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How to use “There is / there are” in Spanish?

First of all, let see the meaning of the verb there be in Spanish.

There be means “Haber (hay)” in Spanish and it has almost the same function in both languages. They express the existence of something.


There is one mistake: Hay un error

There are three chairs: Hay tres sillas.

As you can see they have the same meaning in English and Spanish, but the conjugation is totally different.

We can use “Hay” for plural and singular.

“Hay” has two ways to express the past.

  1. Hubo (pretérito indefinido)
  2. Había (imperfecto)

How can I use “There be” in Spanish?

  1. Hubo is used for short period of action and it is very specific. It doesn’t have any relationship with the present.


Hubo una fiesta ayer. (There was a party yesterday)

Hubo dos terremotos la semana pasada (There were two earthquakes last week)

  • “Había” (imperfect)  is to describe things, experiences, any situation, etc. It is also used for long periods of action and unspecified time periods.

Example: Había una cola larga de vehículos ayer (There was a long line of cars yesterday)

En la casa de mis padres había dos ventanas grandes y una puerta.  (In my parents’ house, there were two big windows and one door)

In both examples you are describing things and a situation that occurred in the past without any relation with the present.


  • Ha habido (presente perfecto). The present perfect describes situations that occurred in the recent past, but have a certain relation with the present

Ha habido un accidente en la calle (There has been an accident in the street) (there are in Spanish)

Ha habido dos campañas de vacunación en esta semana (There have been two vacunation campaigns this week)

Clases de inglés y español

there are in Spanish
English and Spanish teacher
  • Habrá (there will be) future.

Habrá un mundo mejor (there will be a better world)

  • Habría (there would be) conditional.

Habría un mundo mejor si las mujeres gobernaran. (There would be a better world if women governed it)

  • Haya, hubiera  (there be) subjunctive

Espero que haya harina and arroz  (I hope there are  flour and rice)

Imagina que hubiera un mundo mejor (imagine if there was a better world)

This mode doesn’t have imperative because it is impersonal. However, there be also means  obligation to do something.

Hay que hacer la tarea (You have to do your homework)

I hope this article “there are in Spanish” has been useful for you.

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