Distinguishing between hubo and había


Kwiziq community member

31 December 2017

3 replies

Distinguishing between hubo and había

There is no explanation either in hubo or había as to how to decide when to use which one. The examples given could almost be interchangeable, at least to my novice eye. (Other than that, this program is absolutely amazing! Hats off to everyone involved!)

This relates to:
Using hubo = there was / there were (simple past) -


Kwiziq language super star

31 December 2017


Hola Catriona
These two lessons about Había and Hubo are focused on the "form" more than specific uses, that's why we have used quite neutral sentences. As a general rule we would use "había" (not hubo) when we are describing a scene in the past or for a repeated action in the past, whereas we will use "hubo" (not había) for more punctual actions also in the past. You will soon have some more lessons about specific uses for the imperfect and preterite tenses.
Thanks for your lovely comments : ))


Kwiziq community member

2 January 2018


Just ran into this again, and got it wrong again, even after your explanation. I put hubo instead of hacía for "There was a meeting at four." One of the examples for hubo is "There were many people at the demonstration." I honestly cannot see the difference between these two sentences in this regard.


Kwiziq community member

23 June 2018


Había is for actions that ran for a while, on a number of occasions, or things that used to happen in the past.

Hubo is to say what happened on one specific occasion.

"There used to be a house here, but one day there was a fire" - the first part was an ongoing existence of something in the past, for which había is used, and the second part is a specific event for which hubo is used

"había una casa aquí, pero un día hubo un incendio"

I'd agree with you though, that "there was a meeting at four" definitely should be hubo, and había would not really be right, unless it was "there was a daily meeting at four" or something

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