Spanish expressions which use “to have” when their English equivalent use “to be” -part II Last month I wrote the first part of this blog, I think is quite useful to have fixed expressions/sentences which work different from your language so you do not use them wrong or make a mistake trying to translate them, or you do not get a confusing face when you are taking with natives, so if you are ready, here I am with the second round. Let’s dive in.

Spanish expressions which use “to have” when their English equivalent use “to be” -part II

The ones before were quite common, and if you have been studying Spanish for a while they are familiar to you,  you can check the first part here, if you missed or you forgot :), the ones today are  a bit more level up (even you would find two typical ones), but not difficult and again, they all make sense, so they will be easy to remember.


Spanish expressions which use “to have” when their English equivalent use “to be” -part II


1-TENER MIEDO-“to be scared”

Well even when the literal translation is “to have fear”, ( I told you they made sense) but really…when do you use that sentences in English? Much more common “to be scared”
















So if someone ask you what scares you, remember not to say

Estoy asustado de las arañas,-“I am scared of spiders”-quite common, but mec!To literal, say

Tengo miedo de las arañas instead, it will give your sentence a more Spanish touch 🙂

2-TENER CUIDADO-“to be careful”

Again the literal translation is “to have care” but again…in normal talks you just use “to be careful”, don’t you?

















If your friend is planning a trip to one city you have been where you think there might be pickpockets you will advice him saying

Es una ciudad preciosa, pero ten cuidado en el metro con los carteristas-“It is a beautiful city but be careful in the underground with the pickpockets”

3-TENER CELOS ,-“to be jealous”

Literally means “to have jealousy, but let’s be normal people and say “to be jealous” is the appropriate one to use 🙂

















If your sister has a new baby and she already has a three years old one, you will be concern about how the 3 years old is getting on with the new baby, so you will ask your sister.

¿Y qué tal Silvia?¿Tiene celos del pequeño?-“And how is Silvia?Is she jealous of the little one?

4-TENER CONFIANZA-“to be confident”

Remember you are not confident in Spanish you have confidence, if we use the verb “ser” we need to use the adjective “soy confiado”.

















But if we are talking about the feeling we use “tener”

Like if you  have an exam in order to get a promotion and your friends ask you if you are nervous but you are feeling pretty good about it so you can always say

No, no mucho la verdad, tengo confianza de que va a ir bien-“Not, not much to be honest, I am confident it is going to be fine”

5-TENER VERGüENZA-“to be embarrassed”

















If you have one of those friends (we all have one) who signs badly but still does it in every party

You can say

No entiendo como Ricardo puede cantar en todas las fiestas, !lo hace falta! No tiene vergüenza-“I can’t understand how Ricardo sings in every party, he does very bad! He is not ashamed!”

#learningTip- sinvergüenza is most of the times a bad word used to describe dishonest people, sometimes can be used among friends in a funny way, but it is not a nice word to use.


6-TENER HAMBRE-“to be hungry”

















Another which surprised and it is very linked to the following one, we do not say that we are hungry, we have hunger, (I know…a bit extreme, ;))

So if you meet some Spanish friends, probably your internal clock gets hungry before theirs (you know how crazy meal times we have) so you will need t say

!Hey chicos! Tengo hambre, ¿comemos algo?-“Hey guys! I am hungry, should we eat something?”

7-TENER SED-“to be thirsty” 

















Yeah, I know is funny how we are not thirsty, we have thirst :S

So if you arrive to a Spaniard house and they ask you if you want something , remember to say

Sí, tengo sed, ¿tienes  (insert the drink you rather drink when you are thirsty, might be water, juice, wine…)?- “Yes, I am thristy, do you have (drink selection)?”



















This is one of my favourites, why? Because it is one of the most common ones and still people keep forgetting it, as it is nothing to see with its English equivalent “to be looking forward to”

If you have holidays planned and you are talking about it with your friends at some point in the conversation you will say

Si, ya tengo todo planeado, el hotel, el viaje, solo falta que llegue el día, tengo muchas ganas-“Yeah I have everything planned, the hotel, the trip, I just need to wait until the day comes, I am so looking forward to it”

I actually wrote a short entry about this sentences, if you want you can have a look here

#tip-note along with this sentences in English we usually use “can’t wait”, If you want to sound as a native forget about the literal “no puedo esperar” and use “no veo el momento” instead, trust me people will be impressed 🙂

So let’s example you are going on holidays and one of your friends ask you

¿Tienes ganas de ir de vacaciones?-“Are you looking forward to going on holidays?”-ok…a bit of a silly question, but let’s practice the answer

No te puedes imaginar, no veo el momento, necesito unas vacaciones-“You can’t imagine, I can’t wait, I need a holiday.”

And that is all guys, I told you they all made sense, did not they? 🙂

HOMEWORK,  you need an actionable to check if you understood the sentences and to make sure they will stay in your brain for longer so give it a go, leave a comment below using one of the expressions above.

Now as always I would love to hear from you

-Did you know these expression were used with “tener”instead of “to be”?

-Have you used them before?

-Do you have problems remembering them?

-Do you know any others?

Looking forward to reading your comments and I will talk to you pronto 🙂

Remember to share this post if you like it among your Spanish buddies.

Have a good one

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