Quick answer
"Deber" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "to owe", and "haber" is an auxiliary verb which is often translated as "to have". Learn more about the difference between "deber" and "haber" below.
deber(
deh
-
behr
)
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to reciprocate)
a. to owe
El dinero que me debe cubriría mis facturas.The money he owes me would cover my bills.
An auxiliary verb, or helper verb, is a conjugated verb that comes before a main verb and determines the main verb's tense, mood, or aspect (e.g. I have gone.).
2. (used to express obligation)
a. must (used with an infinitive)
Debo ser responsable.I must be responsible.
b. have to
Ya sabes que debes ponerte la corbata para ir al colegio.You know you have to wear your tie to go to school.
c. should
Los culpables de delitos viales deben ser sancionados.Traffic offenders should be punished.
d. ought to
Deberías ser más amable con los vecinos.You ought to be more polite with our neighbors.
3. (used to express possibility)
a. must (used with an infinitive)
¿Cuántos años tiene tu profesora de francés? - Debe tener unos cuarenta.How old is your French teacher? - She must be around forty.
A masculine noun is used with masculine articles and adjectives (e.g. el hombre guapo, el sol amarillo).
4. (responsibility)
a. duty
Es mi deber proteger mi país.It's my duty to protect my country.
b. obligation
Es tu deber como madre cuidar a tus hijos.It's your obligation as a mother to take care of your children.
deberes
A plural noun indicates that there is more than one person, place, thing, or idea.
plural noun
5. (education)
a. homework
Tengo un montón de deberes que hacer este fin de semana.I have a ton of homework to do this weekend.
deberse
A pronominal verb always uses a reflexive pronoun. (e.g. Te ves cansado.).
6. (to be the result of; used with "a")
a. to be due to
Esta situación se debe a la falta de información.This situation is due to a lack of information.
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haber(
ah
-
behr
)
An auxiliary verb, or helper verb, is a conjugated verb that comes before a main verb and determines the main verb's tense, mood, or aspect (e.g. I have gone.).
1. (used in compound tenses)
a. to have
Nunca habían ido a Costa Rica antes del verano pasado.They had never been to Costa Rica before last summer.
2. (to be obligated to; used with "de")
a. to have to
He de ir al trabajo el sábado.I have to go into work on Saturday.
b. must
Has de hacer tu tarea esta noche.You must do your homework tonight.
An impersonal verb is a verb with no apparent subject (e.g. Llueve en España.).
3. (to exist)
a. to be (used with "there")
No hay azúcar.There is no sugar.
No hubo tiempo para saludar a todos en la fiesta.There wasn't enough time to say hi to everyone at the party.
4. (to be obligated to; used with "que")
a. must
Hay que lavar todos los platos después de cenar.We must wash all the dishes after dinner.
b. should
Hay que hacer reservaciones para el hotel.We should make reservations for the hotel.
5. (used to express time)
a.
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
No sé si habrá tiempo para comer algo.I don't know if there will be enough time to eat something.
Tiempo ha del terremoto.The earthquake occurred a long time ago.
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
6. (to have)
a. to bear
Los hijos habidos de la aventura no fueron reconocidos por su padre.The children borne of the affair were not recognized by their father.
7. (to happen)
a.
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
El espectáculo habido esta semana está completamente vendido.This week's performance is totally sold out.
El accidente habido ayer resultó en dos fatalidades.Yesterday's accident resulted in two fatalities.
A masculine noun is used with masculine articles and adjectives (e.g. el hombre guapo, el sol amarillo).
8. (properties)
a. asset
Su haber consistía en la empresa familiar y dos mansiones.Her assets consist of the family business and two mansions.
9. (accounting)
a. credit side
El total del deber y del haber tienen que ser iguales.The debit and credit side totals must be equal.
10. (achievement)
a. credit
Tiene tres artículos publicados a su haber.She has three published articles to her credit.
haberes
A plural noun indicates that there is more than one person, place, thing, or idea.
plural noun
11. (payment)
a. earnings
Todavía no me han pagado los haberes del mes pasado.I still haven't been paid last month's earnings.
haberse
A pronominal verb always uses a reflexive pronoun. (e.g. Te ves cansado.).
12. (to confront)
a. to have it out with somebody
Se las va a haber con su hermano si no paran de discutir.He's going to have it out with his brother if they don't stop arguing.
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