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3.16: Gramática- El verbo tener

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    • Erica Brown, Alejandra Escudero, María Cristina Montoya, & Elizabeth Small
    • SUNY Oneonta via OER SUNY

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    • Recognize and use the irregular verb “tener”
    • Use “tener” for saying people’s age

    Verbo tener

    The verb tener (to have) is special in the sense that it has an irregular yo form and also has a change of e>ie in the stem.

    tener (to have)
    (stem: ten; irregular yo-form; stem-vowel change)
    singular plural
    yo tengo nosotros tenemos
    tienes vosotros tenéis
    él tiene ella tiene usted tiene ellos tienen ellas tienen ustedes tienen
    Photo of a sign outside a restaurant that says "No tenemos wi-fi HABLEN entre ustedes"
    (Note: “hablar” is in the present subjunctive here because it’s a command. That will come in a later course…)
    Photo of a young man holding a sign that reads "Tienen miedo porque no tenemos miedo"
    miedo = fear, porque = because
    • María tiene una clase de psicología a las dos de la tarde. (María has a psychology class at 2 p.m.)
    •   ¿Cuántos lápices tienes en tu mochila? (How many pencils do you have in your backpack?)

    Tener años

    To give age in Spanish, use the correct conjugation of the verb tener + number + años:

    • ¿Cuántos años tienes? (How old are you?)
    • Tengo 22 años. (I am 22 years old.)
    • Tengo trece años. (I’m 13.)
    • ¿Cuántos años tiene él? (How old is he?)
    • Tiene ochenta y siete años. (He’s 87.)
    • ¿Cuántos años tienen? (How old are they?)

    Note: in English you can leave off “years old” and just say “I’m 22,” but in Spanish you must include the word años.

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    • Gramática: El verbo tener. Authored by: SUNY Oneonta with Lumen Learning. Provided by: SUNY Oneonta. License: CC BY: Attribution

    This page titled 3.16: Gramática- El verbo tener 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.