This is the second in a series of blogposts on how to write an A or A* Spanish controlled GCSE written assessment.
If you missed the first one, then click here.
In this blog post I will talk about using a key Spanish verb TENER (to have) idiomatically. Idiomatically is defined in the Collins English dictionary as “linguistic usage that is grammatical and natural to the native speakers of a language.” This is why idioms and idiomatic usage are marked highly by GCSE Spanish examiners.
Accordingly, it makes sense to have a good variety of TENER phrases in your written piece. But how can you do this? One of my maxims is to keep things simple, and with this in mind, I suggest that you introduce two or three TENER phrases into your work.
Here are some examples:-
Tengo … años (I am … years old). Notice in Spanish you are actually saying “I have..years”
Even better though, with additional complexity, try:-
Cuando tenga ….. años – this means “when I am …years old”. For the sharp eyed, you will see that “tengo” has changed to “tenga”. For the grammatically minded, “tenga” is a subjunctive. This grammatical feature is highly prized by the GCSE examiners. Use it! It is easy to get into a flowing and well crafted piece.
Tener has lots of idiomatic usages.
Why not work these into your assessment?
tengo hambre – I am hungry
tengo sed – I am thirsty.
tengo razón – I am right
tengo suerte – I am lucky
A real favourite of examiners is a phrase like “si yo tuviera suerte…” meaning “if I was lucky”. Use it in your assessment. See the glint in the examiners’ eyes!
So – use the verb TENER idiomatically in your Spanish controlled written assessments – it’s one of the keys in getting an A or A*.
Steven French Languages is based in Harpenden, Hertfordshire and specialises in GCSE and A level tuition in both French and Spanish.