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How To Say "To Have" In Spanish

Are you learning Spanish and struggling to understand how to express the concept of "to have" in this language? In this article, we will explore how to say "to have" in Spanish, its meaning, and any regional differences you should be aware of.

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What is "To Have" in Spanish?

The verb "to have" in Spanish is "tener" (IPA: /teˈner/). This is a common verb that is used in many different contexts, such as possession, relationships, physical and emotional states, and more.

Meaning of "To Have" in Spanish

As mentioned earlier, "tener" can be used in many different ways. Here are some examples of how "to have" can be expressed in Spanish:

  • Possession: Yo tengo una casa. (I have a house.)
  • Relationships: Tú tienes muchos amigos. (You have many friends.)
  • Physical state: Él tiene hambre. (He is hungry.)
  • Emotional state: Nosotros tenemos miedo. (We are scared.)

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Regional Differences

While "tener" is commonly used throughout the Spanish-speaking world to express "to have", there may be some regional variations in how this verb is used. For example:

  • In some parts of Latin America, the verb haber (IPA: /aˈber/) is used in place of "tener" in certain contexts. This is known as the "habeo" construction and is used to express possession or ownership. For example: Había muchos libros en la biblioteca. (There were many books in the library.)
  • In Spain, the verb "tener" is often used in conjunction with the preposition "que" to express obligation or necessity. For example: Tengo que estudiar para el examen. (I have to study for the exam.)

Related Words and Phrases

Here are some additional Spanish words and phrases you may come across when talking about "to have", along with their English translations:

  • Poseer (IPA: /po.ˈ To possess or own
  • Tener ganas de (IPA: /te.ˈner ˈɡa.nas de/): To feel like or have a desire to
  • Tener prisa (IPA: /te.ˈner ˈpɾ To be in a hurry
  • Tener cuidado (IPA: /te.ˈner kwi.ˈda.ðo/): To be careful
  • Tener en cuenta (IPA: /te.ˈner en ˈkwen.ta/): To take into account or consider

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How to Say "To Have" in Spanish: Sample Sentences

Here are five sample sentences you can use to say "to have" in Spanish:

  • Tengo un gato en casa.

(I have a cat at home.)

  • ¿Tienes un lápiz que yo pueda usar?

(Do you have a pencil I can use?)

  • Él tiene mucha experiencia en su trabajo.

(He has a lot of experience in his job.)

  • No tengo suficiente dinero para comprar ese coche.

(I don't have enough money to buy that car.)

  • Tengo una sorpresa para ti.

(I have a surprise for you.)


In conclusion, "tener" is the most commonly used verb for "to have" in Spanish, but it is important to be aware of any regional differences when communicating about possession in different Spanish-speaking countries. Knowing these variations can help you better understand and connect with Spanish-speaking individuals in different parts of the world.

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