Your One-Stop Guidebook to ‘There are’ and ‘There is’ in Spanish
For Spanish learners of every level, learning to use the correct verbs to express “there is” or “there are” in Spanish is essential in your quest to formulate statements and questions.
Spanish usually expresses these phrases with the word hay, which is a form of the verb haber—but not always. Sometimes, you’ll need to use a form of the verb estar (typically está or están) instead. And lastly, don’t forget ser! Read on to learn more.
What’s the Difference?
Hay refers to existence, while está or están describe a location. To better understand this concept, take the English sentence: “There is a tree.” The sentence is somewhat ambiguous. It could instead say “A tree is there,” meaning that a tree is in a specific location. It could also translate to “A tree exists.” In Spanish, however, a different verb belongs with each interpretation.
To say that the tree is in a location, use a form of estar + allí.
El árbol está allí. – The tree is there.
Alternatively, to say it simply exists, use hay.
Hay un árbol. – A tree exists.
In short, use hay to express that something exists. To indicate a lack of existence or a quantity of zero, use no hay. Note that hay is for both singular and plural sentences in the present tense. In other words, there is no need to change the verb to a plural form. (Learn more about the ins and outs of haber conjugation!)
The following chart illustrates the difference.
|No hay oportunidad.||There isn’t any opportunity (because it doesn’t exist).|
|La oportunidad no está.||There isn’t any opportunity. (The opportunity exists, but it’s not here).|
|No hay abogado.||There is no lawyer (meaning, for instance, that one hasn’t been hired).|
|El abogado no está.||The lawyer is not here. (There is a lawyer, but he isn’t here.)|
|Hay dos bibliotecas.||There are two libraries. (Two libraries exist.)|
|Dos bibliotecas están en la ciudad.||There are two libraries in the city.|
|Hay caballos en Texas.||There are horses in Texas.|
|Las caballos están en Texas.||(Specific) horses are there, in Texas.|
“There is” in Spanish: Hay Example Sentences
Hay un(a) – There is a
Hay un conejo blanco en el jardín. – There is a white rabbit in the garden.
Hay una alumna nueva. – There is a new student.
No hay ningún(a) – There is no/not
No hay ningún conejo blanco afuera de mi casa. – There is not a white rabbit outside my house.
No hay paz sin amor. – There is no peace without love.
Hay un poco de – There is a little
Hay un poco de arroz en la olla. – There is a little rice in the pot.
Hay un poco de hielo en la nevera. – There is a little ice in the freezer.
Hay algo de – There is some
Hay algo de vino en la copa. – There is some wine in the glass.
Hay algo de dinero en mi mochila. – There is some money in my backpack.
No hay nada de – There is not any/There is nothing
No hay nada de dinero en la caja fuerte. – There is not any money in the safe.
No hay nada que pensar. – There is nothing to think about.
“There is” in Spanish: Estar Example Sentences
¡Mira! Está una rana en el estanque. – Look! There is a frog in the pond.
Está un patio en el restaurante. – There is a patio at the restaurant.
Está la madre de Carlos en la tienda. – There is Carlos’ mother in the store.
¡Cuidado! Está una serpiente en el sendero. – Careful! There is a snake on the path.
“There are” in Spanish: Hay Example Sentences
Hay muchos(as)… – There are many
Hay muchas manzanas en la canasta. – There are many apples in the basket.
Hay muchos juguetes en el cuarto. – There are many toys in the room.
Hay algunos(as) – There are some
Hay algunas personas llegando a mi casa. – There are some people coming to my house.
Hay algunos niños en la cancha de fútbol. – There are some kids on the soccer field.
No hay – There is/are not
No hay huevos. – There aren’t any eggs.
Hoy no hay clase. – There is no class today.
No hay nadie como tú. – There is nobody like you.
No hay ningún(a) – There are not any
No hay ninguna tienda en el centro. – There are not any stores downtown.
No hay ningún hotel abierto aún. – There aren’t any hotels open yet.
“There are” in Spanish: Estar Example Sentences
Están pocos niños en este aula. – There are few boys in this classroom.
Están muchas frutas en la cocina para comer de refacción. – There are many fruits in the kitchen to eat as a snack.
Están los gatos en la cama. – There are cats on the bed.
“There is” and “There are” in Spanish: Hay Questions
¿Hay..? – Are there?
¿Hay gente en la fiesta? – Are there any people at the party?
¿Hay algún banco cerca de aquí? – Is there a bank near here?
¿Hay vida en otros planetas? – Is there any life on other planets?
¿Hay algún(a)…? – Is there
¿Hay alguna casa rosa por aquí? – Is there a pink house around here?
¿Hay algún profesor nuevo? – Is there a new teacher?
¿Hay algo de…? – Is there any…?
¿Hay algo de jugo en el vaso? – Is there any juice in the glass?
¿Hay algo de queso en la refri? – Is there any cheese in the fridge?
Estar vs Haber in Past and Future Tenses
Whew! That was a load of examples in the present indicative tense. Fortunately, the same rules apply for the use of haber and estar to say “there are” in Spanish in other tenses and in the subjunctive mood.
Fui a su apartamento, pero no estaba. – I went to his apartment, but he wasn’t there.
No había dinero porque compré muchos libros. – There was no money because I bought lots of books.
Si hubiera sirenas, la gente las vería. – If there were mermaids, people would see them.
Espero que haya felicidad en el mundo. – I hope there will be happiness in the world.
No quiero que ella esté allí. – I don’t want her to be there.
Don’t Forget About Ser
When it indicates existence, the verb haber is valid only in the third person (he/she/it) in Spanish. In the first- and second-person plural (we and you), the verb ser is the way to go. This usage is most common with numbers.
Somos tres. – There are three of us.
Ya somos quince en el club. – Now there are 15 of us in the club.
Son ustedes ocho mujeres, ¿verdad? – There are eight of you women, right?
There You Are!
Now you know all about how to say “there is” and “there are” in Spanish. Looking for more free Spanish learning resources? Join the Homeschool Spanish Academy Facebook group for daily Spanish grammar posts!
Would you like more fun and free Spanish resources? Check out these posts!
- 25 of Our Favorite Spanish Idioms for Kids - May 31, 2021
- 10 Characteristics of the Perfect Spanish Teacher - May 23, 2021
- Caerse Conjugation: Free Spanish Lesson, Quiz, and PDF - May 10, 2021