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Tener Conjugation: The Infallible Guide to Conjugating Tener in Spanish

“Tener” conjugation in Spanish – "all we have is words" neon

In this lesson, you will learn all there is to know about conjugating tener. You’ll also learn how to use the verb phrase tener que in Spanish and will discover the different meanings of this Spanish verb. Ready? Let’s dive into it!

Tener in Spanish

Tener in English is either to have or to be. It is translated as to have when it means “to possess” in Spanish. For example, “Yo tengo una casa” is “I have a house” in English.

In the following expressionstener means to be:

tener calor to be hot
tener celos to be jealous
tener cuidado to be careful
tener frío to be cold
tener razón to be right
tener sed to be thirsty
tener hambre to be hungry
tener verguenza to be ashamed

How to Conjugate Tener in Spanish

Below you’ll find the proper conjugation of tener. We used the current verb conjugation reference of tener provided by the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE). Since they only include simple Spanish tenses in their reference because of space limitations, we have added the conjugations of both simple and compound Spanish tenses in this guide.

Spanish Verbals of Tener

Infinitive tener
Gerund teniendo
Participle tenido

Indicative Mood

I’ll give you a tip to help you always conjugate the tener preterite right! Do you already know the preterite of estar? Then, just eliminate the first two letters (es) from all the forms of the estar preterite. For example, “yo estuve” becomes “yo tuve”. That’s it! Now you have the correctly conjugated preterite of tener.

Tiempos Simples – Simple Tenses

Presente – Present Tense Conjugation
yo tengo I have
tú tienes
vos tenés
(South American)
you have
él/ella/usted tiene he/she has
you (formal) have
nosotros/nosotras tenemos we have
vosotros/vosotras tenéis
ustedes tienen
you (plural) have
ellos/ellas tienen they have
Pretérito Imperfecto – Imperfect Tense Conjugation
yo tenía I had
tú tenías
vos tenías
(South American)
you had
él/ella/usted tenía he/she/you (formal) had
nosotros/nosotras teníamos we had
vosotros/vosotras teníais
ustedes tenían
you (plural) had
ellos/ellas tenían they had
Pretérito Perfecto – Preterite Tense Conjugation
yo tuve I had
tú tuviste
vos tuviste
(South American)
you had
él/ella/usted tuvo he/she/you (formal) had
nosotros/nosotras tuvimos we had
vosotros/vosotras tuvisteis
ustedes tuvieron
you (plural) had
ellos/ellas tuvieron they had
Futuro – Future Tense Conjugation
yo tendré I will have
tú tendrás
vos tendrás
(South American)
you will have
él/ella/usted tendrá he/she/you (formal) will have
nosotros/nosotras tendremos we will have
vosotros/vosotras tendréis
ustedes tendrán
you (plural) will have
ellos/ellas tendrán they will have
Condicional – Conditional Tense Conjugation
yo tendría I would have
tú tendrías
vos tendrías
(South American)
you would have
él/ella/usted tendría he/she/you (formal) would have
nosotros/nosotras tendríamos we would have
vosotros/vosotras tendríais
ustedes tendrían
you (plural) would have
ellos/ellas tendrán they would have

Tiempos Compuestos – Compound Tenses

Pretérito Perfecto Compuesto – Preterite (Present) Perfect Tense Conjugation
yo he tenido I have had
tú has tenido
vos has tenido
(South American)
you have had
él/ella/usted ha tenido he/she has had
you (formal) have had
nosotros/nosotras hemos tenido we have had
vosotros/vosotras habéis tenido
ustedes han tenido
you (plural) have had
ellos/ellas han tenido they have had
Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto – Pluperfect Tense Conjugation
yo había tenido I had had
tú habías tenido
vos habías tenido
(South American)
you had had
él/ella/usted había tenido he/she/you (formal) had had
nosotros/nosotras habíamos tenido we had had
vosotros/vosotras habíais tenido
ustedes habían tenido
you (plural) had had
ellos/ellas habían tenido they had had
Pretérito Anterior – Preterite Perfect Tense Conjugation
yo hube tenido I had had
tú hubiste tenido
vos hubiste tenido
(South American)
you had had
él/ella/usted hubo tenido he/she/you (formal) had had
nosotros/nosotras hubimos tenido we had had
vosotros/vosotras hubisteis tenido
ustedes 
hubieron tenido
you (plural) had had
ellos/ellas habían tenido they had had
Futuro Compuesto – Future Perfect Tense Conjugation
yo habré tenido I will have had
tú habrás tenido
vos habrás tenido
(South American)
you will have had
él/ella/usted habrá tenido he/she/you (formal) will have had
nosotros/nosotras habremos tenido we will have had
vosotros/vosotras habréis tenido
ustedes habrán tenido
you (plural) will have had
ellos/ellas habrán tenido they will have had
Condicional Compuesto – Conditional Perfect Tense Conjugation
yo habría tenido I would have had
tú habrías tenido
vos habrías tenido 
(South American)
you would have had
él/ella/usted habría tenido he/she/you (formal) would have had
nosotros/nosotras habríamos tenido we would have had
vosotros/vosotras habríais tenido
ustedes habrían tenido
you (plural) would have had
ellos/ellas habrían tenido they would have had

Subjunctive Mood

Do you remember the tip I gave you about conjugating the tener preterite in the indicative mood? The same happens here! Eliminate the letters “es” from the estar preterite and you’ll get the preterite of tener. When conjugating in the subjunctive mood, “yo estuviera” becomes “yo tuviera”.

Tiempos Simples – Simple Tenses

Presente – Present Tense Conjugation
yo tenga I have
tú tengas
vos tengas
(South American)
you have
él/ella/usted tenga he/she has
you (formal) have
nosotros/nosotras tengamos we have
vosotros/vosotras tengáis
ustedes tengan
you (plural) have
ellos/ellas tengan they have
Pretérito Imperfecto – Imperfect Tense Conjugation
yo tuviera (or tuviese) I had
tú tuvieras (or tuvieses)
vos tuvieras (or tuvieses)
(South American)
you had
él/ella/usted tuviera (or tuviese) he/she/you (formal) had
nosotros/nosotras tuviéramos (or tuviésemos) we had
vosotros/vosotras tuvierais (or tuvieseis)
ustedes tuvieran (or tuviesen)
you (plural) had
ellos/ellas tuvieran (or tuviesen) they had
Futuro – Future Tense Conjugation
  • yo tuviere
  • tú tuvieres
  • vos tuvieres
  • él/ella/usted tuviere
  • nosotros/nosotras tuviéremos
  • vosotros/vosotras tuviereis
  • ustedes tuvieren
  • ellos/ellas tuvieren

(no direct English translation)

Tiempos Compuestos – Compound Tenses

Pretérito Perfecto Compuesto – Preterite (Present) Perfect Tense Conjugation
yo haya tenido I have had
tú hayas tenido
vos hayas tenido
(South American)
you have had
él/ella/usted haya tenido he/she has had
you (formal) have had
nosotros/nosotras hayamos tenido we have had
vosotros/vosotras hayáis tenido
ustedes hayan tenido
you (plural) have had
ellos/ellas hayan tenido they have had
Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto – Pluperfect Tense Conjugation
yo hubiera (or hubiese) tenido I had had
tú hubieras (or hubieses) tenido
vos hubieras (or hubieses) tenido
(South American)
you had had
él/ella/usted hubiera (or hubiese) tenido he/she/you (formal) had had
nosotros/nosotras hubiéramos (or hubiésemos) tenido we had had
vosotros/vosotras hubierais (or hubieseis) tenido
ustedes hubieran (or hubiesen) tenid
you (plural) had had
ellos/ellas hubieran (or hubiesen) tenido they had had
Futuro Compuesto – Future Perfect Tense Conjugation
  • yo hubiere tenido
  • tú hubieres tenido
  • vos hubieres tenido
  • él/ella/usted hubiere tenido
  • nosotros/nosotras hubiéremos tenido
  • vosotros/vosotras hubiereis tenido
  • ustedes hubieren tenido
  • ellos/ellas hubieren tenido

(no direct English translation)

Imperative Mood

Many people include all kinds of wrong verb forms in this category. However, the only accepted verb forms of the tener imperative are the following:

tú ten
vos tené 
(South American)
usted tenga (formal)
you have
vosotros/vosotras tened
ustedes tengan
you (plural) have

Tener Conjugation Practice

Do you what’s better than reading about the conjugation of tener? It’s acquiring it. If you acquire new vocabulary, you learn it subconsciously as a result of meaningful interaction with the target language.

Here’s a quick warm-up:

1. ¡Mis vecinos __________ un perro muy bonito!

  • tengo
  • tienes
  • tenemos
  • tienen

2. Ayer yo __________ una gripe muy fuerte.

  • tuve
  • tuviste
  • tuvimos
  • tuvieron

3. Nosotros __________ mucha sed.

  • tengo
  • tienes
  • tiene
  • tenemos

4. Tú __________ el pelo muy largo.

  • tengo
  • tienes
  • tiene
  • tienen

5. Ustedes __________ un carro muy rápido.

  • tengo
  • tienes
  • tenemos
  • tienen

Answers: 1. tienen; 2. tuve; 3. tenemos; 4. tienes; 5. tienen

Need more practice? Clozemaster will expose you to real Spanish and exercises that will require you to fill in missing information. Don’t worry if you make a mistake! It’s just proof that you are learning!

Common Questions About Tener

1. When is tener used in Spanish?

In Spanish, tener is used to indicate possession. For example, “yo tengo un carro” means “I have a car” in English. Tener is also used in many idiomatic expressions. One of them is “tener sed”, which means “to be thirsty”.

2. What is the meaning of tener que?

At times, tener is used with the Spanish preposition que and an infinitive (infinitives are verbs that end in “ar”, “er”, or “ir” in Spanish). The verb phrase “tener que” means “have to” in English, and it expresses obligation. For example, “tienes que hacerlo” means “you have to do it”.

3. Is tener a stem changing verb?

Yes! Tener is a stem changing verb. The stem of tener is ten. We get the stem of Spanish verbs by eliminating the endings “ar”, “er” or “ir”. At times, the stem ten changes to tien or tuv.


Learn More About Tener

Now you know all there is to know about the conjugation of tener. Don’t forget to read about the different uses of tener if you don’t know them yet!


Challenge yourself with Clozemaster

Test your conjugation skills and see what you’ve learned from this article by playing a selection of sentences with various forms and uses of the Spanish verb tener:

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