2 Vote

Hola, I understand that "tener que" means "to have to", but I am not quite sure how it translates when conjugated in preterito and imperfecto. Por ejemplo:

Tuve que ir a la fiesta. Tenía que ir a la fiesta.

What is the difference between the 2 sentences? Mil gracias!

  • Posted Mar 1, 2010
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3 Answers

0 Vote

"Tuve" is past (or pretérito) and "Tenía" is a time called copretérito. The first one indicates that the action was taken and the second, "tenía", implies that the action perhaps has not been taken but it could be take place. For example:

Yo tuve que ir a la fiesta pero no lo hice. (The party is over.)

Yo tenía que ir a la fiesta, quizá más tarde vaya. (The party is not over.)

Es un asunto de gramática. Inclusive para los hispano-parlantes resulta algo confuso.


1 Vote

Maybe a native speaker can answer better, but it seems like

"Tuve que ir a la fiesta" means "I had to go to the party [that one particular time]."


"Tenía que ir a la fiesta" means "I had to go to the party [just in general in the past]."

  • I'm not a native speaker, but you're right on, Luciente. - CalvoViejo Mar 1, 2010 flag
0 Vote

¨Tuve¨means You had to go and You went to that place for certain reson. While ¨Tenía¨ means that You had to go to a place too but you didn´t.

More likely: Tuve : Something You had to do and did at the very last and maybe You weren´t in agreement. Tenía: Something You had to do and didn´t for some reason (You may have forgotten or weren´t able to)

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