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Spanish 101A

Spanish 101B

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The word hay , from the verb Haber, is very useful.  It is pronounced like the English word "eye", not like the stuff horses eat!

Hay means "there is" or "there are" in the sense that things exist.  Hay  is both plural and singular:
Hay tres sillas en la sala. There are three chairs in the room.
Hay un mapa en la pared.  There is a map on the wall.
¿Qué hay en el carro? What's in the car?
Uf, ¿Hay piedras en tu mochila? Oof, are there rocks in your backpack?

When we use Hay in the Imperfect past tense to indicate that there was or there were things, Había still functions as both singular and plural:

Había tres sillas en la sala. There were three chairs in the room.
Había un mapa en la pared. There was a map on the wall.
¿Qué había en el carro? What was in the car?
Uf, ¿Había piedras en tu mochila? Oof, were there rocks in your backpack?

We use Hay in the Preterite past tense to indicate that some action or event occurred. Remember that the Preterite is used for completed actions, so rather than referring to something that was in existence, in the preterite hubo refers to something which occured.

¬°Hubo un accidente! An accident occurred! (There was an accident!)