tap the flat of your dominant hand against the palm of your non-dominant hand to represent “has.”
  • Index finger wiggle: Another informal method involves wiggling the index finger near the subject. This gesture is used to express that someone possesses or has something. For instance, in the sentence “I have three siblings,” you can wiggle your index finger while signing “I” to indicate ownership.

Remember, these informal ways may not be universally understood and might be specific to certain regions or individuals. It’s always best to learn and use the formal signs to ensure effective communication across a broader audience.

Tips for Communicating “Has” in Sign Language

Whether you choose to use formal or informal signs for “has” in ASL, here are a few essential tips to keep in mind:

  1. Practice facial expressions: Facial expressions play a crucial role in sign language. Use appropriate facial expressions to convey emotions, questions, and nuances effectively.
  2. Use appropriate body movements: Body movements help emphasize meaning and add clarity to your signing. Incorporate subtle movements like head tilts, shoulder shifts, or body leans to enhance your message.
  3. Consider regional variations: Don’t be surprised if you encounter variations in signs or gestures in different areas. Be open to learning and adapting to the signing styles of the local community you are communicating with.
  4. Take advantage of online resources: The internet offers various resources, including videos, tutorials, and interactive platforms, to help you improve your sign language skills. Take advantage of these resources to enhance your signing abilities.
  5. Practice with a fluent signer: Regular practice with a fluent signer can greatly enhance your understanding and fluency in sign language. Seek opportunities to practice and learn from someone who is proficient in ASL.

Examples of “Has” in Sign Language

To further solidify your understanding, here are some example sentences that illustrate how to sign “has” in ASL:

“My friend has a new house.”


“We have two cats.”


“His brother has three children.”



Mastering sign language is a journey that requires dedication, practice, and an understanding of the various ways to express different concepts. When it comes to saying “has” in ASL, it’s essential to consider both formal and informal signs, while being mindful of regional variations. Always remember to use appropriate handshapes, facial expressions, and body movements to effectively convey meaning. Regular practice and exposure to fluent signers will help you gain fluency and confidence in sign language communication. So, keep practicing and continue learning to expand your skills in ASL!

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Written by Ernest Max

Hello there! I'm Ernest, your go-to guy for all things Sign Language. In my free time, I write comprehensive, user-friendly guides to help anyone learn ASL with ease and fun. I also enjoy cooking, traveling, and a good cup of iced coffee, often finding creative ways to incorporate Sign Language into everyday life. My passion extends beyond 'I love you' and 'Thank you' phrases, all the way to more unconventional expressions like 'UwU' and 'Lazy'. So whether you're a beginner or just in need of a fun new way to say 'Coke' or 'Bunny', I'm here to help make Sign Language accessible and enjoyable for all!

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