Monday, 11 April 2011

Conjugation of the week - 1. Tener - To have

So - grammar is boring and learning verbs is even more boring. Unfortunately it is also pretty important. Unless you are lucky enough to be able to pick up the language entirely by listening and speaking, you are going to have to learn some verbs.

My suggestion is to spend ten minutes or so every few days choosing a different verb and learning how to conjugate it. To help out (and to revise the verbs myself at the same time) I will post a different verb/tense to learn each week. For those put off by big grammar words like conjugate, It is simply learning the different forms of the verb for I, we, he, she, they, you - e.g. I am, we are, he/she is, they are, you are. Unfortunately Spanish is a little more complicated as there are more forms of each verb. More on that later. For now, here goes with the first verb:

1. Tener = to have

yo tengo = I have
tú tienes = you have (singular, familiar)
el/ella tiene = he/she/it has
usted tiene = you have (singular, formal)
nosotros tenemos = we have
vosotros tenéis = you have (plural, familiar) *
ellos/ellas tienen = they have (ellos for males, ellas for females)
ustedes tienen = you have (plural, formal)

* vosotros is used in Spain but not in Latin America where ustedes is used instead for the plural form of you, whether formal or familiar.

Note that the subject pronoun (yo, tu etc.) is generally omitted in Spanish as the verb form makes it clear who is being talked about, so 'tengo el coche' = 'I have the car'. Also note that the usted form (you, formal) is exactly the same as the el/ellos (he/she) form. This is always the case in Spanish, but the explanation of why will have to wait for another post.

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