what is the rule for when you use ter versus haver for "there is".

  • Há muito a considerar - there is much to consider
  • Há manteiga na geladeira/frigorífico? - is there butter in the fridge?


  • Tem muitos brasileiros aqui. - there are many Brazilians here.
  • Tem cinco brigadeiros na geladeira. - tere are 5 chocolate cupcakes in the fridge

It seems like I can use either. It might be just a mistake in the courseware but I noticed I was flagged wrong for using "Tem" instead of "há" when translating there is much to consider.

2 Answers 2


O uso de ter em sentido existencial (como verbo impessoal) não ocorre em português europeu (pelo menos na variedade padrão) e é estigmatizado na norma brasileira, ainda que seja muito frequente na oralidade. É preferível portanto usar o verbo haver:

muito a/para/que considerar.

Uma alternativa consensual com ter terá de ter um sujeito argumental. Por exemplo, com significado semelhante, dependendo do caso, podemos ter:

Temos/Eles têm muito a/para/que considerar.


In Portugal all the given examples would use the verb haver.

Not being always true, but my rule of thumb to distinguish between those two verbs is existence (haver) versus possession/ownership/inclusiveness (ter).

When something simple exist, we use haver:

Há quem limpe corações.

When someone owns something or something is a component of something else we use ter:

O José tem dois patos.

O carro tem quatro rodas.

An interesting thing to keep in mind is that the subject of the sentence changes the verb, even when sentence mean more or less the same:

Há muita água no balde. - there is a lot of water in the bucket.

Esse balde tem muita água. - that bucket have a lot of water.

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