The verb to have in Spanish is very important in the conversations of the day to day, its infinitive verb is “to have” and as other verbs it is necessary to conjugate it so that it can be used with different pronouns.

Conjugation of the verb to have in Spanish

Something we have to consider is that to have is an irregular verb, for the case of the first person this verb ends in the syllable “go“, and for the others the vowel “e” is changed from the root to “ie” with the exception of the pronouns “nosotros” and “vos/vosotros”.

yo tengo

i have

tú tienes

you have

vos tenéis

you have (Spain form)

usted tiene

you have (formal form)

él tiene

he has

ella tiene

she has

nosotros tenemos

we have

ellos/ellas tienen

they have

vosotros tenéis

you have (Spain form – plural)

ustedes tienen

you have (formal form – plural)

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Unlike English, this verb is not only used with possessions. In Spanish it has other types of use such as age, idiomatic expressions and obligations.

Use of the verb “TENER” in possessions

In this case the verb is used the same as in English, when something belongs to someone it is used, always bearing in mind that the verb is conjugated depending on the pronoun of the sentence.

yo tengo un gato

I have a cat

tú tienes un carro

you have a car

vos tenéis un amigo

you have a friend (spain form)

usted tiene una casa

you have a house (formal form)

él tiene un perro

he has a dog

ella tiene un televisor

she has a television

nosotros tenemos fresas

we have strawberries

ellos tienen películas

they have movies

vosotros tenéis dinero

you have money (spain form – plural)

ustedes tienen manzanas

you have apples (formal form – plural)

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Use of the verb “TENER” in age

In English to say age is used the verb “to be” demonstrating a description of our age -I’m 26 years old- this phrase in Spanish translated directly is more like -yo soy 26 años viejo- and it is not pleasant to say to an old person. In the case of Spanish it is said how old we are, something like – i have 26 years-. for them it is important to understand the verb to have in Spanish.

The same happens in the case of asking the age, how old are you? (how many years you have?) , “to have” is used instead of “to be” and the word “old” is not used.

¿Cuántos años tienes tú?

How old are you?

Yo tengo 18 años

I’m 18 years old

¿Cuántos años tiene el carro/coche?

How old is the car?

El carro/coche tiene 5 años

The car is 5 years old

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Use of the verb “TENER” in some expressions

Many English phrases that use the verb “to be” that express different expressions, in the case of Spanish use the verb “TENER”. Also when we want to indicate exaggeration we use mucho or mucha. We must remember that the verb tener must be conjugated with the noun of the verb.

To be + adjetive ――> “to have” + noun

Tener (mucha) hambre

To be (very) hungry

Tener (mucha) sed

To be (very) thirsty

Tener (mucho) frio

To be (very)  cold

Tener (mucho) calor

To be (very) warm

Tener (mucho) miedo

To be (very) afraid

Tener (mucha) suerte

To be (very) lucky

Tener (mucha) prisa

To be in a (big) hurry

Tener (mucho) sueño

To be (very) sleepy

Tener razón

To be right

No tener razón

To be wrong

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Uses of the verb “Hacer” expressing obligation

The English expressions that use the structure to have + to + infinitive; for this we follow the structure tener + que + infinitive.

Yo tengo que abrir la librería todos los días

I have to open the library every day

Ella tiene que decidir ahora

She has to decide now

Usted tiene que tomar la medicina

You have to take the medicine

Nosotros no tenemos que comer la sopa

We don’t to eat the soup

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Bearing in mind the above and understanding the different uses of the verb to have in Spanish we can understand and express ourselves in many conversations in Spanish.

TENER – Verb to have in Spanish

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