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11.5: Tener expressions

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    Tener Expressions

    The verb tener (to have) is also used in expressions of physical or emotional states. While they can be translated literally into English, they sound odd. You are advised to memorize them and use them as formed phrases; with practice, they will start sounding more natural to you. To use them, you will conjugate tener in agreement with the subject of the sentence.


    nosotros + tener hambre = (Nosotros) tenemos hambre. We are hungry.

    Select the play button to hear an example.

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    Expresiones con Tener

    Table 11.3. Expressions with Tener.
    Español English
    tener hambre to be hungry
    tener sed to be thirsty
    tener frío to be cold
    tener calor to be hot
    tener miedo to be scared
    tener sueño to be sleepy
    tener cuidado to be careful
    tener prisa to be in a hurry
    tener razón to be right
    tener suerte to be lucky

    To indicate that the state is heightened (to be very cold, for example), you can add the word mucho in front of the noun. You will have to be mindful of the gender of the noun.


    (Yo) tengo mucha sed. I am very thirsty.

    Finally, to make a sentence negative, you place no in front of the verb.


    (Tú) no tienes sueño.You’re not sleepy.

    This page titled 11.5: Tener expressions 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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