Spanish Made Easy - today's lesson: Expressions with Tener..

Enjoy your free Spanish lesson covering Expressions with Tener .

The verb 'tener' means 'to have'.
However, when used in expressions, it can be translated as 'to be'.

For example:

tener hambre means to be hungry (or literally, 'to have hunger')

Tener is conjugated in the present tense as follows:

  • yo tengo - I am (I have)
  • tu tienes - you are (you have)
  • él, ella, es tiene - he, she, it is (he, she, it has)
  • Usted tiene - You (formal singular) are
  • vosotros tienéis - you (informal plural) are (you have)
  • nosotros tenemos - we are (we have)
  • ellos, ellas tienen - they are (they have)
  • Ustedes tienen - You (formal plural) are (you have)

To form expressions with tener, the correct form of the verb tener is used together with the word describing the 'condition'. Using the example 'tener hambre

  • tengo hambre - I am hungry (I have hunger)
  • tienes hambre - you are hungry (you have hunger)
  • tiene hambre - he, she, it is hungry (he, she, it has hunger)
  • tiene hambre - You (formal singular) are hungry (you have hunger)
  • tienéis hambre - you (informal plural) are hungry (you have hunger)
  • tenemos hambre - we are hungry (we have hunger)
  • tienen hambre - they are hungry (they have hunger)
  • tienen hambre - You (formal plural) are hungry (you have (hunger)

Remember that the personal pronouns are often dropped in everyday speech. The verb is used to indicate who or what is being spoken about.

tengo hambre - you can deduce from the verb form (tengo) that the person referred to is 'I'.

To add emphasis, use the words mucho or mucha to mean ‘very’. :

  • Tengo mucho hambre.I'm very hungry.(el hambre ... mucho)
  • Tengo mucha prisa. - I'm in a great hurry.(la prisa ... mucha)

    Here are some other expressions with tener:

    tener ... años - to be .... years old
    tengo cinco años – I am five years old
    tener calor - to be hot
    tengo calor – I am hot
    tener frío - to be cold
    tengo frío – I am cold
    tener miedo - to be scared, frightened
    tengo miedo – I am scared
    tener sed - to be thirsty
    tengo sed – I am thirsty
    tener prisa - to be in a hurry
    tengo prisa – I am in a hurry
    tener sueño - to be tired, sleepy
    tengo sueño – I am sleepy
    tener suerte - to be lucky
    tengo suerte – I am lucky
    tener éxito - to be successful
    tengo éxito – I am successful
    tener ganas de - to want to, have the desire to
    tengo ganas de (+ verb) (e.g. ir al cine) – I want to (e.g. go to town)
    tener que - to have to
    tengo que (+ verb) – I have to …
    tener lugar - to take place
    el partido tiene lugar esta tarde – the match takes place this afternoon
    tener razón - to be right
    tengo razón – I am right

    Test yourself, and see how well you can memorize them.

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