Quick answer
"Decir" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "to say", and "tener" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "to have". Learn more about the difference between "decir" and "tener" below.
decir(
deh
-
seer
)
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to speak)
a. to say
¿Qué dijiste? No te escuché.What did you say? I couldn't hear you.
b. to tell
¿Jura decir la verdad?Do you swear to tell the truth?
2. (to give an opinion)
a. to say
¿Qué dices de la nueva ley de transporte?What do you say about the new law on transportation?
b. to think
¿Y qué dices tú del asunto?What do you think about the whole issue?
c. to believe
¿Quién hubiera dicho que Juliana y Gustavo acabarían juntos?Who would have believed that Juliana and Gustavo would end up together?
3. (to be rumored)
a. to say
Dicen que va a nevar mañana.They say it's going to snow tomorrow.
4. (to transmit orders)
a. to tell
Dile a tu hermano que haga sus tareas.Tell your brother to do his homework.
b. to say
Mamá dijo que nos teníamos que acostar.Mom said we had to go to sleep.
5. (to narrate)
a. to recite
Ahora voy a decir un poema nuevo que escribí sobre el amor perdido.Now I will recite a poem I wrote about lost love.
6. (to signify)
a. to tell
El que no lo interese planear la boda me dice que Jorge no está listo para casarse.The fact that he's not interested in planning the wedding tells me Jorge's not ready to get married.
7. (to be indicated in text)
a. to say
La Biblia dice que uno debe amar al prójimo.The Bible says we should love our neighbor.
8. (religious)
a. to say (mass)
Después de decir la homilía, el sacerdote reparte la comunión.After the priest says the homily, he hands out Communion.
9. (to invite to speak)
a. to go ahead
¿Le puedo pedir un favor? - ¡Claro! Dime, ¿en qué lo puedo ayudar?Can I ask a favor of you? - Of course! Go ahead, how can I help you?
An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
10. (used to answer the phone)
Regionalism used in Spain
(Spain)
a. hello (interjection)
¿Diga?Hello!
A masculine noun is used with masculine articles and adjectives (e.g. el hombre guapo, el sol amarillo).
11. (proverb)
a. saying
"De tal palo, tal astilla" es un decir popular."Like father, like son" is a popular saying.
12. (form of expression)
a. manner of speaking
¡No te enfades, mujer! Es solo un decir.Come on, don't get annoyed! It's just a manner of speaking.
decirse
A reflexive verb is a verb that indicates that the subject performs an action on itself (e.g. Miguel se lava.).
13. (to promise oneself)
a. to tell oneself
Me dije que no volvería a empezar a fumar.I told myself that I wouldn't start smoking again.
b. to say to oneself
Me dije a mí misma, esto no sienta bien.I said to myself, this doesn't feel right.
c. to think to oneself
Me sigo diciendo, ¿qué hubiera pasado si hubiera aceptado ese trabajo?I keep thinking to myself, what would have happened had I taken that job?
A pronominal verb always uses a reflexive pronoun. (e.g. Te ves cansado.).
14. (to label)
a. to call
En Puerto Rico a la basura se le dice "zafacón".In Puerto Rico, the trash is called "zafacón."
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tener(
teh
-
nehr
)
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to possess)
a. to have
Tengo tres coches.I have three cars.
b. to have got
Mary tiene una casa en el campo.Mary's got a house in the country.
2. (to be carrying)
a. to have
¿Tienes efectivo?Do you have cash?
b. to have got
¿Tienen sus pasaportes?Have you got your passports?
3. (used to express characteristics)
a. to have
Tiene los ojos verdes.She has green eyes.
b. to have got
Susana tiene el cabello oscuro.Susana's got dark hair.
4. (to wear)
a. to have
La chica que busco tiene lentes de sol y una bufanda.The girl I'm looking for has sunglasses and a scarf.
b. to have on
¿Por qué tiene zapatos tu perro?Why does your dog have shoes on?
5. (used to express age)
a. to be
Mi hermana tiene 33 años.My sister is 33 years old.
6. (to have planned)
a. to have
El lunes tengo una cita con el dentista.I have a dentist appointment on Monday.
b. to have got
Mañana tenemos junta en la tarde.We've got a meeting tomorrow afternoon.
7. (to feel)
a. to be
Si tienes frío, ponte un abrigo.If you are cold, put on a coat.
8. (to be ill with)
a. to have
Mi hijo tiene sarampión.My child has measles.
9. (to grasp or carry)
a. to hold
Ten la bandeja.Hold the tray.
b. to take
Ten esta caja, por favor.Take this box, please.
c.
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
Tengan sus boletos.Here are your tickets.
Ten tu bolsa.Here is your bag.
10. (to measure)
a. to be
Esta maleta tiene 20 centímetros de ancho.This suitcase is 20 centimeters wide.
11. (to give birth to)
a. to have
Mi perra tuvo seis cachorros.My dog had six puppies.
12. (to receive)
a. to have
Todavía no tuve el correo electrónico de confirmación de la empresa.I haven't had a confirmation email from the company yet.
13. (used with a participle to describe a state)
a. to have
Tenía la casa recogida cuando llegué.He had the house cleaned up by the time I arrived.
14. (used to describe a possibility)
a. to have
Realmente no tiene solución este problema.This problem really has no solution.
15. (to think of)
a. to consider
Siempre tuve a Rodolfo por honesto.I've always considered Rodolfo to be honest.
16. (used to indicate duration)
Regionalism used in Latin America: all the countries in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Does not include Spain.
(Latin America)
a.
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
Tengo dos años sin verlo.I haven't seen him for two years.
Mis abuelos tienen 40 años de casados.My grandparents have been married for 40 years.
An auxiliary verb, or helper verb, is a conjugated verb that comes before a main verb and determines the main verb's tense, mood, or aspect (e.g. I have gone.).
17. (used to indicate an obligation; used with "que")
a. to have to
Tengo que terminar mis deberes antes de salir a la fiesta.I have to finish my homework before going to the party.
b. must
Tienes que comer todo en tu plato si quieres postre.You must eat everything on your plate if you want dessert.
18. (used to indicate supposition; used with "que")
a. must
¡Tienes que tener calor con tanta ropa puesta!You must be hot with so many clothes on!
19. (used to indicate a reproach; used with "que")
a. should
Tenías que haberme marcado antes de salir.You should have called me before leaving.
20. (before past participle)
a.
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
Tengo pensado ir al mercado mañana.I think I'll go to the market tomorrow.
Tenemos entendido que piensas dejar la escuela.We understand that you're thinking of leaving school.
21. (before adjective)
a. to make
La noticia sobre el huracán me tiene muy nervioso.The news about the hurricane is making me nervous.
tenerse
A reflexive verb is a verb that indicates that the subject performs an action on itself (e.g. Miguel se lava.).
22. (to remain standing)
a. to stand up
Estaba tan mareado que no me tenía de pie.I was so dizzy that I couldn't stand up.
23. (to consider oneself)
a. to think
Este muchacho se tiene por muy guapo.That kid thinks he's really cute.
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