Spanish Verb tener: to have, to hold is tener

The Spanish for have, hold is the irregular Spanish verb tener.
Imagine the TENOR HOLDS a TENNER! (*tenner = English ten pound note.)

Tener is an irregular -IR verb, and one of the ten most important verbs in Spanish. It has a few quirky conjugations - like most of the important verbs. Words conjugated the same way are: abstener, contener, detener, entretener, mantener, obtener, retener, sostener. Tener has so many different uses. It is used to:
  • indicate possession, ownership
  • construct many idiomatic expressions
  • show obligation (I need to ... I must... = tener que)
  • express how old you are... ( more below ...)
Visual Memory Triggers help you remember new words. Just think of the pic! 
           to have, hold: tener
Simple Tenses - Spanish Verb tener
él, ella, usted
ellos, ellas, ustedes

have, hold
tengo tienes tiene tenemos tenéis tienen

had, held
tenía tenías tenía teníamos teníais tenían

had, held
tuve tuviste tuvo tuvimos tuvisteis tuvieron

will have, hold
tendré tendrás tendrá tendremos tendréis tendrán

would have, hold
tendría tendrías tendría tendríamos tendríais tendrían

may have, hold
tenga tengas tenga tengamos tengáis tengan
Imperfect Subjunctive
Imperfecto de Subjuntivo

may have, hold
tuviera tuvieras tuviera tuvieramos tuvieráis tuvieran
tuviese tuvieses tuviese tuviésemos tuvieséis tuviesen
Imperatives   Spanish Verb tener

have! hold!
ten! tenga! tengamos! tened! tengan!
Negative Imperative
Imperativo Negativo

don't have, hold!
no tengas! no tenga! no tengamos! no tengáis! no tengan!
Compound Tenses of the Spanish Verb tener  Past Participle: tenido
Present Perfect
Perfecto de Indicativo

have had, held
he tenido has tenido ha tenido hemos tenido habéis tenido han tenido
Preterit Perfect
Pretérito Anterior

had had, held
hube tenido hubiste tenido hubo tenido hubimos tenido hubisteis tenido hubieron tenido
Past Perfect

had had, held
había tenido habías tenido había tenido habíamos tenido habíais tenido habían tenido
Present Perfect Subjunctive
Presente perfecto

have had, held
haya tenido hayas tenido haya tenido hayamos tenido hayáis tenido hayan tenido
Future Perfect
Futuro Perfecto

will have had, held
habré tenido habrás tenido habrá tenido habremos tenido habréis tenido habrán tenido
Conditional Perfect
Condicional Perfecto

would have had, held
habría tenido habrías tenido habría tenido habríamos tenido habríais tenido habrían tenido

may have had, held
hubiera tenido hubieras tenido hubiera tenido hubiéramos tenido hubierais tenido hubieran tenido
hubiese tenido hubieses tenido hubiese tenido hubiésemos tenido hubieseis tenido hubiesen tenido
Progressive Tenses tener  Present Participle: teniendo
Present Progressive
Presente Progressivo

am having, holding
estoy teniendo estás teniendo está teniendo estamos teniendo está teniendo están teniendo
Preterit Progressive

was having, holding
estuve teniendo estuviste teniendo estuvo teniendo estuvimos teniendo estuvisteis teniendo estuvieron teniendo
Imperfect Progressive

had been holding
estaba teniendo estabas teniendo estaba teniendo estábamos teniendo estabais teniendo estaban teniendo
Future Progressive
Futuro Perfecto

will be holding
estaré teniendo estarás teniendo estará teniendo estaremos teniendo estaréis teniendo estarán teniendo
Conditional Progressive
Condicional perfecto

would have been holding
estaría teniendo estarías teniendo estabría teniendo estaríamos teniendo estaríais teniendo estarían teniendo
Subjunctive Progressive

may have been holding
que ~ teniendo que ~ teniendo que ~ teniendo que ~ teniendo que ~ teniendo que ~ teniendo
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 MORE on the SPANISH VERB tener 

        MORE on the SPANISH VERB tener      

Spanish verb tener Aquí tiene!: Here you are! (giving something to someone)
Tenemos carne. : We have meat.
Tienes mucho de tu madre.: You look like your mother.

Spanish for have =tener ¿Cuantos años tienes?  How old are you?
Tengo treinta años. : I am thirty (years old) - lit. I have 30 years.
Tengo hambre. : I am hungry - literally, I have hunger.

Spanish for have =tener Tener que : To have to; must
Tengo que ir / trabajar! I must go/work!
Tiene cosas que hacer.: You (formal) have things to do.


  • The Spanish verb for have tener is an irregular IR verb, so you need to learn the conjugation.
  • Learn to conjugate tener and reinforce the pattern.
  • Do a series of other IR verbs every day for a month and you will have a solid knowledge of the IR verbs' conjugation patterns. Keep doing them with a new one every day from the Spanish Verbs List.
  • The same applies to the various patterns. Each month we feature a daily verb from one of the major pattern groups.
  • Repeating these tables aloud 10 times throughout the day will better embed the patterns into your subconscious, and your long term memory.
  • Reciting aloud is a great way for you to practice your pronunciation, and helps you to memorize the conjugations.

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