How do you use tener in Spanish?


The verb to have means tener in Spanish.

To know how to use a verb in Spanish the first thing is to learn the forms. Let´s start with the Present Tense:

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


If you would like to hear the pronunciacion of the verb tener, please go to my podcast Spanish for Beginners, episode 3

We are going to see some sentences with the verb to have. To understand them, we need some vocabulary:

¿Cuánto? ¿Cuánta? How much?

¿Cuántos? ¿Cuántas? How many?

la familia family

padre father

madre mother

hija daughter

hijo son

hermana sister

hermano brother

primo / a cousin

abuelo grandfather

abuela grandmother

Practical sentences

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.

¿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?

¿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.