Tener Conjugation Chart & Full Tense Guide

“Tener” means “to have” and is used in a number of everyday common expressions, as well as idiomatic expressions.

As an irregular verb, conjugating “tener” poses some challenges for learners, yet it’s indispensable for expressing possession, obligation, and so much more.

I’m James, from Learn Spanish With James, and in this comprehensive guide, you’ll find “tener” conjugation charts for each tense, with examples across the indicative, subjunctive, and imperative moods.

Don’t worry if that sounds confusing. The main thing is that by the end of this guide, you will know how to conjugate ”tener” in Spanish and use it in everyday conversations with ease and confidence.

You’ll also know how to use “tener” with the auxiliary verb “haber”.

Exciting, right? Let’s get into it. 

Present Tense

he/she/it/you (formal)él, ella, ustedtiene
wenosotros, nosotrastenemos
you (plural)vosotros, vosotrastenéis
they, you (pl. formal)ellos, ellas, ustedestienen

When We Use The Present Tense

The present tense in Spanish for the verb “tener” in the indicative mood is used to express possession, relationships, age, or states of being in the present moment.

For instance, the tener conjugation for the first person singular “yo tengo” means “I have” as in “(yo) tengo un libro” (I have a book). This indicates a current possession.

“Tener” is also used in Spanish to indicate a current state, such as ”tener hambre” (to be hungry), ”tener sed” (to be thirsty), tener sueño (to feel sleepy), ”tener miedo” (to feel scared), and ”tener frío/tener calor” (to feel cold/ hot).

In Spanish, ”tener” is also used to express age. You would say “yo tengo veinte años” to express that you are 20 years old. The literal translation is “I have 20 years.” You never use the verb “to be” in Spanish when expressing age. 

Examples of the Spanish Verb “Tener” in the Present Tense

  1. Yo tengo dieciocho años. (I am eighteen years old.)
  2. Tú tienes hambre?. (Are you hungry?)
  3. Él tiene un coche nuevo. (He has a new car.)
  4. Ella tiene un perro adorable. (She has an adorable dog.)
  5. Nosotros tenemos una casa en la playa. (We have a house at the beach.)
  6. Vosotros tenéis una gran oportunidad. (You all have a great opportunity.)
  7. Ellos/ellas tienen muchas responsabilidades. (They have many responsibilities.)
  8. Ustedes tienen un buen sentido del humor. (You all have a good sense of humor.)

Preterite Tense 

he, she. it, you (formal)él, ella, ustedtuvo
wenosotros, nosotrastuvimos
you (plural)vosotros, vosotrastuvisteis
they, you (pl. formal)ellos, ellas, ustedestuvieron

When We Use The Preterite Tense Conjugation

This past tense in Spanish is used to refer to specific past actions or events that were completed.

For example, the preterite tense conjugation of “tener” in the first person – “tuve,” means “I had” in a specific instance, such as “Yo tuve un accidente” (I had an accident).

It’s used to express actions that happened at a definite point in the past and are not ongoing or habitual.

Making sense? I have provided some examples below to help you. Try to take note of any new vocabulary too.

Examples of the Spanish Verb “Tener” in the Preterite Tense

  1. Yo tuve una idea. (I had an idea.)
  2. Tú tuviste un sueño emocionante anoche. (You had an exciting dream last night.)
  3. Él tuvo una entrevista de trabajo importante. (He had an important job interview.)
  4. Ella tuvo un día lleno de reuniones. (She had a day full of meetings.)
  5. Nosotros tuvimos una cena deliciosa en el restaurante. (We had a delicious dinner at the restaurant.)
  6. Vosotros tuvisteis una experiencia inolvidable en el viaje. (You all had an unforgettable experience on the trip.)
  7. Ellos/ellas tuvieron un viaje increíble por Europa. (They had an amazing trip across Europe.)
  8. Ustedes tuvieron éxito en el examen. (You were successful in the exam.)

Imperfect Tense

he, she, it, you (formal)él, ella, usted tenía
wenosotros, nosotrasteníamos
you (plural)vosotros, vosotrasteníais
they, you(pl. formal)ellos, ellas, ustedestenían

When We Use The Imperfect Tense

The imperfect tense in Spanish is used for regular and repeated actions.

With “tener” it is usually used for describing ongoing or habitual states of possession, age, or conditions in the past.

Furthermore, it denotes possession or ownership over a period without emphasizing a specific endpoint.

For instance, “Yo tenía” means “I had” or “I used to have,” indicating possession or age over a continuous period in the past, such as “cuando era niño, tenía muchos juguetes” (when I was a child, I had many toys).

Understanding the differences between the preterite tense and the imperfect tense can be tricky for English speakers learning Spanish. I’ve provided some examples of “tener” in the imperfect tense below.

For some translations, I have used “had” and for others I have used “used to have”. Both are correct, which is what makes learning the difference between these past tenses a little confusing.

Try to compare these examples with the preterite tense examples above.

Examples of How to Conjugate “Tener” in the Imperfect Tense

  1. Yo tenía muchos juguetes cuando era niño. (I had many toys when I was a child.)
  2. Tú tenías mucho dinero. (You used to have a lot of money.)
  3. Él tenía un perro fiel como mascota. (He used to have a loyal dog as a pet.)
  4. Ella tenía una voz hermosa para cantar. (She had a beautiful singing voice.)
  5. Nosotros teníamos una casa pequeña en el campo. (We used to have a small house in the countryside.)
  6. Vosotros teníais muchas responsabilidades durante la universidad. (You all had many responsibilities during college.)
  7. Ellos/ellas tenían una amistad sólida desde la infancia. (They had a strong friendship since childhood.)
  8. Ustedes tenían sueños y metas por cumplir. (You all had dreams and goals to fulfil.)

Future Tense 

he,she,it, you(formal)él,ella,ustedtendrá
you pl.vosotros, vosotrastendréis
they, you pl. (formal)ellos,ellas,ustedestendrán

When We Use The Future Tense

The future tense in Spanish is used to express actions or events that will happen or be completed at a later time.

This is “will” in English. For example, in the context of the verb “tener”, “tendré” means “I will have,” indicating possession or obligation in the future.

An example would be “mañana tendré que comer más fruta” (tomorrow I will have to eat more fruit).

You can use “tener” in the future tense to discuss upcoming plans, intentions, or predictions regarding possession, obligation, or conditions.

Making sense? Again, I have written some examples below. 

Examples of the Future Tense

  1. Yo tendré mi propio negocio. (I will have my own business.)
  2. Tú tendrás mucho éxito en tu carrera como escritor. (You will have a lot of success in your career as a writer.)
  3. Él tendrá un papel importante en el desarrollo del proyecto. (He will have an important role in the project’s development.)
  4. Ella tendrá la oportunidad de viajar por el mundo. (She will have the opportunity to travel the world.)
  5. Nosotros tendremos una familia feliz y unida. (We will have a happy and united family.)
  6. Vosotros tendréis la oportunidad de estudiar en el extranjero. (You all will have the opportunity to study abroad.)
  7. Ellos/ellas tendrán una casa grande con un jardín hermoso. (They will have a big house with a beautiful garden.)
  8. Ustedes tendrán el control total sobre el proyecto. (You will have total control over the project.)

Conditional Tense

he,she,it, you(formal)él,ella,ustedtendría
you pl.vosotros, vosotrastendríais
they, you pl. (formal)ellos,ellas,ustedestendrían

When We Use The Conditional Tense

The conditional tense in Spanish is another type of future tense. In English, we say “would”. Hence, it’s called the conditional tense, as “would” indicates that you would do something on the condition that something else happens too.

The conditional tense in Spanish is used to express actions or events that would happen or be completed under certain conditions.

For example, “tendría” means “I would have,” indicating hypothetical possession or obligation, such as “si tuviera más dinero, tendría un coche nuevo” (if I had more money, I would have a new car).

It’s also used to discuss potential outcomes or consequences based on hypothetical situations, desires, or uncertainties.

This all sounds a bit more complex than it actually is. Just study the examples, then the verb table, and all should make sense. 

Examples of the Conditional Tense

  1. Yo tendría más tiempo libre si trabajara desde casa. (I would have more free time if I worked from home.)
  2. Tú tendrías éxito si te esforzaras más en tus estudios. (You would have success if you put more effort into your studies.)
  3. Él tendría más amigos si fuera más sociable. (He would have more friends if he were more sociable.)
  4. Ella tendría más confianza si practicara hablar inglés (She would have more confidence if she practiced speaking English.)
  5. Nosotros tendríamos más diversión si nos fuéramos de vacaciones juntos. (We would have more fun if we went on vacation together.)
  6. Vosotros tendríais más oportunidades si aprendierais un nuevo idioma. (You all would have more opportunities if you learned a new language.)
  7. Ellos/ellas tendrían más éxito en su relación si se comunicaran mejor. (They would have more success in their relationship if they communicated better.)
  8. Ustedes tendrían más comodidades si se mudaran a una casa más grande. (You would have more comforts if you moved to a bigger house.)

Perfect Tense

PronounsPronombresAuxiliary verb ‘haber’
he,she,it, you(formal)él,ella,ustedhatenido
you pl.vosotros, vosotrashabéistenido
they, you pl. (formal)ellos,ellas,ustedeshantenido

When We Use The Perfect Tense

The preterite perfect tense in Spanish is used to express actions or events that have been completed just before another past action or at a specific point in the past.

I love this tense, because it’s very easy to learn. In order to form this tense, we take the hand of another Spanish verb – “haber” – the conjugation for which you will see in the table below.

Here’s an example – “he tenido” means “I have had,” indicating recent possession or experience, such as “ya he tenido suficiente” (I have had enough).

This tense is used to denote actions or states that occurred immediately before or leading up to another past event. 

Examples of the Perfect 

  1. Yo he tenido éxito en mi carrera. (I have had success in my career.)
  2. Tú has tenido muchas experiencias emocionantes. (You have had many exciting experiences.)
  3. Él/ella ha tenido un buen desempeño en su trabajo. (He/She has had a good performance at work.)
  4. Nosotros hemos tenido problemas de comunicación. (We have had communication problems.)
  5. Vosotros habéis tenido éxitos anteriores. (You all have had previous successes.)
  6. Ellos/ellas han tenido conflictos internos. (They have had internal conflicts.)

Pluperfect Tense

PronounsPronombresAuxiliary verb ‘haber’
he,she,it, you(formal)él,ella,ustedhabíatenido
you pl.vosotros, vosotrashabíaistenido
they, you pl. (formal)ellos,ellas,ustedeshabíantenido

When We Use The Pluperfect Tense

The pluperfect tense in Spanish for the verb “tener” is used to express actions or events that had occurred before another past action or point in time.

For instance, “había tenido” means “I had had,” indicating possession or experience that occurred prior to a past event, such as “cuando llegué a casa, ya había tenido la cena” (when I arrived home, I had already had dinner).

It’s used to provide context or background for past events, emphasizing actions or states that were completed before another specified past moment.

Examples of the Pluperfect 

  1. Yo había tenido experiencia en liderazgo antes de ese proyecto. (I had had leadership experience before that project.)
  2. Tú habías tenido una relación cercana con tu abuela antes de su fallecimiento. (You had had a close relationship with your grandmother before her passing.)
  3. Él/ella había tenido éxito en su carrera antes de tomar un descanso. (He had had success in his career before taking a break.)
  4. Nosotros habíamos tenido discusiones sobre el tema antes de llegar a un acuerdo. (We had had discussions about the topic before reaching an agreement.)
  5. Vosotros habíais tenido la oportunidad de viajar por Europa antes de la pandemia. (You all had had the opportunity to travel through Europe before the pandemic.)
  6. Ellos/ellas habían tenido planes de matrimonio antes de su separación. (They had had marriage plans before their separation.)
  7. Ustedes habían tenido un buen desempeño en el proyecto antes de los contratiempos. (You had a good performance in the project before the setbacks.)

Future Perfect Tense

PronounsPronombresAuxiliary verb ‘haber’
he,she,it, you(formal)él,ella,ustedhabrátenido
you pl.vosotros, vosotrashabréistenido
they, you pl. (formal)ellos,ellas,ustedeshabrántenido

When We Use The Future Perfect Tense

The future perfect tense in Spanish for the verb “tener” is used to express actions or events that will have been completed by a certain future time.

For example, “habré tenido” means “I will have had,” indicating possession or experience completed before a future point, such as “para el próximo año, habré tenido suficiente experiencia laboral” (by next year, I will have had enough work experience).

Examples of the “Tener” Conjugations in the Future Perfect

  1. Yo habré tenido esta casa por veinte años al finalizar este año. (I will have had this house for twenty years by the end of this year.)
  2. Tú habrás tenido este trabajo por una década cuando te jubiles. (You will have had this job for a decade when you retire.)
  3. Él/ella habrá tenido esta posición por dos términos al dejar el cargo. (He will have had this position for two terms when he leaves office.)
  4. Nosotros habremos tenido esta tradición por cincuenta años el año que viene. (We will have had this tradition for fifty years next year.)
  5. Vosotros habréis tenido esta amistad por quince años en septiembre. (You all will have had this friendship for fifteen years in September.)
  6. Ellos/ellas habrán tenido este récord como los campeones reinantes por tres años consecutivos si ganan hoy. (They will have had this record as the reigning champions for three consecutive years if they win today.)
  7. Ustedes habrán tenido este hogar en esta ciudad por más de veinte años al final de este mes. (You will have had this home in this city for more than twenty years by the end of this month.)

Conditional Perfect Tense

PronounsPronombresAuxiliary verb ‘haber’
he,she,it, you(formal)él,ella,ustedhabríatenido
you pl.vosotros, vosotrashabríaistenido
they, you pl. (formal)ellos,ellas,ustedeshabríantenido

When We Use The Conditional Perfect Tense

The conditional perfect tense in Spanish is used to express actions or events that would have been completed under certain conditions in the past.

For example, “habría tenido” means “I would have had,” indicating hypothetical possession, such as “si hubiera estudiado más, habría tenido mejores notas” (if I had studied more, I would have had better grades).

Examples of the Conditional Perfect

  1. Yo habría tenido más éxito si hubiera trabajado más duro. (I would have had more success if I had worked harder.)
  2. Tú habrías tenido más tiempo libre si hubieras organizado mejor tu agenda. (You would have had more free time if you had organized your schedule better.)
  3. Él habría tenido más experiencia si hubiera realizado prácticas durante la universidad. (He would have had more experience if he had done internships during college.)
  4. Ella habría tenido más oportunidades si hubiera estudiado en el extranjero. (She would have had more opportunities if she had studied abroad.)
  5. Nosotros habríamos tenido más dinero si hubiéramos ahorrado en lugar de gastar. (We would have had more money if we had saved instead of spending.)
  6. Vosotros habríais tenido más reconocimiento si hubierais participado en el concurso. (You all would have had more recognition if you had participated in the contest.)
  7. Ellos habrían tenido más diversión si hubieran ido al concierto. (They would have had more fun if they had gone to the concert.)
  8. Ustedes habrían tenido más éxito si hubieran seguido el consejo del entrenador. (You would have had more success if you had followed the coach’s advice.)

Present Subjunctive

he,she,it, you(formal)él,ella,ustedtenga
you pl.vosotros, vosotrastengáis
they, you pl. (formal)ellos,ellas,ustedestengan

When We Use The Present Subjunctive

The present subjunctive tense in Spanish is used primarily in subordinate clauses following certain expressions or verbs that convey doubt, desire, necessity, or influence.

For example, “quiero que tengas” (I want you to have) or “es importante que tenga” (it’s important that he/she has).

It’s also used in hypothetical or uncertain situations, such as “espero que tengamos” (I hope we have).

Examples of the Present Subjunctive

  1. Es importante que yo tenga paciencia. (It’s important that I have patience.)
  2. Quiero que tú tengas éxito en tus estudios. (I want you to have success in your studies.)
  3. Es necesario que él tenga confianza en sí mismo. (It’s necessary that he has confidence in himself.)
  4. Espero que ella tenga una buena salud. (I hope that she has good health.)
  5. Deseamos que nosotros tengamos oportunidades de crecimiento. (We wish that we have opportunities for growth.)
  6. Prefiero que vosotros tengáis iniciativa en el proyecto. (I prefer that you all have initiative in the project.)
  7. Es bueno que ellos tengan una actitud positiva. (It’s good that they have a positive attitude.)
  8. Quiero que ustedes tengan éxito en sus emprendimientos. (I want you to have success in your ventures.)

Imperfect Subjunctive

Iyotuviera, tuviese
youtuvieras, tuvieses
he,she,it, you(formal)él,ella,ustedtuviera, tuviese
wenosotros,nosotrastuviéramos, tuviésemos
you pl.vosotros, vosotrastuvierais, tuvieseis
they, you pl. (formal)ellos,ellas,ustedestuvieran, tuviesen

When We Use The Imperfect Subjunctive

The imperfect subjunctive tense in Spanish is used primarily in dependent clauses following certain triggers such as wishes, desires, doubts, or hypothetical situations in the past.

For example, “Si yo tuviera más tiempo, viajaría más” (If I had more time, I would travel more).

It expresses a hypothetical or uncertain action or state in the past, often paired with conditional or subjunctive clauses to indicate a condition or consequence.

Examples of the Imperfect Subjunctive

  1. Quería que yo tuviera más paciencia. (I wish I had more patience.)
  2. Te sugerí que tú tuvieras el liderazgo del grupo. (I suggested you have the leadership of the group.)
  3. Era importante que él tuviera puntualidad. (It was important for us to show punctuality.)
  4. Deseaba que ella tuviera amistad conmigo. (I wish she were friends with me.)
  5. Pedíamos que nosotros tuviéramos un trato justo. (We asked for fair treatment.)
  6. Preferías que vosotros tuvierais inclusión en la lista. (You preferred that you all have inclusion on the list.)
  7. Querían que ellos tuvieran felicidad. (They wanted them to have happiness.)
  8. Era necesario que ustedes tuvieran más comprensión. (It was necessary that you all have more understanding.)

Preterite Perfect Subjunctive

PronounsPronombresAuxiliary verb ‘haber’
he,she,it, you(formal)él,ella,ustedhubiera,hubiesetenido
you pl.vosotros, vosotrashubierais,hubieseistenido
they, you pl. (formal)ellos,ellas,ustedeshubieran,hubiesentenido

When We Use The Preterite Perfect Subjunctive

The preterite perfect subjunctive tense is used in dependent clauses to express an action that hypothetically occurred before another past action or event.

It often accompanies conditional clauses to convey past unreal conditions.

I’ve provided some examples below so you can see what this looks like in practice.

Examples of the Preterite Perfect Subjunctive

  1. Quería que yo hubiese tenido más paciencia. (I wished I had had more patience.)
  2. Te sugerí que tú hubieses tenido el liderazgo del grupo. (I suggested you had had the leadership of the group.)
  3. Era importante que él hubiese tenido puntualidad. (It was important that he had had punctuality.)
  4. Deseaba que ella hubiese tenido amistad conmigo. (I wished she had had friendship with me.)
  5. Pedíamos que nosotros hubiésemos tenido un trato justo. (We asked that we had had fair treatment.)
  6. Preferías que vosotros hubieseis tenido inclusión en la lista. (You preferred that you all had had inclusion on the list.)
  7. Querían que ellos hubiesen tenido felicidad. (They wanted them to have had happiness.)
  8. Era necesario que ustedes hubiesen tenido más comprensión. (It was necessary that you all had had more understanding.)

Affirmative Imperative 

he,she,it, you(formal)él,ella,usted¡tenga!
you pl.vosotros, vosotras¡tened!
they, you pl. (formal)ellos,ellas,ustedes¡tengan!

When We Use The Affirmative Imperative

The affirmative imperative is used to command or request possession or acquisition of something.

For example, “Ten paciencia” (Have patience).

It directs someone to possess or acquire a certain quality, object, or state.

This form of the “tener” imperative is used mainly in the following three contexts: giving instructions, offering advice, or making requests.

Examples of Tener in the Affirmative Imperative

  1. Ten cuidado. (Be careful.)
  2. Ten confianza en ti mismo. (Have confidence in yourself.)
  3. Ten fe en tus capacidades. (Have faith in your abilities.)

Negative Imperative

you¡no tengas!
he,she,it, you(formal)él,ella,usted¡no tenga!
wenosotros,nosotras¡no tengamos!
you pl.vosotros, vosotras¡no tengáis!
they, you pl. (formal)ellos,ellas,ustedes¡no tengan!

When We Use The Negative Imperative

The negative imperative mood is used to prohibit or advise against possessing or acquiring something.

For instance, “No tengas miedo” (Don’t be afraid). It instructs someone to refrain from having or experiencing a particular state or emotion.

Examples of Tener in the Negative Imperative

  1. No tengas miedo. (Don’t be afraid.)
  2. No tengas celos. (Don’t be jealous.)
  3. No tengan prisa. (Don’t be in a hurry.) – for ustedes

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About James – Or Should that be Santiago?

My name is James. I am a Brit with a love for the Spanish language. I have lived in Spain, Argentina, and Costa Rica, and I have been teaching Spanish for over a decade. This site will show you how to master the elements of Spanish grammar that often dishearten learners. I hope you enjoy the site and find it useful.

If you are interested in taking your Spanish to the next level, check out the Courses section for a full list of the Spanish courses I suggest. All reviews are based on my personal opinions.