In a previous lesson on Spanish question words we discovered the word for "where?": ¿Dónde?
But if you're hanging out in a new town and you're looking to see the sights, there's an extra little trick to asking where something is, and it involves knowing when to use the verb estar and when to use the verb haber instead.
Both of these mean "where is ______?" but they're used in slightly different situations.
See if you can spot the difference here:
In the first example you're looking for a specific place (Moe's tavern). In the second example you're looking for a police officer: just any police officer will do.
You can tell this because in the first example we've used the definite article "la" (the), while the second sentence uses the indefinite article "un" (a).
You'll use ¿Dónde está...? any time you'd normally say "Where is the...?", and you'll use ¿Dónde hay...? when you'd say "Where is a...?"
If Homer was looking for Flanders, what would he use? "¿Dónde hay?" or "¿Dónde está?"
If Lisa was bored, and looking for just any old book to read, which would she use? Está or hay?
If instead she's looking for her saxophone, what would she say?
And more importantly, is it ¿Dónde está Waldo? or ¿Dónde hay Waldo?
Yup, we're looking for a specific guy (and none of these other imposters will do), so it's:
If you just wanted to find any of the other guys in red striped shirts, then you could ask:
— but where's the fun in that?