An In-Depth Look at the 'Tener' Conjugation Chart in Spanish

May 19th, 2023 - Vera

The Spanish verb ‘tener’ translates to ‘to have’ in English and is one of the most commonly used verbs in the Spanish language. However, ‘tener’ is an irregular verb, making its conjugation a bit more challenging to learn. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the conjugation of ‘tener’ across various tenses and moods, enhancing your understanding and proficiency in Spanish.

Tener in the Present Tense

In the present tense, ‘tener’ is an ‘e’ to ‘ie’ stem-changing verb. The conjugation is as follows:

Person Spanish
I have Yo tengo
You (informal) have Tú tienes
He/She/It has/You (formal) have Él/Ella/Usted tiene
We have Nosotros/Nosotras tenemos
You (plural, informal) have Vosotros/Vosotras tenéis
They have/You (plural, formal) have Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes tienen

Tener in the Preterite Tense

The preterite tense of ‘tener’ has an irregular conjugation pattern:

Person Spanish
I had Yo tuve
You (informal) had Tú tuviste
He/She/It had/You (formal) had Él/Ella/Usted tuvo
We had Nosotros/Nosotras tuvimos
You (plural, informal) had Vosotros/Vosotras tuvisteis
They had/You (plural, formal) had Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes tuvieron

Tener in the Imperfect Tense

In the imperfect tense, ‘tener’ reverts to its regular ‘-er’ conjugation pattern:

Person Spanish
I had Yo tenía
You (informal) had Tú tenías
He/She/It had/You (formal) had Él/Ella/Usted tenía
We had Nosotros/Nosotras teníamos
You (plural, informal) had Vosotros/Vosotras teníais
They had/You (plural, formal) had Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes tenían

Tener in the Future Tense

In the future tense, ‘tener’ has an irregular root (tendr-). Here’s the conjugation:

Person Spanish
I will have Yo tendré
You (informal) will have Tú tendrás
He/She/It will have/You (formal) will have Él/Ella/Usted tendrá
We will have Nosotros/Nosotras tendremos
You (plural, informal) will have Vosotros/Vosotras tendréis
They will have/You (plural, formal) will have Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes tendrán

Tener in the Conditional Tense

‘Tener’ keeps its irregular root (tendr-) in the conditional tense:

Person Spanish
I would have Yo tendría
You (informal) would have Tú tendrías
He/She/It would have/You (formal) would have Él/Ella/Usted tendría
We would have  
Nosotros/Nosotras tendríamos  
You (plural, informal) would have Vosotros/Vosotras tendríais
They would have/You (plural, formal) would have Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes tendrían

Tener in the Subjunctive Mood

The present subjunctive mood of ‘tener’ is a ‘e’ to ‘ie’ stem-changing verb:

Person Spanish
I have Yo tenga
You (informal) have Tú tengas
He/She/It has/You (formal) have Él/Ella/Usted tenga
We have Nosotros/Nosotras tengamos
You (plural, informal) have Vosotros/Vosotras tengáis
They have/You (plural, formal) have Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes tengan

Common Phrases with Tener

  1. Tengo hambre: I am hungry. (Literally: I have hunger.)
  2. Ella tiene veinte años: She is twenty years old. (Literally: She has twenty years.)
  3. Tenemos que irnos: We have to go.

In conclusion, mastering the conjugation of ‘tener’ is a crucial aspect of Spanish language learning due to its frequency of use. Despite its irregularities, with constant practice, you’ll soon find the patterns of this verb easier to remember. Happy learning!

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