Conjugation of impersonal haber 

Reminder: the verb haber has an impersonal form that only exists in the 3rd person: hay (there is/are).

En el jardín hay un árbol.

In the garden there is a tree.

Hay que pagar los impuestos.

Taxes have to be paid.

We can use the impersonal haber in different tenses. The main ones are:

Simple presentHayHay dos cervezas en la nevera.
Present perfectHa habidoEsta mañana ha habido un accidente.
Simple pastHuboEl mes pasado hubo un incendio en el hotel.
ImperfectHabíaCuando era pequeño no había teléfonos móviles.
FutureHabráEn el año 2050 habrá coches voladores.

We use the singular form whether referring to one person/thing or more than one. Note that this is different from English, which has both “there is” and “there are”.

Había un huésped en la recepción.

There was a guest at reception.

Había dos huéspedes en la recepción.

There were two guests at reception.

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