Skip to main content
Humanities LibreTexts

4.12: Gramática- Expresiones con tener y tener + que

  • Page ID
    • Erica Brown, Alejandra Escudero, María Cristina Montoya, & Elizabeth Small
    • SUNY Oneonta via OER SUNY
    \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)\(\newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)


    • Recognize and understand the common expressions with the verb tener
    • Use tener + que + infinitive to describe things one has to do

    Tener + noun for physical conditions

    There are a number of idiomatic expressions that combine forms of tener with certain nouns to express some physical conditions of people; these are expressed with “to be” in English, so you’ll have to pay close attention to remembering the Spanish way of saying them.

    • Tener calor = to be/feel hot (literally, “to have heat”)
    • Tener frío = to be/feel cold
    • Tener hambre = to be hungry
    • Tener miedo = to be afraid
    • Tener prisa = to be in a hurry
    • Tener sed = to be thirsty
    • Tener vergüenza = to be embarrassed
    • Tener ganas de = to be in the mood for
    • Tener sueño = to be sleepy
    • Tener suerte = to have luck, be fortunate
    • tener # años = to be # years old

    Tener + que + infinitive: to have to

    The verb tener doesn’t just mean “to have” in the sense of possession: it is also used when we try to convey something that we have to do or need to do, following the structure: tener + que + infinitive. This is an example of a modal verb construction where “tener” is conjugated and the other verb is not; it’s different from English in that you need the word “que” to complete the meaning.

    • Este semestre tengo que estudiar mucho. (This semester I have to study a lot.)
    • Esteban tiene que hacer la tarea para su clase de literatura. (Esteban has to do the homework for his literature class.)
    • Nosotros tenemos que hablar con nuestra profesora de español. (We have to speak with our Spanish professor.)

    Contributors and Attributions

    • Gramu00e1tica: Expresiones con tener y tener + que. Authored by: SUNY Oneonta with Lumen Learning. Provided by: SUNY Oneonta. License: CC BY: Attribution

    This page titled 4.12: Gramática- Expresiones con tener y tener + que is shared under a CC BY 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Erica Brown, Alejandra Escudero, María Cristina Montoya, & Elizabeth Small (OER SUNY) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.