Lesson 5:
Special Uses Of Some Verbs

Special Uses Of Some Verbs


Tener (to have)
Yo tengo
usted/Él/ella tiene
Nosotros tenemos
Ellos/ellas tienen
Ustedes tienen

In Spanish the verb “tener” is used before the following nouns. Here are just a few examples:












Él tiene mucha paciencia con los estudiantes.
He is very patient with the students.

Yo tengo dolor de cabeza.
I have a headache.

Ella tiene una familia grande.
She has a big family.

Many idioms begin with “tener”. Where English uses to be + adjective, Spanish may use tener + noun.

tener años

to be years old
tener calor

to be hot
tener celos

to be jealous
tener cuidado

to be careful
tener éxito

to be successful
tener frío

to be cold
tener gracia

to be funny
tener hambre

to be hungry
tener la razón

to be right
tener miedo

to be afraid
tener mucho gusto en

to be very glad to
tener prisa

to be in a hurry
tener sed

to be thirsty
tener sueño

to be sleepy
tener suerte

to be lucky


English Spanish Literal translation
I am hungry Tengo hambre I have hunger
I am thirsty Tengo sed I have thirst
I am hot Tengo calor I have heat
I am cold Tengo frío I have coldness

Ella tiene veinte años.
She is twenty years old.

Él tiene mucho calor.
He is very warm/hot.

Nosotros tenemos frío.
We are cold.

Jorge tiene sed cuando está en la playa.
Jorge gets/is thirsty when he’s at the beach.

Ella tiene celos de su novio.
She is jealous of her boyfriend.

NOTE: “to be warm” and “to be cold” are translated as “hacer calor” and “hacer frío”, respectively, when referring to the weather, and as “estar caliente” and “estar frío / fría”, respectively, when referring to things.

The verb “tener” also can be used as follows:

tener buena cara

to look good
tener ganas de + infinitivo/sustantivo

to feel like (doing)
tener la culpa de

to blame
tener que ver con

to have to do with
tener sentido

to make sense

In English there are specific verbs for certain actions, whereas in Spanish using the verb “tener” in combination with a noun creates a unique phrase.


Él tiene la culpa de todos mis problemas.
He is the one to blame for all my problems.

Esto no tiene nada que ver con aquello.
This has nothing to do with that.

Tengan ustedes la bondad de esperar un momento.
Please wait a minute.

El español a veces no tiene sentido.
Spanish sometimes does not make sense.

Ellos no tienen buena cara.
They don’t look good.

Tú tienes ganas de un helado de chocolate.
You feel like having a chocolate ice cream.

The verb “tener” is also used to express an obligation, or something that needs to be done.

tener que + infinitive (to have to, to must)


Tú tienes que estudiar más.
You have to study more.

Nosotros tenemos que practicar todos los verbos.
We have to practice all the verbs.


Hacer (to do)
Yo hago
usted/Él/ella hace
Nosotros hacemos
Ellos/ellas hacen
Ustedes hacen

We can say that the verb “hacer” is used in the same way in Spanish as in English. However, in English there are two translations, and in Spanish only one. There is not a difference of uses, only translation.


Los atletas hacen muchos ejercicios todos los días.
Athletes do many exercises every day.

Mi mamá hace la cena.
My mom makes dinner.

Yo hago el pastel.
I make the cake.

Tú haces la tarea todas las noches.
You do your homework every night.

¿Qué haces tú en Mexico? Yo visito a mis amigos.
What are you doing in Mexico? I’m visiting my friends.

But this verb is also used to describe or talk about the weather and uses only the combination of the third person singular él “hace”, it can also use the form of “hay”. In English we use the verb “to be”, as follows.

Hace buen / mal tiempo

it is good / bad weather
Hace (mucho) calor

it is (very) warm/hot
Hace (mucho) fresco

it is (very) cool
Hace (mucho) frío

it is (very) cold
Hace (mucho) sol

it is (very) sunny
Hace (mucho) viento

it is (very) windy

En verano hace mucho calor.
In summer it’s very hot.

Hace mucho calor hoy.
It is very hot today.

¿Qué tiempo hace en la primavera?
How’s the weather in spring?

Hace mucho sol al mediodía.
It is very sunny at noon.

The difference between “hace” and “hay” is: “hace” is used as a general idea and “hay” is more or less at this time.


Hace frío en el norte.
It’s cold in the north.

Hay frío hoy.
It’s cold today.

The verb “hacer” also can be used in a different way. Note that in English the translation is completely different, since there is a specific verb in English, and in Spanish using the verb “hacer” with a noun creates a unique phrase.

Hacer caso

to obey
Hacer la maleta

to pack one’s suitcase
Hacer trampa

to cheat (game/exam)
Hacer un viaje

to take a trip
Hacer una pregunta

to ask a question
Hacer una visita

to pay/make a visit
Se hace tarde

it is getting late

Se hace tarde para mi clase de español.
It’s getting late for my Spanish class.

El niño no hace caso a su mamá.
The child doesn’t obey his mom.

Los estudiantes hacen muchas preguntas a la maestra.
The students ask many questions to the teacher.

Nosotros hacemos un viaje muy largo.
We take a long trip.

And also can be used as follows:

Hace + expression of time + que + a verb in present tense = expresses an action that started in the past, gets to the present, and may continue in the future (to have been + ing).


Hace doce años que soy maestra de español.
I have been a Spanish teacher for twelve years.

Hace un año que ella vive en esta ciudad.
She has lived in this city for a year.

¿Hace cuánto tiempo que estudias tú español?
How long have you been studying Spanish?

Hace dos semanas que estudio español.
I have studied Spanish for two weeks.

Hace + expression of time + que + a verb in preterite tense = expresses the time which has elapsed since the action was (……ago).


Hace dos años que yo estudié español.
Two years ago I studied Spanish.

Hace tres meses que fui a Nicaragua.
Three months ago I went to Nicaragua.

¿Hace cuánto tiempo que estuviste tú en Costa Rica?
How long ago you were in Costa Rica?

Hace cinco meses que yo estuve en Costa Rica.
Five months ago I was in Costa Rica.

VALER / COSTAR (to cost)

These verbs are used only to describe the value of things, and their conjugation is singular or plural only, depending on the noun.

singular plural
Valer vale valen
Costar cuesta cuestan

¿Cuánto vale el libro? El libro vale cien dólares.
How much is the book? The book costs one hundred dollars.

¿Cuánto valen las naranjas? Las naranjas valen diez dólares.
How much are the oranges? The oranges cost ten dollars.

¿Cuánto cuesta una computadora? Una computadora cuesta dos mil dólares.
How much does a computer cost? A computer costs two thousand dollars.

¿Cuánto cuestan las rosas? Las rosas cuestan veinticinco dólares.
How much are the roses? The roses cost twenty-five dollars.

SABER / CONOCER (to know)

In Spanish, there are two verbs that express the idea “to know.” These two verbs are “saber” and “conocer” and they are used differently.

The verb “saber” expresses all information about something, or knowledge, or ignorance of a fact, or to express how to do something, use the combination of “saber + infinitive”.

Saber (to know)
usted/Él/ella sabe
Nosotros sabemos
Ellos/ellas saben
Ustedes saben

Él sabe bailar salsa.
He knows how to dance salsa.

Yo sé la historia de Guatemala.
I know the history of Guatemala.

Ellos saben dónde está el supermercado.
They know where the supermarket is.

Nosotros sabemos el nombre de la maestra de español.
We know the name of the Spanish teacher.

The verb “conocer” is used to say that one is or is not acquainted with a person, a place, or an object.

Conocer (to know)
Yo conozco
usted/Él/ella conoce
Nosotros conocemos
Ellos/ellas conocen
Ustedes conocen

Yo conozco a José.
I know José. (I am acquainted with José)

Tú no conoces México.
You don’t know Mexico. (You are not acquainted with Mexico)

“Saber” and “conocer” can be used to express knowledge or ignorance of a subject. They can also be used to learn a discipline, depending upon the context.


Tú no sabes nada de francés.
You don’t know any French.

El maestro sabe matemáticas.
The teacher knows mathematics.

Yo conozco la literatura española.
I am familiar with Spanish literature.


The verb form “hay” in English translation is “there is / there are”. This form of the verb expresses existence, and only has this conjugation, expresses the singular and plural


En la escuela hay muchos estudiantes.
There are many students in the school.

En la biblioteca hay libros importantes.
There are important books in the library.

En la mesa hay una taza.
There is a cup on the table.

¿Qué hay en la refrigeradora?
What’s in the fridge?

En la refrigeradora hay solamente un queso.
There is only one cheese in the refrigerator.

¿Hay un buen hotel en esta ciudad?
Is there a good hotel in this city?

Sí, sí hay.
Yes, there is.

Sí, hay un buen hotel cerca del parque.
Yes, there is a good hotel near the park.

¿Hay fiesta hoy en la escuela?
Is there a party at school today?