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I understand when to use SER and ESTAR. But how would someone explain when to use TENER when it naturally translates as "to be" in English with certain feelings/conditions like "tener frio" "tener calor" "tener miedo" "tener sueno" "tener hambre" "tener sed". (If there's a thread like this already, I apologize. I couldn't find it)

  • Posted Feb 3, 2012
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Technically these can be considered idiomatic expressions because, even though, they literally say "to have" hunger, its meaning is "to be" hungry. The main difference is e.g. Tengo hambre is a verb+noun. I am hungry is a verb+adjective.

They are similar in construction to the Hacer+noun constructions for describing the weather. Hace frío, llueve, está nublado. Hace+noun or Estar+adjective.

Unfortunately, you will find no "rule" telling you when a idiomatic verb+noun paraphrasis is to be used and when the verb+ adjective is to be used. They must be learned through familiarity.

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