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10.5: The Verb Tener

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    The Verb Tener

    The verb tener(to have) is an irregular verb in the present tense. It is generally used to talk about possession, age, and obligations.


    Table 10.5. The Verb Tener Conjugations with Singular Person.
    Person Español English
    1st person Yo tengo I have
    2nd person Tú tienes You have
    3rd person Él tiene He/it has
      Ella tiene She/it has
      Usted tiene You (formal) have


    Table 10.6. The Verb Tener Conjugations with Plural Person.
    Person Español English
    1st person Nosotros tenemos We have
    2nd person Vosotros tenéis You have (informal, Spain)
    3rd person Ellos tienen They (masc.) have
      Ellas tienen They (fem.) have
      Ustedes tienen You have

    Uses of Tener:


    Similar to English, the verb tener can be used to indicate possession:

    tener + posesión

    Ejemplo: Yo tengo una bicicleta roja. I have a red bicycle.


    Unlike English, in Spanish tener is used to express age (edad). To form the phrase, you must include the word años (years) after the age of the subject:

    tener + edad + años

    Ejemplo: Tú tienes veinticinco años. You are twenty-five years old.


    You can also express an obligation with tener, which is similar to the English “to have to…”. Make sure that you include the word que, followed by an infinitive verb to form the phrase:

    tener + que + infinitivo

    Ejemplo: Nosotros tenemos que estudiar para el examen. We have to study for the exam.

    This section includes content derived from Introduction to French (2nd ed.), originally released under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 and Liberté, originally released under CC BY-NC-SA.

    This page titled 10.5: The Verb Tener is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Rita Palacios via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.

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