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Isn’t the Haber de + infinitive only used in literary writing or very formal speaking? Isn’t it better to use Tener que + infinitive in these examples?
I love this question because I had the same impression as well. I always saw “haber + de” used to express obligation in books like “El amor en los tiempo de cólera,” but did not recall hearing it spoken in conversational Spanish. Then, when my friend returned from living 3 years in México, I noticed that she would often use “haber + de” to express probability. For example, you’ll often hear people say: “Ha de ser.” = “It must be.” More examples can be found here: http://www.spanishdict.com/examples/ha%20de%20ser
Here´s another example from Ángel´s interview with his grandmother, doña Tere Rivas about her diagnosis of diabetes (https://docmolly.com/di-diabetes-patient-interview-diagnosis-treatment/)
A: ¿Cuánto tiempo después del diagnóstico de diabetes empezó a tomar insulina?
TR: Hmmm… Ha de ser como unos quince años.
Here, “Ha(n) de ser como unos quince años.” = It must have been about 15 years.
We cover this in the premium lesson: https://docmolly.com/di01-diabetes-patient-interview-vocabulary-grammar-1/
OJO: In the above example, doña Tere Rivas used the singular of haber, “ha de….,” but given the predicate of the sentence is plural (quince años), I think it would be more grammatically correct to use ¨han de ser quince años.” But grammar isn´t perfect in the wild. ? and we usually sound more natural and fluent when you don´t worry about using perfect grammar, as long as we know how to use common expressions in the right context.
I hope this helps! Thanks so much for your question. Please reply if other questions arise!
Tienes toda la razón Molly. He oído otra maestra decir que estas expresiones sólo ocurren en literatura pero he oído pacientes usarlas justo como tú explicas aquí.
Gracias, Steve. Me alegra que te haya resultado útil esta lección.