Haber de + infinitive to express formal obligation or future action

Although it is more common to find it in literature and in formal content, in Spanish we can use the auxiliary verb haber + de + infinitive. This verbal structure is used to express:

1. An obligation, although not a strong one, or the convenience or necessity of doing something. 

Have a look and listen to these examples:

He de coger el tren de las diez para llegar a tiempo a mi destino.
I must take the ten o'clock train to arrive at my destination on time.

Han de respetar todas las señales de tráfico.
You must respect all traffic signs.

Hemos de admitir que es más duro de lo que pensábamos.
We must admit that it is harder than we thought.

Has de reconocer que los estudiantes merecen un descanso.
You must admit that the students deserve a break.

Its more colloquial and informal equivalent is:

tener que/ deber/necesitar + infinitive

Tengo que/Debo/Necesito coger el tren de las diez para llegar a tiempo a mi destino.

2. A future action. 

Have a look and listen to these examples:

Esta guerra habrá de acabar con la esperanza de paz de la gente.
This war will put an end to people's hope for peace.

No te preocupes por lo que nunca ha de pasar.
Don't worry about what will never happen.

Its more colloquial and informal equivalent is:

the main verb in the future tense

Esta guerra acabará con la esperanza de paz de la gente.

Remember:

Haber (conjugated) + de + infinitive

 

Examples and resources

Has de reconocer que los estudiantes merecen un descanso.
You must admit that the students deserve a break.


Hemos de admitir que es más duro de lo que pensábamos.
We must admit that it is harder than we thought.


Han de respetar todas las señales de tráfico.
You must respect all traffic signs.


He de coger el tren de las diez para llegar a tiempo a mi destino.
I must take the ten o'clock train to arrive at my destination on time.


No te preocupes por lo que nunca ha de pasar.
Don't worry about what will never happen.


Esta guerra habrá de acabar con la esperanza de paz de la gente.
This war will put an end to people's hope for peace.


Q&A Forum 2 questions, 4 answers

AllisonC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Usted form is a possibility?

9Carmen, ________ más comprensiva con tu marido. Carmen, you must be more sympathetic towards your husband.HINT: Express obligationhas de serhay de serestás siendodebes servas a ser
Asked 7 months ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Allison

Yes, if you think you must treat this person, Carmen, more formally, you could use the conjugation of usted, not tú. So you could also say "Carmen, ha de ser más comprensiva con SU marido" (Notice, though, that you would also have to change the possesive to the formal form, "su", not "tu")

Saludos

Inma

AllisonC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Ahhh...Thank you.

Usted form is a possibility?

9Carmen, ________ más comprensiva con tu marido. Carmen, you must be more sympathetic towards your husband.HINT: Express obligationhas de serhay de serestás siendodebes servas a ser

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AllisonC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Example in lesson:

Esta guerra habrá de acabar con la esperanza de paz de la gente.This war will put an end to people's hope for peace.

No te preocupes por lo que nunca ha de pasar.Don't worry about what will never happen.

Why is this second example not taking "haber" in the future tense also? Or is it just a bad English translation?

Asked 9 months ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hi Allison

Both tenses are used to convey the same: a future idea.

You can either conjugate haber in the future or in the present. You could also say:

"Esta guerra ha de acaber con la esperanza de paz de la gente" or

"No te preocupes por lo que nunca habrá de pasar"

They are generally interchangeable.

Saludos

Inma

AllisonC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Thanks

Example in lesson:

Esta guerra habrá de acabar con la esperanza de paz de la gente.This war will put an end to people's hope for peace.

No te preocupes por lo que nunca ha de pasar.Don't worry about what will never happen.

Why is this second example not taking "haber" in the future tense also? Or is it just a bad English translation?

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