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TENER is the eighteenth most common word in the Spanish Language and it deserves our attention.

But this is a very special verb, to use its correct grammatical name. It is a verb and, moreover, it is one of those troublesome verbs, or attractive verbs (it depends on your point of view) which is irregular. No, dear Spanish learners, it does not follow the regular -er pattern. Its irregularity comes from its high octane lifestyle being used so frequently, and has therefore it has really got bashed about over the years.

And, standing above all of this grammatical banter, is the magic of its range of meanings.

Oh, by the way, such was my excitement reaching TENER in the top one hundred words in Spanish podcast odyssey, that I forgot to tell you the meaning. It simple terms TENER means “to have”. But, for the English speaker, it has a large range of meanings. Indeed, my dictionary has some eighteen or nineteen meanings and nuances of meaning.

To keep it simple, however, I am just going for two key meanings.

Here are two simple, key uses of TENER with the translations.

Tengo dos hermanos – I have two brothers

Tengo veintisiete años – I am 27 years old. (Literally I have 27 years old.)

So there it is – TENER is the 19th most frequently used word in the Spanish language. A two syllable battle hardened stalwart which is a “must-learn”.