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Spanish tener to be


I'm confused with the spanish verb to be. You have ser, estar, tener, hacer. I kind of understand the usage of ser and estar, but in examples like tener frio, estar frio, ser frio, and hacer frio, i get confused which verb means what. Why do you use the verbs tener and hacer for meaning to be, instead of just using the verbs ser and estar? I seen an example online that had tener as "¿Quieres hacer una pregunta'" Do you want to ask a question. I'm getting confused with these verbs and would appreciate any help.

updated OCT 28, 2008
posted by Jeremy-Trujillo

7 Answers


tener frío is to be cold or to feel cold
to have a cold is estar resfriado
to catch a cold is resfriarse

updated ABR 26, 2012
posted by Eddy

Estar and ser are the verbs for to be. But tener is the verb to have, and hacer is the verb to do or to make. Some situations are quite different - for temperature, hacer frio is the correct way to say it. For an example, if it's cold today, and you are talking to someone, you would say, "Hace frio". Meaning, it is cold. Or, if you say for an example, "comí hace dos horas" which is "I ate two hours ago" - in order to say that you did something a certain amount of time ago, you would use 'hacer tiempo'. It's different in different situations.

updated OCT 28, 2008
posted by Irina

Ehh, this relationship is almost always taught improperly by teachers in a manner that only makes it harder than it really is.
Estar is used for emotions, locations...so yeah, save a few things, basically "things easily changable."
Ser is used to describe traits, personalities, etc...so yeah, save a few things, "things that are mostly permanent."
Tener/Hacer frio.... Tener is used if it is YOU (or someone) that is cold..."tengo frio" means literally "you have cold;" whereas, Hacer is used if it is the general enviroment where you or whoever is. Literally 'hace frio' means "it's making cold." Tener works the same for hot as well as interest in and etc; whereas, hacer is limited to just what your enviroment can be...hot/cold/etc. Its just the general difference between "is it hot in here or is it just me'"
There is no real way to master this other than to practice. Ask friends if it is hot/cold where you guys are or if it is just you that is cold/hot.

updated OCT 28, 2008
posted by alex10

Yes, I totally agree with you and it's the best way to remember.

updated MAR 31, 2008
posted by nxh

tener frio - have cold, like as in you have a cold.
estar frio - to be cold as in Alaska is cold. estar is used in describing locations.
ser frio - example: to be cold, as in you, he she etc. is [feeling] cold.
hacer frio -to make cold. hacer means to make. so... hacer un sandwich frio. to make a cold sandwich.

Quieres - is the want form for you [tu]
hacer - to make
una - a
pregunta - asked/question

Direct meaning - You want to make a question?
In proper english - Do you have a question?

Their isn't really such a thing as proper spanish like their is with English, it just takes a little getting used to.

updated MAR 30, 2008
posted by kate2

The way I remember which one to use is: SER is for a permanent condition and ESTAR is for a temporary condition.

updated MAR 29, 2008
posted by Sally

I still get really confused between ser and estar... Estoy un hombre or soy un hombre?
en nueva york, ellos dije; "Hoy, estoy un hombre, pero manana estar un pequeno chica."
es correcto'

updated MAR 29, 2008
posted by inconsciente
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