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Haber Conjugation: The Absolute Guide to Conjugating Haber in Spanish

“Haber” conjugation in Spanish — a person playing with a Rubik's cube

The haber conjugation is quite tricky. That’s what one of my Spanish teachers once said, and I partially agree with her. Though even many native Spanish speakers aren’t always able to conjugate haber correctly, I am sure you will always get it right if you follow this guide.

Ready to learn about the conjugation of haber? Today we will show you how to conjugate haber as an impersonal and auxiliary verb. Pay close attention to the conjugations we will show you today because they are all a little different from each other. Let’s go!

How to Conjugate Haber in Spanish

Haber is a very special Spanish verb. It is equivalent to the auxiliary verb have. However, it can also mean there is or there are. Oh! And according to RAE, it meant to own long ago.

Spanish Verbals of Haber

Infinitive haber
Gerund habiendo
Participle habido

Impersonal Verb Haber

In Spanish, the verb haber is commonly used as an impersonal verb. Impersonal verbs only occur in third person singular forms. When haber is used as an impersonal verb, it means there is or there are and expresses existence.

  • Hay mucha basura.
    (
    There is a lot of trash.)
  • Hay dos platos en la mesa.
    (
    There are two dishes on the table.)
  • Hubo una explosión en la fábrica.
    (
    There was an explosion in the factory.)
  • Hubo muchas guerras en esa época.
    (T
    here were many wars at that time.)
  • Habrá una fiesta mañana.
    (
    There will be a party tomorrow.)
  • Habrá muchos estudiantes.
    (
    There will be many students.)

Important! Never use haber in plural forms to express existence.

  • ✅ Hubo muchos accidentes. (correct)
  • ❌ Hubieron muchos accidentes. (incorrect)

Conjugation of the Impersonal Verb Haber

There are only 16 forms of the impersonal verb haber in Spanish. All these forms belong to the haber indicative and the haber subjunctive mood. 

Many call the following verb forms of haber the “hay conjugation” because this is the only conjugation in which the form hay appears.

Indicative Mood

You’ll notice that none of the verb forms below conjugate for all pronouns (you, he, she, etc.). It’s because impersonal verbs don’t really have subjects.

Tiempos Simples – Simple Tenses

Presente – Present Tense
  • hay – there is/are
Pretérito Imperfecto – Imperfect Tense
  • había – there was/were
Pretérito Perfecto – Preterite Tense
  • hubo – there was/were
Futuro – Future Tense
  • habrá – there will be
Condicional – Conditional Tense
  • habría – there would be

Tiempos Compuestos – Compound Tenses

Pretérito Perfecto Compuesto – Preterite (Present) Perfect Tense
  • ha habido – there has been
Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto – Pluperfect Tense
  • había habido – there had been
Pretérito Anterior – Preterite Perfect Tense
  • hubo habido – there had been
Futuro Compuesto – Future Perfect Tense
  • habrá habido – there will have been
Condicional Compuesto – Conditional Perfect Tense
  • habría habido – there would have been

Subjunctive Mood

Tiempos Simples – Simple Tenses

Presente – Present Tense
  • haya – there is/are
Pretérito Imperfecto – Imperfect Tense
  • hubiera/hubiese – there was/were
Futuro – Future Tense
  • hubiere (no direct English translation)

Tiempos Compuestos – Compound Tenses

Pretérito Perfecto Compuesto – Preterite (Present) Perfect Tense
  • haya habido – there has been
Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto – Pluperfect Tense
  • hubiera/hubiese habido – there would have been
Futuro Compuesto – Future Perfect Tense
  • hubiere habido (no direct English translation)

Auxiliary Verb Haber

Haber can also be used as an auxiliary verb. Auxiliary verbs don’t convey meaning. As their name suggests, they help us to talk about the past, present and future. Haber appears in all Spanish compound tenses, and it is always preceded by past participles (verbs that end in “ado” or “ido”).

  • He visitado muchos países.
    (I
    have visited many countries.)
  • Han hecho un excelente trabajo.
    (They
    have done an excellent job.)
  • ¿Has terminado la tarea?
    (
    Have you finished the task?)

Important! The old form habemos should not be used anymore. It has been substituted by hemos.

  • ✅ Nos hemos equivocado. (correct)
  • ❌ Nos habemos equivocado. (incorrect)

Below you’ll find all the forms of the auxiliary verb haber. Don’t forget to add past participles to the following forms when you use them in real conversations!

Conjugation of the Auxiliary Verb Haber

Indicative Mood

Tiempos Compuestos – Compound Tenses

Pretérito Perfecto Compuesto – Preterite (Present) Perfect Tense
yo he I have
has
vos has
(South American)
you have
él/ella/usted ha he/she has
you (formal) have
nosotros/nosotras hemos we have
vosotros/vosotras habéis
ustedes han
you (plural) have
ellos/ellas han they have
Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto – Pluperfect Tense
yo había I had
habías
vos habías
(South American)
you had
él/ella/usted había he/she/you (formal) had
nosotros/nosotras habíamos we had
vosotros/vosotras habíais
ustedes habían
you (plural) had
ellos/ellas habían they had
Pretérito Anterior – Preterite Perfect Tense
yo hube I had
hubiste
vos hubiste
(South American)
you had
él/ella/usted hubo he/she/you (formal) had
nosotros/nosotras hubimos we had
vosotros/vosotras hubisteis
ustedes hubieron
you (plural) had
ellos/ellas hubieron they had
Futuro Compuesto – Future Perfect Tense
yo habré I will have
habrás
vos habrás
(South American)
you will have
él/ella/usted habrá he/she/you (formal) will have
nosotros/nosotras habremos we will have
vosotros/vosotras habréis
ustedes habrán
you (plural) will have
ellos/ellas habrán they will have
Condicional Compuesto – Conditional Perfect Tense
yo habría I would have
habrías
vos habrías
(South American)
you would have
él/ella/usted habría he/she/you (formal) would have
nosotros/nosotras habríamos we would have
vosotros/vosotras habríais
ustedes habrían
you (plural) would have
ellos/ellas habrían they would have

Subjunctive Mood

Tiempos Compuestos – Compound Tenses

Pretérito Perfecto Compuesto – Preterite (Present) Perfect Tense
yo haya I have
tú hayas
vos hayás (South American)
you have
él/ella/usted haya he/she has
you (formal) have
nosotros/nosotras hayamos we have
vosotros/vosotras hayáis
ustedes hayan
you (plural) have
ellos/ellas hayan they have
Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto – Pluperfect Tense
yo hubiera (or hubiese) I had
hubieras (or hubieses)
vos hubieras (or hubieses)
(South American)
you had
él/ella/usted hubiera (or hubiese) he/she/you (formal) had
nosotros/nosotras hubiéramos (or hubiésemos) we had
vosotros/vosotras hubierais (or hubieseis)
ustedes hubieran (or hubiesen)
you (plural) had
ellos/ellas hubieran (or hubiesen) they had
Futuro Compuesto – Future Perfect Tense
  • yo hubiere
  • tú hubieres
  • vos hubieres
  • él/ella/usted hubiere
  • nosotros/nosotras hubiéremos
  • vosotros/vosotras hubiereis
  • ustedes hubieren
  • ellos/ellas hubieren

(no direct English translation)

Lexical Verb Haber

Some 600 years ago, the verb haber was used as a lexical verb. A lexical verb is a verb that conveys meaning. Haber comes from the Latin habere, which means to possess, own or have. It was soon substituted by tener. Nowadays haber is mostly used in impersonal sentences and in compound Spanish tenses.

Haber Conjugation Practice

Ready for a quick test? Let’s go!

1. ¿Qué __________ estado haciendo ustedes?

  • has
  • han
  • hemos
  • ha

2. __________ muy pocas casas en este pueblo.

  • hay
  • ha
  • hemos
  • has

3. Yo __________ estado enferma.

  • ha
  • hemos
  • han
  • he

4. Ayer __________ dos carros parqueados afuera.

  • ha
  • hubo
  • había
  • habían

5. Mis padres __________ vivido en esa casa por 20 años.

  • han
  • hubo
  • hubieron
  • hemos

Answers: 1. has; 2. hay; 3. he; 4. había; 5. han

There’s no better way to learn new words than by practicing them! Clozemaster can help you learn the meaning, spelling, use and pronunciation of all the forms of the Spanish verb haber.

Common Questions about Haber

What is haber used for in Spanish?

Nowadays haber is used as an impersonal and auxiliary verb. When it is used as an impersonal verb, it means there is or there are. As an auxiliary verb, it appears in all Spanish compound tenses, and it is equivalent to the auxiliary verb to have in English.

What are the forms of haber in the subjunctive mood?

The impersonal verb haber only has six forms in the Spanish subjunctive mood. You’ll find them all below. To see the conjugation of the auxiliary verb haber, check the subheading Conjugation of the Auxiliary Verb Haber above.

  • haya
  • hubiera / hubiese
  • hubiere
  • haya habido
  • hubiera / hubiese habido
  • hubiere habido

Is haber an irregular verb?

Haber is an irregular verb because its forms don’t conjugate regularly in all its tenses.

Is ha habido redundant?

Ha habido is not redundant. Though this verb phrase has two forms of the verb haber, each form serves a different purpose. The first form ha is an auxiliary verb, and it has no meaning. The second form habido is the past participle of the impersonal haber, which means there is or there are. Ha habido means there has been.

Challenge yourself with Clozemaster

Test your conjugation skills and see what you’ve learned from this article by playing a selection of sentences with various forms and uses of the Spanish verb haber:

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Clozemaster has been designed to help you learn the language in context by filling in the gaps in authentic sentences. With features such as Grammar Challenges, Cloze-Listening, and Cloze-Reading, the app will let you emphasize all the competencies necessary to become fluent in Spanish.

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