4 Idiomatic Expressions With the Verb Tener

Today we’re going take a look the verb tener and some of it’s many uses.  As a beginner, this is a verb you need to get really familiar with, and some of it’s uses just might surprise you.

For those of you who aren’t very familiar with the verb tener, here’s a great video that teaches you how to conjugate it in the present tense and the basics of how to use it.  I highly recommend this video for beginners and those of you who need a refresher or a little extra practice.

If you can’t see the video below, here’s the link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJCk6y3fO9g

With the basics out of the way, now we can move on to some of the more fun and interesting uses of tener.

1. Tener que ver

You can translate this as “something to do with” , “nothing to do with” or “involved with”.  Let’s look at some examples:

Y eso, ¿qué tiene ver?

What does that have to do with it?

No tiene nada que ver

It has nothing has nothing to do with it

¿De qué se trata la llamada? Tiene que ver con la venda del negocio

What’s the call about?  It has to do with the sale of the business

Pedro no tiene nada que ver con el robo

Pedro is not involved with the robbery

¿Tienes que ver con esto?

Do you have anything to do with this?

2. Tener que

This one you definitely need to have under your belt, it’s very commonly used.  Whenever you see tener followed by que, it no longer means “to have”, but rather “to have to”.

Tengo que ir a la tienda

I have to go to the store

Tienes que lavarla la ropa

You have to wash the clothes

Tenemos que estudiar el español

We have to study Spanish

I’m doing this bills…

And this month there’s no way…

I’m going to have to sell my body

3. Tener ganas de

This is another expression you’ll hear often and find very useful.  It simply means to feel like doing something.

Tengo ganas de ir al cine

I feel like going to the movies

¿Tienes ganas de ir a pasear por el parque?

Do you feel like going for a walk in the park?

No tengo ganas de ir al trabajo

I don’t feel like going to work

4. No tener pelos en la lengua 

You may also hear this one as sin tener pelos en la lengua.  It means to speak in a very direct manner, to tell things exactly as they are.  Or as we often say in English, not to mince words.

A Jose me cae bien por decir las cosas como son, sin tener pelos en la lengua

I like Jose because he says things as the way they are, without mincing words

Mi esposo no tiene pelos en la lengua

My husband tells it how it is

And that’s it.  Or at least that’s all I’m going to talk about in this post.  

If you want to know more about the verb tener, listen to my podcast: Tener, The meanings beyond the classroom.

Did you like this lesson?

Subscribe to be notified when new
lessons are published.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *