We use the verb to have in Spanish (tener) not only to talk about possession but also to
express very different sensations, such as hunger or thirst. That is why we need to know it
very well. But careful, the verb to have in Spanish is quite irregular!
Let’s take a look at its form in the present tense:
Yo tengo - I have
Tú tienes - you have
Él/ella tiene - he/she has
Nosotros/as tenemos - we have
Vosotros/as tenéis - you (plural) have
Ellos/as tienen - they have
So we can use tener -verb to have in Spanish- to express possession (what we have and don’t have), as in “tengo
una casa en Barcelona”. But we can also use the verb to have in Spanish in idiomatic expressions to indicate sensations or states of being, for
• Age: tengo 53 años (I am 53 years old).
• Temperature: tengo frío (I am cold); tengo calor (I am hot).
• Wishes and needs: tengo ganas de tener vacaciones (I feel like having some
vacation); tengo ganas de un helado (I fancy an ice-cream).
• Hunger and thirst: tengo hambre (I am hungry); tengo sed (I am thirsty).
• Others, like tengo sueño (I am sleepy); tengo miedo (I am scared); tengo envidia
(I am envious) and so on.
Now, why don’t you try to do this exercise? It’s one of our free online Spanish
exercises that will help you learn how to use the verb to have in Spanish in the present tense. All you
have to do is fill in the blanks with the suitable form of the verb.
If you found this post useful, we suggest you check out our blog to find more free Spanish
exercises and some tips on Spanish grammar that you may use to learn Spanish. We
also recommend you try one of ELINQUA's trial lessons to find out what our Skype Spanish lessons are like!