Essential Spanish Expression

Hay - there is in Spanish
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There are few expressions more useful than hay, the Spanish equivalent of both "there is" and "there are."

Por ejemplo…

Hay un manzano en el jardín.   There’s an apple tree in the garden.
¿Hay un problema?   Is there a problem?

 Hay is the present tense impersonal form of the verb haber. It’s always hay (invariable) regardless of whether the noun that follows is singular or plural.

Por ejemplo…

Hay muchas mariposas.   There are a lot of butterflies.
No hay problemas.   There aren’t any problems.

There was, there will be …

In other tenses and moods, the impersonal verb haber has both singular and plural impersonal conjugations, but most Spanish speakers consider use of the plurals as incorrect. I’ve provided both forms here for reference, with the plural conjugations asterisked as a reminder to use them with care – if at all.

Por ejemplo…

pretérito hubo uno
hubo dos
  there was one
there were two
* hubieron dos   there were two
imperfect había uno
había dos
  there was one
there were two
* habían dos   there were two
present perfect ha habido uno
ha habido dos
  there has been one
there have been two
* han habido dos   there have been two
conditional habría uno
habría dos
  there would be one
there would be two
* habrían dos   there would be two
future habrá uno
habrá dos
  there will be one
there will be two
* habrán dos   there will be two
subjunctive que haya uno
que haya dos
  that there is one
that there are two
* que hayan dos   that there are two

Hay que

When followed by an infinitive, hay que means "it is necessary to" or "one has to."

Por ejemplo…

Hay que estudiar cada día.   It’s necessary to study every day.
Hay que trabajar para triunfar en la vida.   One has to work in order to succeed in life.

 Related lessons

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Hay - There is in Spanish

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