Tener, How to conjugate the verb Tener?

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How to Conjugate Tener

The verb Tener means ‘to have’. Beyond this literal meaning the verb Tener is commonly used as a state of being in Spanish. There are several expressions that are not used in English but are very common in Spanish.

For instance, the phrase tener hambre means ‘to have hunger’. We do not use this phrase in English but it is widely used in Spanish. Yes, you have guessed it right. The phrase tener hambre actually means ‘to be hungry’.

Now, let us explore some of the examples to understand the use of verb Tener:

  • Tener sed (To be thirsty)
  • Tener sueño (To be sleepy)
  • Tener miedo (To be afraid)
  • Tener vergüenza (To be embarrassed)

Tener conjugation video lesson

How to conjugate Tener?

As we have discussed earlier that Tener is an irregular verb. This means that Tener does not follow the same rules or pattern as that of regular ar er and ir verbs. In order to master the conjugation of the verb Tener, we have to take into consideration all of its irregularities.

Let’s move towards proper conjugation of Tener. We will explore both simple and compound Spanish tenses in this guide. 

Conjugating Simple Tenses

Present tense conjugation

yo tengo

I have

tú tienes
vos tenés 

you have

él/ella/usted tiene

he/she has
you (formal) have

nosotros/nosotras tenemos

we have

vosotros/vosotras tenéis
ustedes tienen

you (plural) have

ellos/ellas tienen

they have

Imperfect Tense Conjugation

yo tenía

I had

tú tenías
vos tenías 

you had

él/ella/usted tenía

he/she/you (formal) had

nosotros/nosotras teníamos

we had

vosotros/vosotras teníais
ustedes tenían

you (plural) had

ellos/ellas tenían

they had

Future Tense Conjugation

yo tendré

I will have

tú tendrás
vos tendrás 

you will have

él/ella/usted tendrá

he/she/you (formal) will have

nosotros/nosotras tendremos

we will have

vosotros/vosotras tendréis
ustedes tendrán

you (plural) will have

ellos/ellas tendrán

they will have

Conditional Tense Conjugation

yo tendría

I would have

tú tendrías
vos tendrías 

you would have

él/ella/usted tendría

he/she/you (formal) would have

nosotros/nosotras tendríamos

we would have

vosotros/vosotras tendríais
ustedes tendrían

you (plural) would have

ellos/ellas tendrán

they would have

 Conjugating Compound Tenses

Present Perfect Tense Conjugation

yo he tenido

I have had

tú has tenido
vos has tenido 

you have had

él/ella/usted ha tenido

he/she has had
you (formal) have had

nosotros/nosotras hemos tenido

we have had

vosotros/vosotras habéis tenido
ustedes han tenido

you (plural) have had

ellos/ellas han tenido

they have had

Pluperfect Tense Conjugation

yo había tenido

I had had

tú habías tenido
vos habías tenido 

you had had

él/ella/usted había tenido

he/she/you (formal) had had

nosotros/nosotras habíamos tenido

we had had

vosotros/vosotras habíais tenido
ustedes habían tenido

you (plural) had had

ellos/ellas habían tenido

they had had

Preterite Perfect Tense Conjugation

yo hube tenido

I had had

tú hubiste tenido
vos hubiste tenido

you had had

él/ella/usted hubo tenido

he/she/you (formal) had had

nosotros/nosotras hubimos tenido

we had had

vosotros/vosotras hubisteis tenido
ustedes hubieron tenido

you (plural) had had

ellos/ellas habían tenido

they had had

Future Perfect Tense Conjugation

yo habré tenido

I will have had

tú habrás tenido
vos habrás tenido 

you will have had

él/ella/usted habrá tenido

he/she/you (formal) will have had

nosotros/nosotras habremos tenido

we will have had

vosotros/vosotras habréis tenido
ustedes habrán tenido

you (plural) will have had

ellos/ellas habrán tenido

they will have had

Conditional Perfect Tense Conjugation

yo habría tenido

I would have had

tú habrías tenido
vos habrías tenido 
(South American)

you would have had

él/ella/usted habría tenido

he/she/you (formal) would have had

nosotros/nosotras habríamos tenido

we would have had

vosotros/vosotras habríais tenido
ustedes habrían tenido

you (plural) would have had

ellos/ellas habrían tenido

they would have had

Some of the common questions about Tener

1.    What does tener que means?

Tener is sometimes combined with the Spanish preposition que and an infinitive (infinitives are verbs in Spanish that end in “ar”, “er”, or “ir”). In English, the verb phrase “tener que” means “have to,” and it expresses obligation. “Tienes que hacerlo,” for instance, means “you must do it.”

2.    When is Tener mostly used?

Tener is a Spanish word that means “to have.” In English, “yo tengo un carro” means “I have a car.” Many idiomatic expressions include the word tener. One of them is “tener sed,” which means “to be thirsty.”

How to develop command on the verb Tener?

You need to be consistent in your learning approach. Try to make flashcards carrying all the conjugations and go through them on a regular basis until you master them. Try taking up online quizzes to monitor your Spanish knowledge. There are several Spanish quizzes available online.  

Once you master these verbs and their use, try taking your Spanish to next level. Start practicing with real Spanish sentences. It will boost your confidence to learn Spanish publically. 

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