Tuesday, 12 April 2011

More on tener

Following on from yesterdays conjugation of 'tener' (to have) it might be helpful to look at a few of the many uses of tener. Basically it means to have, in the sense of possessing something, but not in the sense of to have done something where 'haber' would be used instead.

Tengo un vaso = I have a glass
Tiene un coche = he/she has a car
¿Tienes una bolsa? = Do you have a bag?

It is also used in many situations where 'to be' would be used in English, for feelings or characteristics. I like to think of saying "I have hunger", "He has fear" etc.

Tengo hambre = I am hungry
Tienen frío = They are cold
Tener sueño = To be sleepy
Tenemos suerte = we are lucky
Tiene miedo = he/she is afraid

Another very common use of 'tener' is in the phrase 'tener que' meaning 'to have to'.

Tiene que ir = he/she has to go
Tengo que pensar = I have to think
Tenemos que empezar = we have to begin

I am sure to many the material in this post is quite familiar, but I wanted to start near the beginning of my own journey into Spanish. Tomorrow I plan to continue on the theme of 'tener' but with a handy fact I did not discover until much later in my Spanish learning career.

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