Expressions Using Tener

Fiona Garcia

When To Use Tener

Tener means "to have" and is used to show possessions, but it is also used to form certain expressions ("to have to do something"), and to indicate states of being ("to be hungry, thirsty, hot," etc.). It is also used for when giving your age.

Tener to express physical sensations:

  • Tener frio- to be cold
  • Tener dolor- to be in pain
  • Tener calor- to be hot
  • Tener sueño- to be sleepy
  • Tener hambre- to be hungry
  • Tener sed- to be thirsty

Tener to express phycological sensations:

  • Tener cuidado- to be careful
  • Tener verguenza- to be ashamed
  • Tener miedo- to be scared
  • Tener prisa- to be in a hurry
  • Tener celos- to be jealous
  • Tener confianza- to be confident

Tener to tell age

  • Yo tengo ___ años. (I am ___ years old)
  • Tu tienes ___ años. (I am ___ years old)
  • Ella tiene ___ años. (She is ___ years old)
  • Nosotros tenemos ___ años. (We are ___ years old)
  • Vosotros tenéis ____ años. (You all are ___ years old)
  • Ellos tienen ___ años. (They are ___ years old)

"Tener que" for obligations to do something

  • Tener que limpiar el cuarto- (To have to clean the room)
  • Tener que dormir- (To have to sleep)
  • Tener que cocinar- (To have to cook)
  • Tener que leer- (To have to read)
  • Tener que comer- (To have to eat)

You Try:

1. I have a headache

A. Tiene un dolor de cabeza

B. Hay un dolor de cabeza

C. Tengo un dolor de cabeza

D. Hace dolor de cabeza

2. State your age


3. I am hungry


4. He is thirsty


5. My mom has to cook today

A. Mi madre va a cocinar hoy

B. Mi madre tengo que cocinar hoy

C. Mi madre tienes cocina

D. Mi madre tiene que cocinar hoy

6. Juán tiene dos perros.

A. Juán has two dogs.

B. Juán will have two dogs.

C. Juán has had two dogs.

D. Juán wants two dogs.

7. Tengo miedo (Translate to English)


8. It is hot (Translate to Spanish)


9. I am hot (Translate to Spanish)


10. They are jealous

A. Ellos tienen celos

B. Ellos tenenos celos

C. Ellos tengo celos

D. Ellos son celos

11. Tenemos sueño

A. They are sleepy

B. We are sleepy

C. We were sleepy

D. We will be sleepy


She is very smart. She is always right.

Ella es muy inteligente. Ella siempre _____________ razón.

13. We are very ashamed. (Translate to Spanish)


14. Ella tiene cuidado. (Translate to English)


15. ¿Tienes prisa?

A. Is he in a hurry?

B. Were you in a hurry?

C. Is she in a hurry?

D. Are you in a hurry?