Lesson 13 – Another Irregular, But Useful Spanish Verb – Tener (to have)

Another VERY useful Spanish irregular verb is the verb Tener, which means to have. However, note that “tener” is not to be used in the sense of saying, “I have eaten a lot.” There is another Spanish verb, the verb Haber that is used for this purpose, which you will learn much much much later.

Tener is used to indicate possession and for a multitude of other uses, such as expressing hunger, thirst, fear, luck, etc.

Here’s how to conjugate the Spanish verb Tener:

Yo tengo (I have)
 tienes (You have)
Ã?l/Ella/Usted tiene (He/She/You have)
Nosotros tenemos (We have)
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes tienen (They have)

As you can see, the Spanish verb Tener is irregular because the present tense conjugation of it experiences a stem change: e –> ie (except for nosotros).

Tengo dos libros en mi auto. (I have 2 books in my car).
Ustedes tienen una casa grande. (You have a big house).

Another great use of Tener is to express that someone or something has to do something. To express this, add “que”:

Tener + que + infinitive verb

Tengo que comer rá¡pido. (I have to eat fast).
Tenemos que salir ahora. (We have to leave now).

To express that you feel like doing something, add “ganas de”:

Tengo + ganas de + infinitive verb

Ella tiene ganas de jugar al tenis conmigo (She feels like playing tennis with me?).

Express age

Tener is also used to express age, in which the literal translation becomes “I have _ # of years.”

Ex. Tengo veinte años (I’m 20 years old).