How do you use tener in a sentence?

First of all, we take a look at the forms in order to know how to use tener in Spanish. This verb is irregular and, because of that, we will see all the changes that happen in the Present Tense.

The verb to have means tener in Spanish.

Yo tengo I have – Nosotros, -as tenemos We have

tienes You have – Vosotros, -as tenéis You (all) have

Él tiene He has – Ellos tienen They have

Ella tiene She has – Ellas tienen They have

Usted tiene You (formal) have – Ustedes tienen You all (formal) have

Vocabulary to use tener in Spanish

Secondly, we are going to see the verb “in action”, how it is used with other words to form sentences. However, before we do that, it would be good to  hear how it sounds. You can hear for free the pronunciacion of the verb tener on the third episode of the podcast Spanish for Beginners, episode 3

Once we know how it is pronounceed, we can see some sentences. To understand them, we need some vocabulary. Therefore, here you have a short list of very useful words:

¿Cuánto? ¿Cuánta? How much?

¿Cuántos? ¿Cuántas? How many?

la familia family

padre father

madre mother

hija daughter

hijo son

hermana sister

hermano brother

primo  cousin

abuelo grandfather

abuela grandmother

Practical sentences to use tener in context

Thirdly, we need to answer this important question: How can you learn the verb to have in Spanish? The best possible way is by using it in real sentences. If you would like to have a document with the grammar, additional exercises and the keys to the exercises, you can find it here: Spanish for Beginners Pedro

¿Tienes un libro? Do you have a book?

Tengo tres libros. I have three books.

¿Cuántos hermanos y hermanas tienes? How many brothers and sisters do you have?

Tengo cinco hermanas y cinco hermanos. I have 5 brothers and 5 sisters.

¿Cuánto dinero tienes? How much money do you have?

Tengo diez dólares. I have ten dollars.

¿Tienes hijos? Do you have children? Children: hijos o niños.

Sí, tengo dos hijas y un hijo. Yes, I have two daughters and one son.

More Questions and Answers with to have

You have practiced and you see how it works. As a result, you have to do more sentences, to keep asking questions and answering them.

¿Cuántos hijos tienes? How many children do you have?

Tengo cuatro hijos, dos niñas y dos niños. I have four children, two girls and two boys.

¿Cuántos coches tienes? How many cars do you have?

Solo tengo un coche. I have only one car.

¿Cuánta leche tienes? How much milk do you have?

Let us see more sentences with tener

¿Cuántos libros de español tienes? How many Spanish books do you have?

Tengo cinco libros de español. I have 5 Spanish books.

Mi amigo y yo tenemos un negocio juntos. My friend and I have a business together.

Tú tienes una casa grande y yo tengo un piso. You have a big house and I have a flat.

Tú nunca tienes tiempo. You never have time.

Ustedes tienen muchas computadoras. You all have a lot of computers.

Ustedes tienen muchos cuadernos. You all have a lot of notebooks.

In conclusion, the process has several steps and it takes some time. However, if you learn the forms and practice a little bit, you can start using the verb to have in real sentences.

© Pedro Fernández Fanjul