The Verb "Haber"
Haber is a challenging verb to conjugate since it is irregular in the majority of tenses. Click here for the conjugation chart.
Using Haber as an Impersonal Verb
Haber is most commonly used as an impersonal verb to state what exists and to express general obligations.
Haber translates as to be when expressing the existence of a noun. This is pretty simple in the present tense, but it can get a little trickier in the past when deciding between the preterite and imperfect.
When stating the existence of a noun in the past tense, we use the preterite or imperfect.
Let’s take a look at a few examples of how haber is used in a variety of tenses to state the existence of a noun.
Hay Que + Infinitive
Haber is used with que followed by an infinitive to express general obligations regarding what should or must be done.
Let’s put this into practice!
Using Haber as an Auxiliary Verb
Haber is also used as an auxiliary verb, which is a helping verb.
The Spanish perfect tenses are formed by combining a conjugated form of the auxiliary verb haber (to have) with a past participle.
Take a look at how haber is used in all of the Spanish perfect tenses.
Haber + De + Infinitive
Haber with Weather Expressions
Haber conjugated in the third person singular is used in many weather expressions in Spanish. The expressions in the following table are in the present indicative, and describe what the weather is currently like. Using the same expressions, haber can be conjugated in other tenses to say what the weather was like, will be like, etc.
|Weather Expression in Spanish||Meaning in English|
|there are clouds|
Here are some more useful expressions with haber!
|Expression in Spanish||Meaning in English|
|there’s something fishy/something’s up|
|the moon is out|
|there’s a lot to do|
|don’t mention it|
|to have it out with|
|once upon a time|
|What am I to do?|