Spanish verb haber

The Spanish Verb Haber - Uses and Conjugations

First of all, the Spanish verb haber is complex and peculiar, like the verb soler. In fact, if you look at the definition of haber by Real Academia Española dictionary, you will find several definitions for this verb. In addition, haber is an irregular verb, which makes things more complicated. However, this complexity is also what makes the verb haber one of the most important verbs in Spanish.

How to use the Spanish Verb Haber

You can use verb haber in Spanish for several situations, being the following ones the most common:

AUXILIARY VERB

Probably, most people know the verb for this reason. In this case, haber helps other verbs and itself to form formas verbales compuestas.

AUXILIARY VERB HABER + PAST PARTICIPLE

Examples
  • Ha habido un terremoto. → There has been an earthquake.
  • Habíamos cantado la canción. → We had song the sung. 

IMPERSONAL FORM

Maybe, the most important use, but definitely, the one that makes students of Spanish as a second language make the most mistakes.

One important thing here is that the noun that goes with the verb is not the subject, but the direct object.

HAY= There is o there are.

Examples
  • Hay leche en el frigorífico. → There is milk in the fridge. 
  • Hay tres manzanas en la mesa. → There are three apples on the table. 

TALKING ABOUT EXISTENCE

You can use verb haber to express the existence of something or someone somewhere. In this case, we use he followed by words such as aquí or allí  and the direct object.

HE

Examples
  • He aquí los billetes de tren. → Here are the train tickets. 
  • He allí tu nieto. → There is your grandson. 

EXPRESSING OBLIGATION

You can use two different verbal periphrases to express obligation: hay que and haber que.

HAY QUE + INFINITIVE= Tener que≈ To have to

Examples
  • Hay que poner la mesa. → One has to set up the table/you have to set up the table. 
  • No hay que hacer la cena. → No, it is not necessary to make dinner/no, you do not have to make dinner. 

HABER DE + INFINITIVE= Tener que≈ To have to

Examples
  • He de hacer los deberes. → I have to do the homework. 
  • Hemos de acabar la carrerera. → We have to finish the race. 

How to conjugate the Spanish Verb Haber

INDICATIVE – SIMPLE TENSES

Abbreviations: Subject (SUBJ.), imperfect (IMPERF.), preterite (PRET.) and conditional (COND.).

SUBJ.PRESENTIMPERF.PRET.FUTURECOND.
YoHe
Había

Hube
Habré

Habría


Has
Habías

Hubiste
Habrás

Habrías

El/ella, Ud.
Ha
Había

Hubo
Habrá

Habría

Nosotros/as
Hemos
Habíamos

Hubimos
Habremos

Habríamos

Vosotros/as
Habéis

Habíais

Hubisteis
Habréis

Habríais

Ellos/as, Uds.
Han
Habían
Hubieron
Habrán
Habrían

INDICATIVE – COMPOUND TENSES

Abbreviations: Subject (SUBJ.), present perfect (PRES. PERF.), past perfect (PAST PERF.), future perfect (FUT. PERF.) and conditional perfect (COND. PERF.).

SUBJ.PRES. PERF.PAST PERF.FUT. PERF.COND. PERF.
YoHe habido
Había habido

Habré habido

Habría habido


Has habido
Habías habido

Habrás habido

Habrías habido

El/ella, Ud.
Ha habido
Había habido

Habrá habido

Habría habido

Nosotros/as
Hemos habido
Habíamos habido

Habremos habido

Habríamos habido

Vosotros/as
Habéis habido

Habíais habido

Habréis habido
Habríais habido

Ellos/as, Uds.
Han habido
Habían habido

Habrán habido

Habrían habido

SUBJUNCTIVE – SIMPLE TENSES

Abbreviations: Subject (SUBJ.) and imperfect (IMPERF.).

SUBJ.PRESENTIMPERF.FUTURE
YoHaya
Hubiera
Hubiese
Hubiere

Hayas
Hubieras
Hubieses
Hubieres
El/ella, Ud.
Haya
Hubiera
Hubiese
Hubiere
Nosotros/as
Hayamos
Hubiéramos
Hubiésemos

Hubiéremos

Vosotros/as
Hayáis
Hubierais
Hubieseis
Hubiereis

Ellos/as, Uds.
Hayan
Hubieran
Hubiesen
Hubieren

SUBJUNCTIVE – COMPOUND TENSES

Abbreviations: Subject (SUBJ.), present perfect (PRES. PERF.), past perfect (PAST PERF.) and future perfect (FUT. PERF.).

SUBJ.PRES. PERF.PAST PERF.FUT. PERF.
YoHaya habido
Hubiera habido
Hubiese habido

Hubiere habido

Hayas habido
Hubieras habido
Hubieses habido

Hubieres habido
Él/ella, Ud.
Haya habido
Hubiera habido
Hubiese habido

Hubiere habido
Nosotros/as
Hayamos habido
Hubiéramos
habido
Hubiésemos habido
Hubiéremos habido
Vosotros/as
Hayáis habido

Hubierais habido
Hubieseis habido

Hubiereis habido
Ellos/as, Uds.
Hayan habido
Hubieran habido
Hubiesen habido

Hubieren habido

IMPERATIVE

SUBJECTAFIRMATIVENEGATIVE
Yo--

¡He!

¡No hayas!
Él/ella, Ud.
¡Haya!
¡No haya!
Nosotros/as
¡Hayamos!
¡No hayamos!
Vosotros/as
¡Habed!
¡No hayáis!

Ellos/as, Uds.
¡Hayan!

¡No hayan!


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