A little confused with haber
Anyone of you guys could help me out. I asked three different Spanish natives the same question and I had three different answers.
The question is. How do you say: There were lots of people gathered at the plaza.
The answers were:
Habia muchas personas reunidas en la plaza
Hubo muchas personas reunidas en la plaza
Hubieron muchas personas reunidas en la plaza
Which one is the correct one?
The most ´correct´ one is the ´había muchas personas reunidas en la plaza´. You can also see instances of ´hubo´ but that´s the preterit form of ´haber´ and depends mostly on the point of view of the speaker, the way they want to express something.
´Hubieron´ is totally incorrect, even though some might say that. Just like in the present form when we say ´hay 5 personas en la plaza´, there´s only one form, which is ´hay´ and doesn´t vary even when used with something more than one (plural). That´s the tendency though in spanish, it´s very natural and happens all the time, the agreement between verb and subject so that´s what makes some people say stuff like ´habían 5 personas´ so as to utilize ´haber´ in a plural form. But as said, in this instance, this does not happen. Había!
I would use "Habia muchas personas reunidas en la plaza" because the imperfect fits in this situation -- you're not talking about a specific period of time that started and ended. Instead, you're giving a description of what was.