The verb form “Há”

Sometimes what makes Portuguese language so hard to learn are the little words full of meaning, but so little that we often forget about them. One of those little but important words is the verb form “há”. “Há” is a form from the verb “Haver”, a very peculiar verb only conjugated in the third singular form and it means “there is” or “there are”. First thing to remember is that we don’t read the initial “h” at all. So, we only have to pronounce a very open “A” as in the second syllable of the Portuguese “Olá”. Let’s have a look at some examples to understand a little bit better how this little verb “há” works. One famous example you can see in many restaurants or snack bars is something as the very Portuguese and traditional “Há caracóis” Have you ever noticed this? This means, “There are snails” or, if you prefer, it’s a way to tell to possible customers that they have snails to serve. Let’s have a look at other examples:

  • Há muitas praias no Algarve. (There are many beaches in Algarve)
  • Há uma casa amarela na minha rua. (There is a yellow house in my street).

With this verb we don’t have to think about if we’re talking about a singular or a plural thing, it doesn’t matter if it is “ há uma praia” (There is a beach) or “há praias” (There are beaches).

This is the verb we also use when we want to talk about time in the past, like:

  • Eu vivo em Portugal há dois anos. (I live in Portugal for two years)
  • Eu encontrei-o há um mês. (I met him one month ago)
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