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How to use the verbs “haber” and “tener” Posted by on May 3, 2012 in Spanish Grammar

The verbs haber and tener are used to express necessity or obligation.

Haber – We use hay que to express necessity and we can replace it with es necesario (it’s necessary).

Hay que estudiar mucho para aprender bien el español. [You need to study a lot to learn Spanish well.]
Hay que cambiar la ventana. [You have to change the window.]
No hay que decir todo lo que uno piensa. [You can’t say everything you think.]
Hay que girar ese botón hacia la derecha. [You need to spin this button towards the right.]

Tienes que estudiar mucho si quieres aprender bien el español. [You have to study a lot if you want to learn Spanish well.]
Tenemos que cambiar la ventana. [We need to change the window.]
No tengo que decir todo lo que pienso. [I don’t have to say everything I think.]
Tiene que girar ese botón hacia la derecha. [You have to spin this button towards the right.]

Tener and haber are used in the tiempos compuestos but they are slightly different. Tener + past participle is used to say that something is ready to be used. In the sentences with tener, the past participle varies according to the object (preparado, preparadas, etc.). Check out the following sentences:

He escrito el informe. [I have written the report.]
Tengo escrito el informe. [I have written the report – it’s here, it’s ready.]

Hemos preparado la comida. [We have made the food.]
Tenemos preparada la comida. [We have made the food – it’s here, it’s ready.]

Han arreglado el coche. [They have fixed the car.]
Tienen arreglado el coche. [They have fixed the car – it’s here, it’s ready.]

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About the Author: Adir

English / Spanish teacher and translator for over 20 years. I have been blogging since 2007 and I am also a professional singer in my spare time.


Comments:

  1. sigorta:

    naturally like your web site but you have to test the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling issues and I find it very bothersome to inform the reality then again I’ll surely come again again.

    • Adir:

      @sigorta Hello, Sigorta.

      Would you mind telling us some of the spelling mistakes? We always like to get things right. Thank you for your comment.

  2. Aufar:

    Can we say “haber” as a verb? I mean, can we say “he un coche” instead of “tengo un coche” and such? Muchas gracias…