Common Words – The Spanish Word ‘Hay’

One of the most common words, Spanish word ‘hay’, is a small but powerful expression. Spanish speakers use it daily and therefore adding it to your repertoire is a must if you want to speak real Spanish.

So…how do you use this simple Spanish word to communicate effectively?

A. This one Spanish word, hay, is equivalent to both the singular there is and the plural there are. This is great, as you only have to learn one word for two expressions!,

It is pronounced like the English ‘eye’ or ‘I’.

Here is how it works. Just add the ‘hay’ in front of the noun or noun and its adjectives that you want to talk about.

1. Hay un libro. – There is a book.

2. Hay dos libros. – There are two books.

3. Hay un carro rojo. – There is a red car.

4. Hay carros rojos. – There are red cars.

5. Hay pan. – There is bread.

6. Hay flores. -There are flowers.

B. Better yet, when speaking Spanish, all you have to do is change the intonation of your voice to make it into a question. When used in a question, ¿Hay? means ‘Is there?’ or ‘Are there?’

Check this out:

1. ¿Hay un libro? – Is there a book?

2. ¿Hay dos libros? – Are there two books?

3. ¿Hay un carro rojo? – Is there a red car?

4. ¿Hay carros rojos? – Are there red cars?

5. ¿Hay pan? – Is there bread?

6. ¿Hay flores? – Are there flowers?

Just a reminder: When speaking, the intonation of your voice indicates a sentence or a question, but when writing Spanish, remember to use the two question marks to indicate a question.

C. Just add two more common words, Spanish ‘si’ for yes and ‘no’ for no. Now, you can communicate in both positive and negative answers to these questions, using basically the same vocabulary. Look how easily a few simple Spanish words can be combined to grow your speaking power!

1. Question. ¿Hay un libro? Answer Si, hay. – Yes, there is.

2. Q. ¿Hay un carro rojo? A. No, no hay. – No, there isn’t.

3. ¿Hay carros rojos? Si, hay dos carros rojos. – Yes, there are two red cars.

4. ¿Hay dos libros? No, hay cuatro libros. – No, there are four books.

5. ¿Hay pan? No hay. – There isn’t any.

6. ¿Hay flores? Si, hay muchos. – Yes, there are lots.

D. Now add another couple simple Spanish words like ‘cuántos’, ‘hoy’ and a number, like ‘diez’. This allows you to start making longer and real conversations.

Q. ¿Hay libros? A. Si, hay.

Q. ¿Cuántos hay? – How many are there?

A. Hoy, hay diez. – Today, there are ten.

E. The common Spanish word ‘hay’ is very valuable and a must when speaking Spanish. So, how are you going to instill this useful little word in your brain?

One of the best ways to learn a new word is to use a trick or help to instill it in your memory.

1. Using mnemonics is one way to accomplish this. (A mnemonic is a rhyme that helps you remember both the pronunciation of the Spanish words and their English meanings.) They jingle the new words into your memory.

Hay means ‘there is’ or ‘there are’. It is pronounced like the English word ‘eye’ or ‘I’.

So, to help you remember try this:

Imagine a Cyclops saying, “There is something in my eye!”

Or (Hay) I noticed that there are oranges.

2. Or you can try and embed it in your memory with:

When you eye something, you know that it is there or you wouldn’t be able to eye it.

3. Or another way is to remember a small phrase-something that has a special meaning to you.

For example: If you are really into hamburgers, try and remember. Hay hamburguesas. (There are hamburgers.)

As you can see, one of the most common words, Spanish word ‘hay’, can be used as ‘there is‘, ‘there are‘, ‘is there‘ and/or ‘are there‘. Using it will let you begin making real sentences and questions immediately. Different people have different ways of learning, but I hope this helps you grasp some of the uses of ‘hay’ and instills it in your memory. Common words in Spanish, like ‘hay’, are priceless when learning to communicate effectively in Spanish.