Beginner Lessons



Ingles Practico

Learn Practical English for Spanish Speakers














Home / Beginner / 8. Verbs

8.6 PRESENT TENSE: To have and to have to – Tener, Haber and Deber

TENER – To have

Yo tengo- I have
Tú tienes – You have
Usted tiene – You have
Él/Ella tiene – He/She has
Nosotros/Nosotras tenemos – We have
Ustedes tienen – You have
Ellos/Ellas tienen – They have

Sound Click here to listen

Some examples of how to use the verb 'tener':

Yo tengo un carro nuevo – I have a new car
Tú tienes mucho tiempo – You have a lot of time
¿Usted tiene dolor de cabeza? – Do you have a headache?
Ella tiene las fotos – She has the photos.
Nosotros no tenemos dinero – We don’t have money
Ellos tienen flores – They have flowers

Sound Click here to listen

'Tener' is also used in some situations where in English we would use ‘to be’ not ‘to have’, for example:

Tengo veinte años – I am 20 years old (lit. I have 20 years)
¿Tienes frío? – Are you cold? (lit. You have cold?)
Ella tiene hambre – She is hungry (lit. She has hunger)
Tenemos sed – We are thirsty
Ellos tienen calor – They are hot
Ellas tienen razón – They are right (lit. They have reason)

Sound Click here to listen

‘Tener que’ means ‘to have to’.

Tengo que salir pronto – I have to leave soon
Tienes que firmar aquí – You have to sign here
Usted tiene que esperar – You have to wait
Ella tiene que trabajar todo el día – She has to work all day
Tenemos que comer – We have to eat
Ellos tienen que estar juntos – They have to be together

Sound Click here to listen

Note: The verb ‘haber’ is used mainly to change sentences to the past tense so we will cover the complete conjugation in the section on the past tense. The verb is however used in one form in the present tense as shown below. In this form, the verb ‘haber’ can be used similar to ‘tener’, indicating that it is necessary to do something, for example:

Hay que salir mañana – It is necessary to leave tomorrow
Hay que terminar esto ahora – This needs to be finished now

Sound Click here to listen

'Haber' is more commonly used to express ‘there is’ or ‘there are’. Following are some examples:

Hay mucha gente en el restaurante - There are a lot of people in the restaurant
¿Hay más libros allí? - Are there more books there?
No hay comida en la nevera – There is no food in the refrigerator

Sound Click here to listen


The verb ‘deber’ is also used to indicate when something must be done.

Yo debo – I must
Tú debes – You must
Usted debe – You must
Él/Ella debe – He/She must
Nosotros/nosotras debemos – We must
Ustedes deben – You must
Ellos/Ellas deben – They must

Sound Click here to listen

Some examples of how to use 'deber':

Debo tomar la medicina – I must take the medicine
Debes tomar un taxi – You must take a taxi
Ella debe llegar temprano – She must arrive early
Debemos comer más verduras – We must eat more vegetables
Ellos deben cambiarse de ropa – The must change clothes

Sound Click here to listen