The use of HAY is very common in Spanish and is very useful in conversation.  Pronounced like a long “I” (the H is always silent in Spanish), you use hay anytime you want to say:There is.There are.Is there?Are there?Take a look at these examples in the present tense:

There is a dog in the car. -  Hay un perro en el carro.
There are three forks on the table. – Hay tres tenedores en la mesa.
Is there a bathroom in this building? – ¿Hay un baño en este edificio?
Are there chairs in the living room? – ¿Hay sillas in la sala?

If you want to say, there is no, or there is not, something etc., just put “no” in front of hay.

There is no water in the vase. – No hay agua en el florero.
There isn’t any gasoline in the tank. – No hay gasolina en el tanque.
There is not enough time to finish the work. – No hay suficiente tiempo para terminar el trabajo.  

Here are some useful phrases you will find handy in conversation using Hay:

Whats up? – ¿Qué hay?
What’s new? – ¿Qué hay de nuevo?
There is nothing more to be done. – No hay más que hacer.
There isn’t any water in Coronado, as usual. – No hay agua en Coronado, como de costumbre. 
There is a lot to do. – Hay mucho que hacer.

One of the most useful uses of Hay is “Hay que”… followed by an infinitive verb.  It means that something needs to be done:

The house needs to be cleaned, right now. - Hay que limpiar la casa ahora mismo.
The light bulb needs to be changed. - Hay que reemplazar(cambiar) la bombilla.
The main gate needs to be closed. - Hay que cerrar el porton.

Saying, “Hay que…” to someone who works for you also can imply that he or she is the one who should do it. 

Using Hay will improve your Spanish conversational skills.  In part II we will look at hay in the simple past (preterit) and the imperfect tense.   In these tenses, hay is also very handy. 

Spanish tip of the Day:

Instead of memorizing single words, memorize phrases.  For example:  Hay que hablar español para sobrevivir en Panamá.  One must speak Spanish in order to survive in Panamá!
Hope this helps!



Hi, my name is Fred.  My background in Spanish is a year in high school
(long ago) and the last seven years taking private lessons almost daily, in
the States and in Panamá'.    I am not yet fluent, but maybe I can pass on
to you some tips to help your Spanish learning experience.