Using hubo = there was / there were (simple past)

In Spanish we use hubo to say there was or there were. Read and listen to these examples:

Hubo una tormenta muy fuerte.
There was a big storm.

Hubo muchos problemas con los turistas.
There were many problems with the tourists.

Hubo muchas personas en la manifestación.
There were many people at the demonstration.

Hubo una fiesta en casa.
There was a party at home.

Hubo poca comida en la boda.
There was very little food at the wedding.

Hubo algunas jóvenes en la oficina.
There were some young people in the office.


In Spanish, you use hubo whether it is followed by one item or many, unlike in English.

GRAMMAR: Both Hay and Hubo are impersonal forms that come from the third person of the verb haber. Hubo is in El Pretérito Indefinido, literally meaning it had.

 

Haber belongs to a group of verbs that have an irregular stem in El Pretérito Indefinido but share the same set of endings. To learn more about this have a look at Irregulares en Indefinido/mismas terminaciones.

See also Using había to say there was / there were

Examples and resources

Hubo algunas jóvenes en la oficina.
There were some young people in the office.


Hubo una fiesta en casa.
There was a party at home.


Hubo una tormenta muy fuerte.
There was a big storm.


Hubo poca comida en la boda.
There was very little food at the wedding.


Hubo muchos problemas con los turistas.
There were many problems with the tourists.


Hubo muchas personas en la manifestación.
There were many people at the demonstration.


Q&A Forum 2 questions, 7 answers

TonyaA2Kwiziq community member

Glitch that sends me to French Dashboard instead of Kwiz results.

I can not see my quiz results because every time I click on "Check out Your Results for this Quiz" I get redirected to the French Dashboard instead. This glitch also occurs after I take any other quiz, but randomly. Please help!

Asked 8 months ago
ShuiKwiziq team member

Hola Tonya

I'm asking one of our team to contact you by email to follow up on this.

Saludos

Shui

Glitch that sends me to French Dashboard instead of Kwiz results.

I can not see my quiz results because every time I click on "Check out Your Results for this Quiz" I get redirected to the French Dashboard instead. This glitch also occurs after I take any other quiz, but randomly. Please help!

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CatrionaB2Kwiziq community member

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!)
Asked 1 year ago
InmaKwiziq team member
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 : ))
CatrionaB2Kwiziq community member
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.
JessicaA2Kwiziq community member

I totally agree!

LaneA1Kwiziq community member

I found this explanation and it makes a bit more sense: 

http://preguntolandia.blogspot.com/2010/05/hubo-vs-habia.html

InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Catriona

We have a specific lesson on the difference between hubo and había where we explain when to use one or the other,  Había vs Hubo

Saludos 

Inma

 

InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Jessica

This lesson is specific for the difference between hubo and había. I hope this clarifies it for you.

Había vs Hubo (Imperfect vs Preterite)

Saludos

Inma

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!)

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