Five ways to use the verb “tener” in Spanish.
The first one is very easy, as I am sure even if you have recently started to learn Spanish you have come across with it.
1-“tener” to speak about age, edad.
I know, I know, crazy, lots of my students blink twice when I first tell them that in Spanish we don’t say “ I am 31 years old”, but “ I have 31 years”.
Yo TENGO 31 años, I am 31 years old.
¿Cuántos años TIENES tú? How old are you? Or literally how many years do you have?
2-“tener” to express states or needs, estados o necesidades.
Let’s see this with examples:
Yo TENGO frío I am cold literally I have cold (I feel the cold)
Susana TIENE calor Susana is hot literally Susana is hot (she feels the hot, not that she is attractive)
Nosotros TENEMOS hambre we are hungry literally we have hunger
Mis amigas TIENEN sed they are thirsty literally we have thirst
Vosotros TENÉIS miedo you are scared literally we have fear
3-“tener” to talk about assets and property, activos y propiedades
This one works the same like in English, to speak about things you have, you own, your belongings, pertenencias
TENGO una casa en España I have a house in Spain
Manuel TIENE una familia grande Manuel has a big family
TENGO una hermana I have a sister
Mis padres TIENEN un perro My parents have a dog
4-“tener” to speak about illnesses or sickness, enfermedades
Quite similar to the way we express in English too
Yo TENGO dolor de cabeza I have a headache
Sofía TIENE dolor de estómago Sofía has a stomachache
¿TIENES dolor de pies? Do you have sore feet? Or do you have feet pain?
Vosotros TENÉIS dolor de espalda You guys have a backache
#tip-When in English you use to have (something) sore or something(ache) in Spanish we say dolor de (something)
dolor de pies –> sore feet
Dolor de garganta –> sore throat
Dolor de muelas –> toothache
5-“tener” in the expression I feel like
To express you feel like something in Spanish we say tener ganas de…
TENGO ganas de fiesta I am feeling like party
TENGO ganas de comida Mexicana I am feeling like having Mexican food
But when we feel like + a verb, in English you use the gerung (verb+ing) in Spanish we use the infinitive instead
TENGO ganas de ir al cine I am feeling like going to the cinema
#note-tener ganas de ir can also be “to be looking forward to”
TENGO ganas de ir de vacaciones este año à I am looking forward to going on holidays this year.
And that my friend, is today’s lesson.
I hope you enjoyed it and learn something, so you have something to practice this week.
If you liked this blog I will appreciate if you could help me to spread the Spanish word around, share it with a fellow learner!
Also I would love to hear from me, you know I always say practice makes perfect – la practica hace la perfección, so before you leave the blog leave a comment, in the comment’s section below with a sentences in Spanish using one of the 5 ways to use the verb “tener” in Spanish.
Tengo ganas de leerte I am looking forward to reading from you
One last thing- I just want to share with you, in case you don’t know yet I am on instagram now, have a look here or look for @spanishwithblanca and follow me for some insights and…because is quite fun!
¡Buen día! ¡Y hasta pronto!