Five ways to use the verb “tener” in Spanish. In today's blog you are going to learn five ways to use the verb “tener” in Spanish. There are many useful sentences, expressions…with this verb

The verb “tener”, to have is quite a popular verb in Spanish. It is quite common and we often use it in a different way than its English equivalent to have. As I said the verb “tener” is used in useful phrases, vocabulary, expressions…so I would say it is quite important in Spanish, that is why today I would like to give you five ways in which you can use the verb “tener” in Spanish, and these five ways are decisive to improve your Spanish.

To start with I think is a good idea if we quickly see the conjugation for the verb “tener”, as it is one of those irregular verbs, that is going to drive some Spanish students crazy, not you tho.


TENER                                                                                     to have

YO                          TENGO                 –>                                   I have

TÚ                          TIENES                 –>                                   you have

ÉL/ELLA                TIENE                   –>                                  he/she has

NOSOTROS         TENEMOS             –>                                  we have

VOSOTROS         TENÉIS                  –>                                  you guys have

ELLOS                   TIENES                –>                                  they have

This is only the conjugation for the present tense, keep that in mind. If we talk in past, future etc, we will need to use the appropriate conjugation according with the tens.


Now,  if you are ready let’s have a look to today’s blog.



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!




2 Responses to “Five ways to use the verb “tener” in Spanish.”


    Hola, Blanca! Muchas gracias por este blog. Tengo ganas de practicar!

  2. Baria baz

    Thank you very much for the efforts you do by sending us the lessons.


Leave a Reply