In our second piece on three verbs (Dar, Tener, and Hacer) to discuss their main uses, but more importantly (and more interestingly) their alternate usages. Today we will focus today on the verb “tener” which in English is “to have”.
Yo tengo – I have
Tú tienes – You have
Él/ella tiene – He/she has
Nosotros tenemos– We have
Ellos/ellas tienen – They have
Ustedes tienen – You (pl) have
Again, not rocket science, but obvious must-knows for the most beginner Spanish student. Here are a few examples in some sentences:
- Tengo una casa grande. – I have a big house.
- Ella tiene dos hermanos. – She has two brothers.
- Nosotros tenemos una reunión con el jefe. – We have a meeting with the boss.
- ¿Tú tienes la manzana que te di ayer?. – Do you have the apple that I gave you yesterday?
Beyond the above, in Spanish the verb “tener” is commonly used together with the following nouns:
Vergüenza – (to have) shame
Paciencia – (to have) patience
Tiempo – (to have) time
Dolor – (to have) pain
Familia – (to have) family
Pereza – (to have) laziness
Dudas – (to have) doubts
Fé – (to have) faith
Confianza – (to have) trust
Pena – (to have) grief
Obviously, these are pretty common in English as well. There are uses of “tener” however, that are used differently in Spanish:
- Tengo frío.- I am cold. (literally: I have cold)
- Nosotros tenemos calor. – We are hot.
- Tú siempre tienes hambre. – You are always hungry.
Many everyday expressions in Spanish begin with “tener”. Where in English it is common to use to be + adjective, in Spanish the construction is often: tener + noun.
tener frío – to be cold
tener calor – to be hot
tener hambre – to be hungry
tener sed – to be thirsty
tener sueño – to be sleepy
tener años – to be years old
tener miedo – to be afraid
tener prisa – to be in a hurry
tener cuidado – to be careful
tener (la) razón – to be right
tener suerte – to be lucky
tener celos – to be jealous
tener éxito – to be successful
tener (mucho) gusto en – to be (very) glad to
tener gracia – to be funny
- Ella tiene veinte años. – She is twenty years old.
- Él tiene mucho calor. – He is very warm.
- Nosotros tenemos frío. – We are cold.
- Jorge tiene sed cuando está en la playa. – Jorge is thirsty when at the beach.
- Ella tiene celos de su novio. – She is jealous of her boyfriend.
“To be warm” and “to be cold” translate as “hacer calor” and “hacer frío”, respectively, when referring to the weather, and as “estar caliente” and “estar frío”, respectively, when referring to things.
The verb “tener” can also be used as follows.
tener la culpa (de) – to blame
tener que ver con – to have to do with
tener la bondan/gentiliza (de) – please
tener sentido – to make sense
tener buena cara – to look good
tener ganas de + infinitivo/sustantivo – to feel like, to care to
Note that the English translation is completely different, as there is a specific verb in English and in Spanish we use the verb “to have” with a noun to form a phrase.
- Él tiene la culpa de todos mis problemas. – He is to blame for all my problems.
- Esto no tiene nada que ver con aquello. – This has nothing to do with that.
- Tengan ustedes la bondad de esperar un momento. – Please wait a minute.
- El español a veces no tiene sentido. – Spanish sometimes does not make sense.
- Ellos no tienen buena cara. –They don’t look good.
- Tú tienes ganas de un helado de chocolate. – You feel like an ice cream.
The verb “tener” is also used to express an obligation, something needs to be done. You have to learn the following formula:
tener que + infinitive – to have to, to must
- Tú tienes que estudiar más. – You have to study more.
- Nosotros tenemos que practicar todo los verbos. – We have to practice all the verbs.
Thanks for reading again! 🙂