Spanish Verb TENER (A1)

TENER, usually translated as “to have“ in the sense of meaning “to possess” or “to own. It is a particularly useful verb.

Conjugation of verb TENER

In general, its conjugation is quite irregular, here you have the present tense but just click on the link to see how to form all the tenses

Spanish verb tener

How to use Spanish verb TENER

 TENER is not only is it used to indicate possession, it is also used in a variety of idiomatic expressions to indicate emotions or states of being.

For instant in Spanish we use TENER to talk about age, this is because it’s not about how old you are but how many years you have.

¿Cuántos años tiene? (How old is she?).

TENER to  express some physical sensations:

  • 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 dolor de(to hurt or be sore)
  • tener mala cara (not look so good)

TENER to express sensations more psychological in nature:

  • tener prisa (to be in a hurry)
  • tener miedo a/de + noun (to be afraid of something)
  • tener celos (to be jealous)
  • tener confianza (to be confident)
  • tener cuidado (to be careful)
  • tener vergüenza (to be ashamed)

Other idiomatic expressions with TENER:

  • tener razón (to be right)
  • tener éxito (to be successful)
  • tener la culpa (to be guilty)
  • tener suerte (to be lucky)
  • tener lugar (to take place)
  • tener ganas de (to feel like)
  • tener en cuenta (to take into account)


Notice that in Spanish we have two ways to say TO HAVE: tener and haber. The difference between tener and haber are not complicated. You have seen above how to use TENER, while the equivalent of the English auxiliary verb “to have, as in “you have seen,” is haber (as in “has visto“, you have seen) to form the present perfect tense PRETÉRITO PERFECTO in Spanish.

Spanish verb TENER exercises

Now you are ready to practice everything you have learned with our exercises and quizzes and remember you can contact your tutor with any question you have.  Don’t you have a Spanish personal tutor yet?

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