37 Early Intermediate Haber in Spanish LightSpeed Spanish

Haber in Spanish. Clearing up the mysterylearn-939239_1280 (1)

The strangest part of most students concerns about what we tend to call the Perfect tenses, which are those that take Haber in Spanish and the Past Participle (I have eaten/He comido) is that for every tense that exists in Spanish we have the very same one in English. (Less the Subjunctive ones, of course.)

All that we have to do to understand how to use Haber in Spanish is to learn what the equivalent of each tense is in English. Look at this:

I have eaten.

I had eaten.

I will have eaten.

I would have eaten.

I may have eaten. (Similar to the Sunjunctive)

I might have eaten. (Similar to the Sunjunctive)


So, as you can see, the Perfect tenses are pretty prolific in English too. The issue is that we are so accustomed to them that we don’t really realise that we are using them. On the contrary, however, when we are trying to break down Haber in Spanish we have to really start thinking about what we are doing. It’s so much more difficult.

This podcast and the helpsheets sort it out.

What we have done in this Podcast is to start to help you understand the way that Haber in Spanish works and we have backed up the learning with our comprehensive Helpsheets that go into even more detail and offer you lots of examples and exercises.


The HAY of the storm.

Probably the most confusing part of the use of Haber in Spanish is the way that HAY = There is /are, works.  It’s a word that encapsulates both the singular and plural in one word.

Now, in present tense that isn’t so much of a problem but as we use this through the other tenses, we often feel tempted to make the verb plural. However, as you will see, there is no need. Take a look at this:


Hay = this is/are

Había = there was/were

Ha habido = there has/have been

Había habido = there had been

Habrá habido = there will have been

Habría habido = there would have been


As you can see, regardless of whether we are talking about one or more things, the conjugations always remain the same.

A common mistake is for people (I used to do this a lot!) to say:

Habían dos hombres. = There were two men.

 This is wrong. You never have to make the verb plural when you are using the version of HAY which comes from Haber in Spanish. The correct way is:

Había dos hombres.

So, watch on as we talk you through all of these fascinating aspects to Haber in Spanish and remember to grab your helpsheets if you need more clarification.

Un saludo,


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