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The Portuguese Verb Haver

If you’ve been learning Portuguese for a while, you’ve probably noticed that little word popping up everywhere. Indeed, is a verb form of Haver, which in turn is a verb with wide usage.

So, when do we use the Portuguese verb Haver?

In short, Haver is used to indicate the existence or occurrence of something and to express time duration. Additionally, we use Haver as an auxiliary verb to form Perfect tenses, among other things.

Here are a few examples:

(1) algumas coisas que não entendo.
There are a few things I can’t quite understand.

(2) O Gabriel vive no Porto 4 meses.
Gabriel has been living in Porto for 4 months. 

(3) Ela havia estado no Brasil antes de vir para Portugal.
She had been to Brazil before she came to Portugal.

Let’s dive in.

Lesson #42 Há - Portuguesepedia
Idiomatically Rich Verbs

Time flow

We say to express the passage of time, whether concerning a durative action or the period that has passed since the occurrence of punctual action in the past.

Durative actions

Let’s look at an example of expressing time flow concerning a durative action:

O Gabriel vive no Porto há 4 meses.
Gabriel has been living in Porto for 4 months. 

The sentence above denotes a durative action starting 4 months ago and lasting until the present (Gabriel continues to live in Porto).

Note that we don’t say when we refer to durative actions that have occurred in the past:

O Gabriel viveu no Porto 4 meses.
Gabriel lived in Porto for 4 months (not anymore). 

Punctual actions (occurred in the past)

Let’s now look at an example with expressing the passage of time from the occurrence of a punctual action in the past until the present moment:

A Mariana visitou o Brasil há 2 anos.
Mariana visited Brazil 2 years ago.

Since the sentence above expresses a punctual action that occurred in the past, its main verb is conjugated in the Past tense (visitou).

Here are a couple more examples where appears in time-flow-related set phrases:

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Olá! This is Pedro and I'm the founder of Portuguesepedia, a platform created to support and accelerate your Portuguese learning journey. Até já, p

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