Hay and ESTAR differences, Spanish Grammar (A1)

ESTAR (to be) and HAY (there is/there are) both can be used to indicate the presence of something or someone. Though, they are rarely interchangeable, so let’s see hay and estar differences:Hay flores en el jarrón

Hay flores (there are some flowers).

Las flores están en el jarrón (the flowers are in the vase).

 

1. Hay, the impersonal form of “haber” in the present tense, is used to indicate the mere existence of the person or thing. El loro está en la jaulaWhile estar, on the other hand, is used to say where something or someone is located.

Sometimes, the difference in meaning between estar and haber can seem subtle.

El loro está en la jaula (the parrot is the cage).

Hay un loro en la jaula (there is a parrot in the cage).

2. As a practical matter, there’s not actually a lot of difference in meaning, but estar is mainly used when a specific person or thing is referred to (I know about what parrot I am talking about), but hay is used more generically (it can be any parrot, I don´t know or it is not relevant).

Hay alguien en el jardínAs a result, we are going to use Hay + an indefinite article (un, una, unos, unos), a quantifier  (alguien, algunos, dos, tres…) or anything at all (Hay flores en el jarrón).

Hay una mujer en el jardín (there is a man in the garden).

Hay alguien en el jardín (there is someone in the garden).

 

El cartero está en el jardín3. Whereas, a noun preceded by a definite article (the word el, la, los or las, meaning “the“), a demonstrative adjective (a word such as ese or esta, meaning “that” or “this,” respectively) or a possessive adjective (such as mi or tu, meaning “my” or “your,” respectively) normally would be used with estar.
Mi mujer está en el jardín

El cartero está en el jardín (the postman is in the garden).

Mi mujer está en el jardín (my daughter is in the garden).

 

4. With nouns that can’t have a location, haber must be used: 

No hay problema (There is no problem).

Hay riesgo inmediato (There’s an immediate risk).

Now you can practice what you have learned with our quizzes and see how hay and estar work in context with the video “la comida”

Remember you can get in touch with your tutor with any question you have about hay and estar differences Don’t you have a Spanish personal tutor yet?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.