Haig de, he de, tinc que

Often you will hear Catalan people saying one of these three expression to say “have to” or “must”: “Haig de”, “He de”, “Tinc que”; but which one is the correct one?

In Catalan to express an obligation you have the verbal periphrasis “haver de + infinitive”, but it doesn’t exist the periphrasis “tenir que + infinitive” like in Spanish, so if you hear someone say “tinc que fer”, this persons is using a Spanish expression translated literally to Catalan, and this is NOT correct.

So, now we know that we don’t have to say “tenir que” or “tinc que” but that we have to utilize “haver de”. But the first singular person of the verb haver can be “haig” or “he”, which one should we use?
In this case it’s the same, both forms “haig de fer” and “he de fer” are correct. and usually people use one or another depending on the Catalan dialect they speak or simply depending on which one sounds better in the phrase.

So it will be perfectly normal and correct to hear something like this:
“Avui haig de fer moltes coses, tu?” (Today I have to do a lot of things, you?)
“No, jo no he de fer res” (No, I don’t have to do anything)

Just remember to avoid the use of “tinc que”, to see all the verbal periphrasis that you can use in Catalan have a look at this lesson.

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