Spanish Language Blog

Impersonal verbal structures in Spanish: how to use the verbs “haber” and “hacer” properly Posted by on May 24, 2013 in Spanish Grammar

Today we are going to review the different impersonal structures we can find in Spanish with the verbs “haber” and “hacer”, doing some easy exercises.
Let´s remember their most common uses first. The verb “haber is used:

1. As an auxiliary verb:

El jefe ha llegado tarde a la reunión.
Mis padres han salido a cenar fuera.

2. As an existential verb, used to express the English “there is-there are” structure. This is probably the most complicated use for those of you learning our language. As we can see, in English there is verb- direct object agreement. We will NEVER have “haber” in plural in Spanish, not only in present tense, but in all of them.

Hay una araña en el salón.
Había tres vecinos discutiendo.

3. And not only with haber, but also with any verbal construction including this verb with an existential meaning, such as soler, poder, ir o deber

En mi casa solía haber muchas macetas.

The verb “hacer”, as an impersonal verb, is used in the following situations:

1. To express a period of time, from past to present.

Hace dos días que no hablo con él.

2.To talk about weather, and temperature.

Hoy hace frío.

And now, I’d like you to read all these sentences, and decide whether they are correct or not, and why.

  1. En mi casa podrán haber varios gatos.
  2. Hasta ayer había dudas sobre el tema.
  3. ¿Habrán llegado ya los niños?
  4. En la oficina hubieron problemas.
  5. Esta noche han hecho dos grados bajo cero.
  6. Siguen habiendo alumnos que suspenden.
  7. ¡Ojalá hubiera más vacaciones!
  8. Hacen años que no la veo.
  9. En la  calle habían dos coches.
  10. Había muchos jóvenes en la fiesta.
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About the Author: Magda

Hi all! I’m Magda, a Spanish native speaker writing the culture posts in the Transparent Language Spanish blog. I have a Bachelor’s in English Philology and a Master’s in Linguistics and Literature from the University of Granada, in Spain. I have also completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Education, and then worked as an English teacher in several schools and academies for several years. Last year was my first at university level. In addition, I work as a private tutor, teaching English and Spanish as a foreign language to students and adults. In my free time, I’m an avid reader and writer, editing and collaborating in several literary blogs. I have published my first poetry book recently. And last but not least, I love photography!


  1. Pauline Parker:

    En mi casa podrán haber varios gatos.No – podrá
    Hasta ayer había dudas sobre el tema. Correct
    ¿Habrán llegado ya los niños? No – ¿Han llegado ya los niños?
    En la oficina hubieron problemas.No – había
    Esta noche han hecho dos grados bajo cero. Correct
    Siguen habiendo alumnos que suspenden.Correct?
    ¡Ojalá hubiera más vacaciones!Correct
    Hacen años que no la veo.No – hace
    En la calle habían dos coches.No – había
    Había muchos jóvenes en la fiesta. Correct
    This was very difficult!