Monthly Word / La palabra del mes

May 2004 ~ Spanish that Works Review

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Hay / AYE (there is, there are) La palabra del mes



You can use hay / AYE to ask if things are available: 

¿Hay teléfono? (Is there a telephone?) 
¿Hay preguntas? (Are there any questions?) 
¿Hay tortillas? (Are there any tortillas?) 

   Or not... 

¿No hay clase?  (Isn't there class?) 
¿No hay tortillas en la mesa? (Aren't there any tortillas on the table?) 

(Notice that the English translation often sounds better if you use the word "any" when you are asking about something in the plural.) 


Talking about how many

The word hay / aye is often used to talk about how many there are: 

Hay tres estudiantes. (There are three students.) 
Hay dos galletas.  (There are two cookies.) 
¿Cuántos hay? (How many are there?) 



The word hay appears in some other useful constructions: 

No hay de qué.  (Don't mention it, you're welcome.) 
This expression is a little more formal than "de nada," but it is used. 

Hay que... + infinitive (It's necessary must...) 
Example: Hay que llenar el formulario.  (You must fill out the form.) 


Popular saying

A well-known "dicho" or popular saying with hay is:

Hay que llamar al pan, pan y al vino, vino.
Literal translation:  You must call the bread, bread, and the wine, wine. 
Meaning:  Speak plainly, and don't use euphemisms. 
English equivalent:  You have to call a spade a spade. 


Remember it!
Imagine yourself in an Indiana Jones movie. 
You've just been served a large bowl of hot steaming soup. 
Suddenly, you realize there is a large, floating eye in your bowl. 

"Waiter!" you scream.  "There's an EYE in my soup!" 

So, remember it this way: 

There is (eye) = hay (there is, there are). 

©2004 Elizabeth Almann


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