Spanish The Verb "to have"

Beginner Spanish - Level A1


The Spanish verb tener, which means "to have" or "to possess," is one of the most irregular verbs in the language. This article includes tener conjugations in the indicative mood (present, past, future and conditional), the subjunctive mood (present and past), the imperative mood, and other verb forms like the gerund and past participle. 

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Spanish A1


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Using The Verb Tener

One of the most common verbs in the Spanish language is the verb TENERTENER means to have in its base form but can actually change meaning based on the phrase it is used with. Don’t worry, we will talk about that in our next lesson! For now, let’s talk about TENER and how we use it.

As we learned in our past three conjugation lessons, Tener is an -ER verb because it ends in the two letters -ER. That means we will use our -ER verb endings in order to conjugate it. Also, like the verb querer we talk about in a previous lesson, TENER is also a stem change verb. Note the spell change happening in the stem. This spell change is an e to an ie.

NOTE! Remember stem change verbs will 
never have the stem spell change in the nosotros or vosotros forms.

TENER = To have

Yo tengo – I have

Nosotros(as) tenemos – We have

Tú tienes – You (informal) have

Vosotros(as) tenéis – You all have

Él tiene – He has

Ella tiene – She has

Usted tiene – You (formal) have

Ellos tienen – They have

Ellas tienen – They have

Ustedes tienen – You all have


Notice the yo form of the verb TENER also has its own irregular rules. It does not stem change in this form like most stem change verbs, and we also change the ending by adding a “g”!

A few examples:

Yo tengo dos perros – I have two dogs.

¿Tú tienes un regalo para mí? – Do you have a gift for me?

Mi hermano tiene un trabajo muy bueno. – My brother has a very good job.

Nosotros tenemos una casa en San Francisco. – We have a house in San Francisco.

Nuestros empleados tienen ideas fantásticas. – Our employees have fantastic ideas.

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Let’s practice! Be sure to click READ MORE below to see the answer key! 

True or False?

1. Tener only means to have.

2. Tener is an -er verb.

3. Tener is not a stem change verb.

4. Tener has one extra form that does not stem change. It is the yo form.

Choose the correct form of the verb tener for the following sentences. Be careful to watch for the stem change!

5. Mi abuela _______________ pelo blanco.

  1. Tene
  2. Tienes
  3. Tiene
  4. Tenemos


6. Yo _______________ ojos marrónes.

  1. Tengo
  2. Tiengo
  3. Teno
  4. Tieno


7. Gatos _______________ nueve vidas.

  1. Tienes
  2. Tienen
  3. Tiene
  4. Tenéis


8. Vosotros _______________ oportunidades increíbles.

  1. Tengo
  2. Tienes
  3. Tienéis
  4. Tenéis


9. Mi padre y yo _______________ piernas largas.

  1. Tenemos
  2. Tienemos
  3. Tenimos
  4. Tenamos


10. ¿Ustedes _______________ un coche o moto?

a. Tengo
b. Tiene
c. Tienen
d. Tenemos


Answer key: 1. F, 2. T, 3. F, 4. T, 5. C, 6. A, 7. B, 8. D, 9. A, 10. C

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