Conjugation of 'Tener'

Common Verb Is Highly Irregular

Zebra for lesson on conjugating 'tener'
La cebra tiene rayas. (The zebra has stripes.). Benh Lieu Song/Creative Commons.

The conjugation of tener, usually meaning "to have" in the sense of "to possess," is one of the most irregular in Spanish. Its stem changes, sometimes even when it isn't stressed, and its endings are also often irregular.

The only other verbs conjugated in the same pattern as tener are verbs derived from it such as detener, contener, abstener, obtener, sostener and mantener.

Irregularly conjugated forms are shown below in boldface.

Translations are given as a guide and in real life may vary with context.

Infinitive of Tener

tener (to have)

Gerund of Tener

teniendo (having)

Participle of Tener

tenido (had)

Present Indicative of Tener

yo tengo, tú tienes, usted/él/ella tiene, nosotros/as tenemos, vosotros/as tenéis, ustedes/ellos/ellas tienen (I have, you have, he has, etc.)

Preterite of Tener

yo tuve, tú tuviste, usted/él/ella tuvo, nosotros/as tuvimos, vosotros/as tuvisteis, ustedes/ellos/ellas tuvieron (I had, you had, she had, etc.)

Imperfect Indicative of Tener

yo tenía, tú tenías, usted/él/ella tenía, nosotros/as teníamos, vosotros/as teníais, ustedes/ellos/ellas tenían (I used to have, you used to have, he used to have, etc.)

Future Indicative of Tener

yo tendré, tú tendrás, usted/él/ella tendrá, nosotros/as tendremos, vosotros/as tendréis, ustedes/ellos/ellas tendrán (I will have, you will have, he will have, etc.)

Conditional of Tener

yo tendría, tú tendrías, usted/él/ella tendría, nosotros/as tendríamos, vosotros/as tendríais, ustedes/ellos/ellas tendrían (I would have, you would have, she would have, etc.)

Present Subjunctive of Tener

que yo tenga, que tú tengas, que usted/él/ella tenga, que nosotros/as tengamos, que vosotros/as tengáis, que ustedes/ellos/ellas tengan (that I have, that you have, that she have, etc.)

Imperfect Subjunctive of Tener

que yo tuviera (tuviese), que tú tuvieras (tuvieses), que usted/él/ella tuviera (tuviese), que nosotros/as tuviéramos (tuviésemos), que vosotros/as tuvierais (tuvieseis), que ustedes/ellos/ellas tuvieran (tuviesen) (that I had, that you had, that he had, etc.)

Imperative of Tener

ten tú, no tengas tú, tenga usted, tengamos nosotros/as, tened vosotros/as, no tengáis vosotros/as, tengan ustedes (have, don't have, have, let's have, etc.)

Compound Tenses of Tener

The perfect tenses are made by using the appropriate form of haber and the past participle, tenido. The progressive tenses use estar with the gerund, teniendo.

Sample Sentences Showing Conjugation of Tener and Related Verbs

Sabemos que vamos a tener muchas dificultades. (We know we are going to have many difficulties. Infinitive.)

Hemos retenido la puntuación y los errores de ortografía del texto en nuestra transcripción. (We have retained the punctuation and spelling mistakes of the text in our transcription. Present perfect.)

A veces me abstengo de tuitear mis experiencias con la ineptitud de mis amigos. (Sometimes I refrain from tweeting my experiences with the ineptitude of my friends. Present indicative.)

Estamos teniendo problemas técnicos. (We are having technical problems. Present progressive.)

Los padres tuvieron la libertad para elegir entre cualquier establecimiento educacional. (The parents had the freedom to choose any educational establishment. Preterite.)

Mi novia y yo teníamos una amistad especial.

(My girlfriend and I had a special friendship. Imperfect.)

Chile mantendrá el costo de visas para bolivianos. (Chile will keep its charge for visas for Bolivians. Future.)

En un mundo perfecto, todos los perros tendrían un hogar y todos los hogares tendrían un perro. (In a perfect world, all dogs would have a home and all homes would have a dog. Conditional.)

Más que nada, espero que ella tenga una buena vida. (More than anything, I hope she has a good life. Present subjunctive.)

No creo que tuviera muchos problemas para encontrar otra amigas. (I don't believe she had many problems in finding other friends. Imperfect subjunctive.)

Ten una bebida fría lista para mí. (Have a cold drink ready for me. Imperative.)

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Erichsen, Gerald. "Conjugation of 'Tener'." ThoughtCo, Mar. 2, 2017, thoughtco.com/conjugation-of-tener-3078330. Erichsen, Gerald. (2017, March 2). Conjugation of 'Tener'. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/conjugation-of-tener-3078330 Erichsen, Gerald. "Conjugation of 'Tener'." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/conjugation-of-tener-3078330 (accessed May 24, 2018).