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"ha de ser"


Estoy leyendo Cien años de soledad. La siguiente oración me confunde.

Mi casa ha de ser blanca como una paloma.

La traduccion del libro dice: My house is going to be white, like a dove.

¿"Ha de ser" es una manera común decir "va a ser"? o es "debería ser"? Cuáles son otros ejemplos de frases con "ha de"?


updated JUL 26, 2010
posted by alba3

6 Answers


Ok, Melipiru is right. There is more than one way to interpret this, so let's look more closely at the context of the quote:

-De modo que si usted se quiere quedar aquí, como otro ciudadana común y corriente, sea muy bienvenido - concluyó José Arcadio Buendía-. Pero si viene a implantar el desorden obligando a la gente que pinte su casa de azul, puede agarrar sus corotos y largarse por donde vino. Porque mi casa ha de ser blanca como una paloma.

Don Apolinar Moscote se puso pálido. Dio un paso atrás y apretó las mandíbulas para decir con una cierta aflicción: -Quiero advertirle que estoy armado.

In this case, José Arcadio absolutely refuses to accept an imposition regarding the color that his house must be painted. He likes it white, and he will not have any outsider force him to paint it blue.

So his house will (in this case) be white, even if he has to get into a fight about it.

I still think that my version stands: "My house shall be white like a dove". In the context, the statement sounds suitably forceful.

updated JUL 26, 2010
posted by Gekkosan
The context cleared it up. Nice reply. - 0074b507, JUL 19, 2010

In Spain this is certainly the case:

haber de = tener que

He de irme, tengo que irme.

También puede indicar probabilidad:

Han de ser las doce. I think it is 12 o'clock.

In any case, this is old-fashioned and mainly , if at all, used in literature.

updated MAY 16, 2012
posted by 00494d19
True. My grandma used to use it a lot. - Gekkosan, JUL 19, 2010

Q and Feliz agree that:

"My house is going to be white, like a dove."

Sounds like a poorly worded translation, but with correct meaning. In this case we probably need the sentence or two before this one for context.

I agree, and I don't think more context is necessary in this case.

"Mi casa ha de ser blanca como una paloma." to me means something closer to: "My house shall be white like a dove".

I believe that "shall" conveys that sense of wistfulness that is missing in "will". When someone says "Mi casa ha de ser blanca " he or she doesn't mean the house will definitely be so. Rather, he or she is stating a wish, a hope, that it will be that way if he or she has his or her way.

Edit: Changed my mind. Let's get some more context. See my other post.

updated JUL 26, 2010
edited by Gekkosan
posted by Gekkosan

Alba,"ha de ser"="tiene que ser"

No es una forma muy corriente de hablar, comúnmente decímos"tiene que ser"."Ha de ser" es una forma usada por los escritores sobre todo.

Ejm.Esa mujer "ha de ser"mia or

El castillo ha de ser restaurado por completo

updated MAY 13, 2012
edited by melipiru
posted by melipiru

haber de

Answer: Haber de followed by the infinitive usually means "to have to," "to be necessary," or "to be supposed to," kind of like tener que or haber que, but expressing a much weaker and often vague sense of obligation. Although the expression is used a lot in some areas, in other places you're more likely to come across it in literature (or song lyrics!).

Haber de also can express probability in much the same way that "have to" (or sometimes "must") in English can express probability rather than obligation:

Sounds like a poorly worded translation, but with correct meaning. In this case we probably need the sentence or two before this one for context.

updated JUL 26, 2010
edited by 0074b507
posted by 0074b507
I agree - FELIZ77, JUL 19, 2010

This quote from the DPD certainly confirms what Meli and Heidita have already said about the use of the "haber de + infinitive" formula.

[haber de + infinitivo.][1] En el español general, esta perífrasis denota obligación, conveniencia o necesidad de que el sujeto realice la acción expresada por el verbo —o, si el infinitivo es pasivo, de que le suceda lo expresado por el verbo— y equivale a tener que, fórmula preferida en el habla corriente

In addition, the DPD also adds:

A veces expresa, simplemente, acción futura: «¡No he de morir hasta enmendarlo!» (Cuzzani Cortés [Arg. 1988]); «Ni siquiera la guerra habría de aliviar el temor y el respeto que imponía aquel valle a trasmano» (Benet Saúl [Esp. 1980]).

It seems as though this second quote has a direct bearing on the discussion of your original question; that is to say that it seems as though it is this second meaning of future action that is conveyed by the text. This seems to substantiate what has already been said by Gekkosan regarding the use of the auxiliaries "shall" or "will" and by the translation you yourself provided originally with the use of "going to."

I just wanted to add one ever so slight wrinkle to this discussion. In the book Bilingual grammar of English-Spanish syntax: a manual with exercises and key (Hill and Bradford), the authors contend that the use of "haber de + infinitive" is often used to convey a less intimidating obligation than with the use of "tener que." Very often, it is used to convey an obligation that we ourselves (the speaker) have imposed. For this reason, it is suggested that the "haber + de" expression can often be translated best as "to be + infinitive.

This explanation actually seems to fit well with your original sentence as you can see by the following:

Mi casa ha de ser blanca como una paloma - My house is to be white like a dove.

Here you can see that the speaker refers to the result of a future action. In addition, the obligation is less forcefully implied than were it to have been said, "must be white..." or "has to be white...."

Finally, this translation appears to coincide with the idea that the obligation originated with the speaker himself or that the obligation is on the speaker's authority. Again, I am not contending that any one phrase is "more correct" than another. The truth is that I think the difference between each of the translations (owing partly to the overlap in meaning that can occur between them) is ever so subtle that it would probably not be noticed much were one expression exchanged for another. My only motivation was that I had only recently read of the "to be + inf" explanation of the "haber de" phrase and thought that there was enough merit in its use to deserve a mention in this discussion. I hope that you found it useful.

updated MAY 13, 2012
edited by Izanoni1
posted by Izanoni1
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