Irregular Verbs in Portuguese HAVER

Irregular Verbs in Portuguese – HAVER

After another short break, I am back and ready to tell you more about the irregular verbs in Portuguese. In some of my last posts, I told you all about the irregular verbs – dizer and fazer; ir and vir; and ter and dar. This time I am going to tell you all about the verb haver (to be – impersonal; to have – auxiliary verb in the imperfect tense; to speak about the future in the Present Tense), which I also describe in my online course and that, as you will see, is quite handy in every day situations and very used in Portuguese.

Different meanings of the verb Haver

Impersonal Use

This verb can be impersonal, when used without any conjugation relationship with the grammatical person. In fact, in this case the verb is only used with the third person singular and it means something like “there is/are” in English. The difference is that while in English we do have singular – there is –  and plural – there are – in Portuguese we only have ““, which is the singular form, but can be used even when speaking about plural things. Take a look:

There is almond milk in the fridge – leite de amêndoa no frigorífico.

There are potatoes on that shelf – batatas naquela prateleira.

Irregular Verbs in Portuguese - Haver

As you can see, unlike English, it does not matter whether the subject is singular or plural – the form of the verb always stays in the singular form. This is something new, right? Now you start seeing why this verb is so special =)

So let’s see its conjugation as an impersonal verb with an impersonal meaning.


It seems a bit lonely, doesn’t it?

Auxiliary Verb in the Imperfect Tense – as ter

However, as I previously mentioned, we can use this verb as an auxiliary verb in the imperfect form, meaning “to have”. In this case, the verb will mean the same as  “ter” when used as an auxiliary verb in more complex verb tenses. Take a look at the examples below:

I had told you I did not want to go – Eu tinha dito que não queria ir OR Eu havia dito que não queria ir.

Both mean the same. However, haver is less used in every day language as an auxiliary verb. You can find it mostly in writing and in old movies, etc. We do prefer to use “ter” because it seems easier to conjugate. I will let you decide. Here is the conjugation in the imperfect form:

Eu havia
Tu havias
Ele/Ela/Você havia
Nós havíamos
Vocês haviam
Eles/Elas haviam

Present Tense – to speak about the future

Irregular Verbs in Portuguese - Haver

Last but not least, when used in the perfect form, it means something different. Take a look:

I shall go to Australia – Eu hei de ir à Austrália.

When we use this verb with this conjugation we mean to put stress on the fact that “no matter what, we will be going somewhere or doing something”. So if I use the sentence above, I would be saying something like “yes, I have not been to Australia yet, but I really want/need to so no matter what I will go there….I don’t know when or how or under what circumstances, but I am going there”. Get the picture? Let me give you another example:

We shall speak to him – Nós havemos de falar com ele.

Irregular Verbs in Portuguese - Haver

As you can see, it does not need to be about going somewhere. It can be about anything, really. Anything you want/need to do, anywhere you want/need to go, anyone you want/need to speak to.

Another thing you should retain is that when used in this way, we do add a particle “de” to it, as you can see from the examples above. So don´t forget it 😉

Here is the conjugation of haver in the Present Tense:

Eu hei
Tu hás
Nós havemos
Vocês hão
Eles/Elas hão

And that’s it! Did you like this post about the irregular verb in Portuguese – haver? I find it really interesting because of its impersonal characteristics, I hope you do too!

To help you practice what you just learnt, I gathered some exercises that you can find below. Just try to make them and let me know how it went for you!

Irregular Verbs in Portuguese – Exercises with Haver

  1. Complete with haver in the right form
  • Eu _____ de ser feliz aqui!
  • ____ muita gente lá fora.
  • Tu ____ de dizer-me porquê.
  • Nós ____ dito que não gostávamos de carne.
  • Eles já ____ chegado quando ela entrou.
  • ____ dez cadeiras na sala de aula.
  • ____ uma pessoa que está a perguntar por ti.
  • Vocês ______ de ver!
  • Ela ________ de vir a minha casa.
  • Você _______ de falar comigo.

Irregular Verbs in Portuguese - Haver

2. Which one is correct?

  • Há muitas pessoas aqui OR Hão muitas pessoas aqui.
  • Eu há de fazer isso OR Eu hei de fazer isso.
  • Eu havias dito que sim OR Eu havia dito que sim.
  • Nós havíamos falado OR Nós haviam falado.
  • Vocês hão de ver OR Vocês hãos de ver.
  • Você há de conhecê-los OR Você hão de conhecê-los.
  • Nós haviam chegado OR Nós havíamos chegado.
  • Elas há de ir a Inglaterra OR Elas hão de ir a Inglaterra.
  • Hão muitos carros na estrada OR Há muitos carros na estrada.
  • Hão comida em casa OR Há comida em casa.

You can find a printable pdf of these exercises here.

Leave your comments on the comments section below and most of all, have fun learning the irregular verbs in Portuguese. Don’t forget to find more information in my previous articles. You can find them here:

Irregular Verbs in Portuguese – dizer and fazer;

Irregular Verbs in Portuguese – ir and vir;

Irregular Verbs in Portuguese – ter and dar.

Also, do not forget to check out my European Portuguese Online Course, where you can find the explanation of the impersonal verb haver and many other things =)

Have fun! Enjoy!



Categories: Grammar

2 thoughts on “Irregular Verbs in Portuguese – HAVER

  1. Hi Mia!
    Fantastic lesson on the usages of “haver”. If this is a sample of the lessons in your course I can see how this would be advantageous in learning Portuguese. It’s such a beautiful language. Short of being immersed in the culture do you think online is a good way to learn this language? Are your course set up for lesson and exercises each day? Keep up the awesome job!

    1. Hi Tim!

      Thank you very much for that 😀 I hope that it can help a lot of people in their journey through Portuguese. Online can be a good way to learn, even if you are not immersed in the culture (of course being immersed would be the ideal situation, but not always is this possible). It has the advantage of letting you follow the classes at your own pace – since you can pause, go back, watch again – and you can practice as much and as long as you want. You can also ask me questions and I will answer =) It is like a real class, only without the pressure of the classroom – where sometimes you get shy to ask questions or to ask the teacher to go back… I have felt that before, so I am guessing many people went through the same situation. Here you do not have this problem, you can just rewind and hear again and you can ask the questions quietly after the class..It is pretty flexible in that sense. Besides this, it can also be a good complement for your “normal” classes, since it is very cheap compared to one-on-one classes (online or presencial) and they might help you consolidate information that you got from those other classes.
      I hope this answered your question.
      Thank you very much once again,

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