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Quick answer
"Tener" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "to have", and "poder" is an auxiliary verb which is often translated as "to be able to". Learn more about the difference between "tener" and "poder" below.
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.
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)
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)
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.
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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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.).
1. (used to indicate capability)
a. can
Mi novia puede bailar salsa.My girlfriend can dance the salsa.
b. to be able to
Necesito mis gafas para poder ver.I need my glasses to be able to see.
2. (used to ask for something or permission)
a. can
¿Me puedes pasar ese lápiz?Can you pass me that pencil?
¿Podría ver un menú, por favor?Could I see a menu, please?
b. may
¿Puedo usar el baño?May I use the bathroom?
c. to be allowed to
¿Podemos traer alcohol al concierto?Are we allowed to bring alcohol to the concert?
3. (to be possible)
a. may
Puede que Aurora haya pensado que nos encontraríamos en el cine.Aurora may have thought we were going to meet at the movies.
b. can
No se puede fumar en la sala.You cannot smoke inside the theater.
4. (used to indicate moral obligation)
a. can
No podemos rechazar a los refugiados de la guerra.We cannot turn away war refugees.
5. (in reproaches)
a. can
¿Cómo podrías decirme cosas tan crueles?How could you say such cruel things to me?
b. may
Podrías haberme dicho que tu hermana se quedaría con nosotros.You might have told me your sister was going to stay with us.
6. (in suggestions)
a. can
No sé si comer una sopa o un sándwich. - Podrías pedir el combo que trae mitad de un sándwich y una sopa.I don't know if I should have soup or a sandwich. - You could get the half-sandwich and soup combo.
b. may
Podrías llamar de nuevo al hotel a ver si tienen tu bufanda.You may want to call the hotel again to see if they found your scarf.
An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
7. (to tolerate; used with "con")
a. to stand
No puedo más con mi jefe.I can't stand my boss.
b. to put up with
No puedo más contigo. Me estás volviendo loca.I can't put up with you any longer. You're driving me crazy.
8. (to be capable of; used with "con")
a. to manage
Él no puede con tanto trabajo.He can't manage so much work.
9. (to hurt)
Regionalism used in Mexico
a. to upset
Me pudo mucho lo que me dijiste.What you said really upset me.
An impersonal verb is a verb with no apparent subject (e.g. Llueve en España.).
10. (used to indicate possibility)
a. may
Puede que no venga a la fiesta.He may not come to the party.
A masculine noun is used with masculine articles and adjectives (e.g. el hombre guapo, el sol amarillo).
11. (ability)
a. power
Mi hermanita cree que tiene poderes mágicos.My little sister thinks she has magic powers.
12. (control)
a. power
Él tiene todo el poder en esa relación.He has all the power in that relationship.
b. influence
Ella es la que tiene todo el poder, así que mejor habla con ella.She's the one with all the influence, so you'd better talk to her.
13. (political)
a. power
El poder del presidente incluye vetar cualquier legislación pasada por el Congreso.Among the president's powers is the ability to veto any legislation passed by Congress.
14. (in someone's care)
a. possession
Tengo en mi poder un certificado que prueba la autenticidad de la pintura.I have in my possession a letter that proves the painting's authenticity.
15. (mechanical)
a. power
¿Cuánto poder tiene el motor de este carro?How much power does this car's engine have?
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
A word or phrase that is commonly used in conversational speech (e.g. skinny, grandma).
(to defeat)
a. to beat
¡Vamos! ¡Tú le puedes!Come on! You can beat him!
b. to be stronger than
El forzudo retó a cualquiera a ver si le pueden.The strongman challenged anyone to prove they're stronger than him.
A plural noun indicates that there is more than one person, place, thing, or idea.
plural noun
17. (legal authority)
a. powers
A Daniel le confirieron los poderes para gestionar la empresa tras la muerte de su padre.After the death of his father, all the business' powers were passed to Daniel.
b. authority
El comité no tiene los poderes para confirmar el nombramiento.The committee doesn't have the authority to confirm the appointment.
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