haber-conjugation

Haber Conjugations: The Complete Guide to this Spanish Verb in All Its Forms

How would you shout “Hey, there are whales over there!” in Spanish?

Well, I’ll tell you. This is the complete guide to one of the most useful words in the Spanish language: haber (to have).

Read on to learn how to use haber as an impersonal verb, as an auxiliary verb and as a participle.

We’ll also cover all of the haber conjugations, some common expressions that use a form of haber and ways to practice using the verb yourself.

Let’s get started!

Contents

The Uses of Haber

Haber can be used in a few ways, each with their own forms and rules.

As an impersonal verb

The most basic use of haber is to indicate existence.

This can be in a tangible sense, like:

Hay una mesa en el comedor.
(There is a table in the dining room.)

It can also indicate the existence of something intangible:

Hay química entre nosotros.
(There is chemistry between us.)

Haber as an impersonal verb can also indicate a lack of existence.

For example:

No hay ninguna cama en la cocina.
(There isn’t any bed in the kitchen.)

No habrá posibilidad de amor en mi vida, porque Ana no me quiere más.
(There will be no chance of love in my life because Ana doesn’t love me anymore.)

A simple way to use it is to ask about products in stores:

¿Hay velas?
(Are there any candles?)

A more advanced way to employ it is when making vague proclamations:

Hay demasiada tristeza en las noticias.
(There is too much sadness on the news.)

Siempre hay gente que no cree en lo verdadero.
(There are always people who don’t believe in what is true.)

And when coupled with que, haber as an impersonal verb shows what must happen or what must be done:

Hay que tener cuidado.
(We/one/you/I must be careful.)

Did you recognize the form?

When used as an impersonal verb, haber is always conjugated in the third person (that’s what makes it “impersonal”).

One thing to note is that when discussing plural objects in everyday conversations, the third-person plural form of haber may pop up from time to time.

However, it’s highly encouraged by language academies to only use the third-person singular conjugation and ignore the grammatical number of the object.

As an auxiliary verb

Haber can also function as an auxiliary verb. That means it acts as a helping verb to support the sentence’s main verb.

In this function, haber and its companion verb express an action that has been or will be completed. It’s roughly equivalent to the English “have” or “had.”

For example:

Había salido.
(I had left.)

Han estudiado durante tres horas hoy.
(They have studied for three hours today.)

Mateo y Isabella habrán estado casados dos años este mes.
(Mateo and Isabella will have been married for two years this month.)

Notice that when haber is used as an auxiliary verb, it is always followed by another verb in the past participle form (ending with –ado or –ido). That’s basically how you form the perfect tenses, as you’ll later in the post.

As a participle

Finally, the verb haber can also be used as a participle.

You may see it in the present participle form (also known as the gerund), which never changes: habiendo.

This translates to the English “having,” like this:

Habiendo cenado, Luis decidió mirar televisión.
(Having eaten dinner, Luis decided to watch television.)

You may also see haber in the past participle form, paired with its auxiliary verb form: haber + habido.

Ha habido muchos cambios este año.
(There have been a lot of changes this year.)

The Impersonal Verb Haber

Remember that as an impersonal verb, haber indicates existence and is always conjugated in the third-person form.

In the following charts, irregular endings have been bolded.

Haber conjugations in the indicative

The indicative mood discusses facts—things that have happened, are happening or will happen.

Conjugate haber as an impersonal verb in the indicative mood like this:

TenseSpanishEnglish
Presenthaythere is/are
Imperfecthabíathere was/were
Preteritehubothere was/were
Futurehabráthere will be
Conditionalhabríathere would be
Present Perfectha habidothere has/have been
Pluperfecthabía habidothere had been
Preterite Perfect
(archaic)
hubo habidothere had been
Future Perfecthabrá habidothere will have been
Conditional Perfecthabría habidothere would have been

Haber conjugations in the subjunctive

The subjunctive mood discusses opinions, perceptions, possibilities and more.

Here’s how to conjugate haber as an impersonal verb in the subjunctive mood:

TenseSpanishEnglish
Presenthayathere is/are
Imperfecthubiera, hubiesethere was/were
Future
(archaic)
hubierethere would be
Present Perfecthaya habidothere has/have been
Pluperfecthubiera habido, hubiese habidothere had been
Future Perfect
(archaic)
hubiere habidothere will have been

Common expressions with hay

There are some useful phrases that use hay, the present indicative form of the impersonal verb haber:

  • hay de todo
    (there’s a bit of everything)
  • de lo que no hay
    (the worst/the pits)
  • aquí hay tomate
    (something’s fishy)
    [literally: here there are tomatoes]
  • a buen hambre no hay pan duro
    (beggars can’t be choosers)
    [literally: to good hunger there isn’t hard bread]
  • es lo que hay
    (that’s all there is)
  • hay de todo como en botica
    (there’s a wide range/there’s a bit of everything)
    [literally: there’s everything like in the pharmacy]
  • hay más tiempo que vida
    (there’s all the time in the world)
    [literally: there’s more time than life]

The Auxiliary Verb Haber

When haber is used as an auxiliary verb, it works with another verb in the past participle form to talk about actions that have been or will be completed.

Again, bold endings in the charts are irregular conjugations.

Haber conjugations in the indicative

In the indicative mood, you’ll see these forms of the auxiliary verb haber:

PresentImperfectPreteriteFutureConditional
he
I have
había
I used to have
hube
I had
habré
I will have
habría
I would have
has
you have
habías
you used to have
hubiste
you had
habrás
you will have
habrías
you would have
ha
he/she has
you (formal) have
había
he/she/you used to have
hubo
he/she/you had
hab
he/she/you will have
habría
he/she/you would have
hemos
we have
habíamos
we used to have
hubimos
we had
habremos
we will have
habríamos
we would have
habéis
you (plural) have
habíais
you used to have
hubisteis
you had
habréis
you will have
habríais
you would have
han
they/you (formal, plural) have
habían
they/you used to have
hubieron
they/you had
habrán
they/you will have
habrían
they/you would have

Remember, these forms will be followed by another verb ending in –ado or –ido!

You may also see haber together with its past participle form.

In reality, you’ll only really encounter the third-person singular form.

TenseSpanishEnglish
Present Perfectha habidothere has/have been
Pluperfecthabía habidothere had been
Preterite Perfect
(archaic)
hubo habidothere had been
Future Perfecthabrá habidothere will have been
Conditional Perfecthabría habidothere would have been

Haber conjugations in the subjunctive

In the subjunctive mood, haber conjugates like this alongside the past participle form of another verb:

PresentImperfectFuture
(archaic)
haya
I have
hubiera, hubiese
I had
hubiere
I will have
hayas
you have
hubieras, hubieses
you had
hubieres
you will have
haya
he/she/you (formal) have
hubiera, hubiese
he/she/you had
hubiere
he/she/you will have
hayamos
we have
hubiéramos, hubiésemos
we had
hubiéremos
we will have
hayáis
you (plural) have
hubierais, hubieseis
you had
hubiereis
you will have
hayan
they/you (formal, plural) have
hubieran, hubiesen
they/you had
hubieren
they/you will have

And it appears together with its past participle form.

Just like the perfect tenses in the indicative mood, you’ll only ever use haber + habido in the third-person singular form.

TenseSpanishEnglish
Present Perfecthaya habidothere has/have been
Pluperfecthubiera habidothere had been
Future Perfect
(archaic)
hubiere habidothere would have been

How to Practice with Haber

A simple exercise you can do with haber is to describe what exists and what doesn’t using a set of nouns.

For example, have you recently learned Spanish household vocabulary? Then you can practice writing (or saying) sentences like:

  • There is a desk in my bedroom.
  • There is no sugar in the kitchen.
  • There is a pool in the neighbor’s backyard.

You can also repeat this exercise to discuss a situation in the past (using the correct haber conjugations, of course!).

For even more practice, you can watch the authentic Spanish videos on FluentU and listen for the different uses and conjugations of haber.

haber conjugation

Watch video clips like talk shows, movies and music videos to immerse yourself in Spanish the way native speakers really use it.

Learn new words from the interactive subtitles, save them to your personalized vocabulary deck and quiz yourself later on the web or on your Android or iOS device.

 

So, what’s there in your dining room? Who is (or isn’t) there in your heart?

I think it’s your turn to practice haber conjugations now.

Enter your e-mail address to get your free PDF!

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe

Close