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can someone tell me when to use teng vs estoy'

  • Posted Apr 3, 2009
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In Spain "tengo" and "estoy" have nothing to do.
I think that in Southamerica it is said "tengo mucho tiempo en españa" to mean "hace mucho tiempo que estoy en España"(there is a long time I live in Spain). But I don't think there is any other relation between both verbs.
In Spain this construction with "tener" is incorrect, so it is better to avoid it.

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Another possible connection they might have considering their translated meanings could be in phrases like tengo hambre, frío, etc.

You could make the connection between when they use a common word, one used with a noun while the other is used with an adjective.

Tengo frío. (I feel cold) It's 40°C out and I jumpted into 30° water)(no low temperatures involved.)

Estoy frío. (I've been outside in freezing weather all day. My body/skin temperature is very low)

The connection being that they both translate as "I am cold".

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Answering to qfreed:
The expression "estoy frío" it is more used in the psychological context, it is "I am in cold mood". To mean that I have been outside and my body is in a low temperature it is better to say "tengo frío" (more sure) or "me he quedado frío".
When you don't master the language it is better to use the general expression because "estoy frío" can be very doubtful, depending in the context, the tone...

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Well, technically "tengo frio" literally means to have coldness. Estoy is for more feelings, emotions, and being somewhere.

There are some exceptions, but for the most part you should say "tengo frio", or "tengo hambre" and "estoy bien" and "estoy en el gimnasio" when in the south.

Not so sure on spain though....

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In general,

tengo = I have
estoy = I am

However, as they pointed out before, you cannot translate these verbs perfectly, because we express some things differently, but basically, these verbs cannot be swapped without changing the meaning of the sentence, like "have" and "am" in English.

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Tengo frío - I'm cold
Tengo hambre - I'm hungry
Tengo calor - I'm hot
Tengo sed - I'm thirsty

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They are idiomatic expressions. Unfortunately, the only way to know them is to memorize them and it is difficult for English speakers because tener expressions do not directly translate.

These are the most common tener expressions.

<br/>tener ... años ......(to be ... years old)<br/>tener calor .........(to be cold)<br/>tener cuidado .......(to be careful)<br/>tener frío ..........(to be cold)<br/>tener hambre ........(to be hungry)<br/>tener miedo .........(to be afraid)<br/>tener prisa .........(to be in a hurry)<br/>tener razón .........(to be right)<br/>no tener razón ......(to be wrong)<br/>tener sed ...........(to be thirsty)<br/>tener sueño .........(to be sleepy)<br/>tener suerte ........(to be lucky)<br/>

(If I am wrong, then please correct me! I don't want to be teaching people the incorrect thing.)

I hope that helps!


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Answering to qfreed:

When you don't master the language it is better to use the general expression because "estoy frío" can be very doubtful, depending in the context, the tone...

Don't worry. I have no delusions toward mastering the language. I was just trying to come up with some arcane way that estoy and tengo could possibly be connected.

As you see from the replies there is really no connection and, unfortunately, the author of the original question never returned to explain the context for his inquiry.

Soy frío. '? Anti-social, an introvert'? An englishman'? ...that should get some feedback. (You won't catch me using that any more than you will estoy frío).

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