Saturday, December 8, 2007

Haber: a very unusual irregular verb


I have a question regarding "haber", but more specifically, "hay". Hay is supposed to be the 3rd person present tense of haber, isn't it? Why isn't it "ha" then. In the preterite tense you conjugate it as hubo (hubo un accidente...) as it should be or había in the imperfect, why is it irregular when saying "there is/are..."?


–Michael Nagelkerke

Hi Michael,

Thanks for your question. Well, this is a very unusual irregular verb. It has a special conjugation for the third person when used as an impersonal verb[1] in the present tense.

So, when you use "haber" as an auxiliary, you use the normal conjugation. e.g. "El ha hecho algo" (He has done something).

On the other hand, when you use it as an impersonal verb, you use "Hay". This is the case of "there is". Another impersonal use of this verb is "Hay que..." meaning "it's necessary to..." or "it's convenient to...". For example, "Hay que hacerlo despacio". (It's necessary/convenient to do it slowly").

Hope this helps a bit.

– Karin

P.S. Here you'll find a related article:

1 Impersonal: (of a verb) used only with a formal subject (in English usually it) and expressing an action not attributable to a definite subject (as in it is snowing).


Verb Conjugation and Translation said...

Amazing!I learned a lot from this.I never know that a certain word has a different usage.It was depend on how you use it.Thank you so much.

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