Unit 3.1

The verbal form Hay

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Introduction

Hay is the impersonal form of the verb haber used as the 3rd person singular to talk about something undefined and/or unknown.

Form

The form hay of the verb haber in the present indicative is considered impersonal, so it is only used in the 3rd person singular, both connected with singular and plural nouns.

The sentence formation with the form hay usually has this structure:

Hay + (indefinite article +) noun + …

The verbal form hay is used with:

The verbal form hay is not used with:

Example

Indefinite articles:

  • Hay un ciprés cerca de la casa;
  • Hay una especie de pájaro allí en el cielo;
  • ¿Hay unos espías vigilándonos a lo lejos?

Short nouns:

  • Hay árboles en la calle;
  • Hay razas de perros que muerden;
  • ¿Hay monos de tres cabezas en algún lugar?

Numbers:

  • Hay cuatro carreteras al sur;
  • Hay veinte tipos de fruta verde allí;
  • ¿Hay dos fantasmas a tu derecha?

Quantifiers:

  • Hay demasiados coches en la calle;
  • Hay muchos tipos de bares de aquí allí;
  • ¿Hay algún parque al norte de la ciudad?

Interrogative adverbs:

  • ¿Cuándo hay cervezas gratis en el centro?
  • ¿Cuántos tipos de fruta hay?
  • ¿Cuántos gatos con tres patas hay?

 

Use

The impersonal form of the verb haber (hay) is used to:

  • talk about the existence or location of people, animals, objects, and places;
  • talk about something undefined and unknown;
  • to ask about something in general that we do not know if it exists.

Summary

In Spanish, hay is the impersonal form of the verb haber and is used to talk about something indefinite and unknown. It always comes before indeterminate articles, indefinite articles and numbers.

In the sentence, the verb hay is usually followed by and indefinite article and a noun.

For example:
— «Hay un libro encima de la mesa.» = We do not know which libro es.
— «Aquí hay tres manzanas y dos peras.» = Before number.

Check the contents of the {Form} section. Then move on to the {Example} section, which shows you the usage in context.

Exercises


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