Ive generally understood to use the form of Haber when talking about objects in general, whereas to use Estar for specific objects.

Hay algunos estudiantes en la clase.
vs Dos hombres Juan y Carlos están en la clase.

Or, with the imperfect
He pagado la cena.

(1) However, when using the preterite nosotros or 3rd person forms, I have not seen too many examples. Can someone give me a few examples in the preterite when it would be better to use Haber with the nosotros or ellos forms, rather than estar?
(2) Of the examples, are any commonly used in Mexico?


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1 Answer 1


Haber is generally used in the singular form:

  • Hay mucha gente.
  • Había tres personas esperando. Yo do not use it in the plural form.

Now, if you are using the tense called "pretérito pluscuamperfecto", then you use the respective verbal form:

  • Habían venido solos los dos hermanos.
  • Habíamos hablado con él ayer...

If you use the "Pretérito perfecto compuesto":

  • Hemos ido a visitarlo varias veces.
  • Han llegado ayer por la noche.

Let me know if this is what you were asking about.

  • Thank you. When you say "Haber is generally used in the singular form", that might explain why I havent seen it used that way lol. As Im learning, I try to find examples of a conjugated form. Eg. spanishdict.com/conjugate/haber
    – bitshift
    Commented Mar 19 at 0:34
  • Here is an example that SpanishDict gives. Cuando hubimos cruzado la meseta, el grupo se dis gregó..
    – bitshift
    Commented Mar 19 at 0:47
  • 1
    "Haber" meaning "to exist" (there + be) is always used in the singular, though some people incorrectly say *Habían muchas personas, *Hubieron varios accidentes, instead of the correct "Había muchas personas", "Hubo varios accidentes. "Haber" can only be used in the plural when it is the auxiliary of perfect or compound tenses.
    – Gustavson
    Commented Mar 19 at 1:23
  • (1) In English you have a singular and a plural form for the verb "haber" (there is and there are). In Spanish we use the singular form for both, singular and plural.
    – Marthu
    Commented Mar 19 at 2:33
  • (2) The Pretérito pluscuamperfecto o Antepretérito (Cuando hubimos cruzado la meseta, el grupo se disgregó.) is seldom used in everyday speech. You may find it used in literature.
    – Marthu
    Commented Mar 19 at 2:36

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