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.

While you’ll find these four idiomatic expressions with tener helpful, the verb tener has many more uses you need to know. I reommend you also listen to my podcast, Tener, the meanings beyond the classroom.

Now let’s get to those idiomatic expressions.

1. Tener que ver

You can translate this as “something 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.

Ojála que les sirva!

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