Since it is incorrect to use the plural of haber when the object is plural, does it mean that the only time we conjugate haber in plural is when it is being used as an auxiliary verb?

For example: Habra rumores

Habran dicho rumores

  • 1
    Also when haber is used to mean tener. Commented May 13, 2020 at 19:59
  • 1
    "Since it is incorrect to use the plural of haber when the object is plural"??
    – Lambie
    Commented May 14, 2020 at 16:01
  • Lambie, would it help if I say that it is grammatically incorrect to say "habran rumores"? Instead, it should be "habra rumores." I am trying to understand when do we use habran, habremos, etc. in a grammatically correct way.
    – Vero
    Commented May 23, 2020 at 17:53
  • Please,refer to "¿Qué forma verbal es la correcta: habrá payasos o habrán payasos?" conversation.
    – Vero
    Commented May 23, 2020 at 17:55
  • Dear user0721090601, what do you mean? We don't use "tener" as an auxiliary verb in Spanish. Rather, we use "haber." An I wrong?
    – Vero
    Commented May 23, 2020 at 17:57

1 Answer 1


Haber has three main meanings:

  1. As an auxiliary for compound tenses.
  2. As a full verb meaning the same as tener (archaic), including the phrase haber de (which means either "have to" or "must" in the sense of supposing or guessing, and sometimes moral obligation).
  3. As an impersonal "existence" verb, and in the phrase haber que (meaning "must" only in the sense of obligation).

For (3), the impersonal usage, the verb is only conjugated in the third person singular. This is the same thing that happens with all impersonal verbs in Spanish. (Some verbs are inherently impersonal, like llover; others can be made impersonal with se. And then there's haber in a class of its own.)

For the other two usages, haber is conjugated normally. Note that for (1) and (2) the 3rd person present of haber is ha, but in (3) it's hay.

Examples (upon request):

  1. Haber as auxiliary: "Usted me ha insultado." "El maestro ha pedido silencio." "Ha caído nieve." "Ayer han circulado rumores." "¿He dicho algo malo?" "Supongo que habrá cometido un error."
  2. Haber as full verb, with de, expressing either guess or moral obligation: "El señor ha de saber que lo están engañando." "He de decir que no me gusta." There really are not many examples that I can think of, unless you want me to dig up medieval texts.
  3. Haber as impersonal existence verb: "Hay muchas telarañas en esta habitación." "¿Habrá buenos restaurantes en la isla?" "No hay razón para enojarse." "No hay motivos para enojarse." With que, expressing impersonal obligation: "Hay que ordenar esta casa." "¿A qué hora hay que salir para el aeropuerto?" "Cuando llegamos hubo que abrir las ventanas."
  • Thank you Pablodf76. Can you please give specific examples? of the use of haber in the plural...hubieron, not as an auxiliary verb, but rather as "there are," if there is such a case.
    – Vero
    Commented May 24, 2020 at 22:12
  • As I said, in meaning 3 (haber as existence verb) there's no plural verb, ever, precisely because it's impersonal. So for "There were problems" you say "Hubo problemas", with hubo (singular 3rd person preterite). Using the plural hubieron in this case is a common mistake.
    – pablodf76
    Commented May 25, 2020 at 17:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.