This question got me thinking about phrases such as:

  • Hace frio.
  • Está lloviendo.

In English, these are phrased as "It is cold" or "It is raining"--"It" is the subject.

In Spanish the subject is often omitted when it's not necessary for clarity. But if I were to say these phrases with the literal subject, what would that subject be?


Those sentences are actually impersonal sentences. There is no implied subject. Impersonal sentences are those in which none of the elements of the sentence can be the subject, nor have or could be supposed an implicit subject.

Some examples of impersonal sentences would be:

En esta biblioteca hay mucho ruido

Hay muchos pájaros en ese árbol

And of course weather and some time references

Hace calor. Hace frío.

Está lloviendo.

Es de noche. Es tarde.

Some types of impersonal sentences are:

  • Those related to weather

    llover, tronar, relampaguear, escampar, granizar, nevar, atardecer, anochecer, amanecer...

  • Sentences with haber in any of its forms

    Había mucha gente en la fiesta; Hay un ciervo en la carretera.

  • Hacer + a time reference or weather reference

    Hace frío; Hace sol; Hace veinte años que no te veo; Hizo mucho viento.

  • Ser with a time reference

    Es tarde para eso; Es de día; Es de noche. Es viernes.

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