"Tener Que" and "Hay Que"


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Tener que + infinitive is one way to express obligation or necessity. This expression can be translated as “someone has to do something.” Tener is conjugated according to the subject of the sentence.

Tengo que comer las verduras.
I have to eat the vegetables.

Ángel tiene que leer el periódico.
Ángel has to read the newspaper.

Ellos tienen que comprar una revista.
They have to buy a magazine.

Hay que + infinitive is used to express the idea of “one must do something” or, “it is necessary to do something.” It is a more general expression and since there is no subject, the verb form hay is always used.

Hay que tomar un taxi.
It is necessary to take a taxi.

Hay que estudiar mucho.
One must study a lot.

These examples illustrate the contrasting uses of these two expressions:

María tiene un examen el lunes. Ella tiene que estudiar.
María has a test on Monday. She has to study.

No es fácil aprender el español. Hay que practicar mucho.
It isn’t easy to learn Spanish. It is necessary to practice a lot.