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.

Spanish Verb Haber: Uses

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. 

Spanish Verb Haber: Conjugations

INDICATIVE – SIMPLE TENSES

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

SUBJ.PRESENTIMPERF.PRET.FUTURECOND.
YoHeHabía
HubeHabré
Habría

HasHabías
HubisteHabrás
Habrías
El/ella, Ud.
HaHabía
HuboHabrá
Habría
Nosotros/as
HemosHabíamos
HubimosHabremos
Habríamos
Vosotros/as
Habéis
Habíais
HubisteisHabréis
Habríais
Ellos/as, Uds.
HanHabíanHubieronHabránHabrían

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 habidoHabía habido
Habré habido
Habría habido

Has habidoHabías habido
Habrás habido
Habrías habido
El/ella, Ud.
Ha habidoHabía habido
Habrá habido
Habría habido
Nosotros/as
Hemos habidoHabíamos habido
Habremos habido
Habríamos habido
Vosotros/as
Habéis habido
Habíais habido
Habréis habidoHabríais habido
Ellos/as, Uds.
Han habidoHabíais habido
Habrán habido
Habrían habido

SUBJUNCTIVE – SIMPLE TENSES

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

SUBJ.PRESENTIMPERF.FUTURE
YoHayaHubiera or hubieseHubiere

HayasHubieras or hubiesesHubieres
El/ella, Ud.
HayaHubiera or hubieseHubiere
Nosotros/as
HayamosHubiéramos or hubiésemos
Hubiéremos
Vosotros/as
HayáisHubierais or hubieseisHubiereis
Ellos/as, Uds.
HayanHubieran or hubiesenHubieren

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 habidoHubiera or hubiese habido
Hubiere habido

Hayas habidoHubieras or hubieses habido
Hubieres habido
Él/ella, Ud.
Haya habidoHubiera or hubiese habido
Hubiere habido
Nosotros/as
Hayamos habidoHubiéramos or hubiésemos habido
Hubiéremos habido
Vosotros/as
Hayáis habido
Hubierais or hubieseis habido
Hubiereis habido
Ellos/as, Uds.
Hayan habidoHubieran or hubiesen habido
Hubieren habido

IMPERATIVE

SUBJECTAFIRMATIVENEGATIVE
Yo--

Habe!
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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