This is lesson 13 in Crashed Culture’s Spanish grammar series.
Expressions of tener & hacer
Expressions of tener and hacer are found all throughout the Spanish language, which makes them pretty important to understand. Expressions of tener and hacer generally cover the weather and states of being, so much of this lesson is vocab.
If you’re not yet familiar with tener and hacer by themselves, you’ll need to get comfortable with this lesson first, since this lesson builds directly off that one. If you’ve got tener and hacer down pat, let’s dive in!
Expressions of tener
Tener expressions are mostly used to describe how we feel. In English, we say “I am __”, but in Spanish, we say “I have __”. Here are some really commonly-used tener idioms:
|tener frió||to be cold|
|tener calor||to be hot|
|tener hambre||to be hungry|
|tener sed||to be thirsty|
|tener miedo a/de + noun||to be afraid of something|
|tener miedo a/de + infinitive||to be afraid to do something|
|tener ___ años||to be __ years old|
These are only a few of the tener phrases you’ll come across in your Spanish learning journey, just for the sake of understanding what exactly is going on. There are plenty more for practice in the free flashcards at the end of the lesson.
If you’ve ever spoken to a native Spanish speaker learning English, you might’ve heard them say “I have 30 years”. Sounds funny, right? Now you know why that happens, and you also know how funny you’ll sound if you don’t use the correct tener expressions in Spanish!
Hacer sentences are similar to Spanish tener expressions in that we use them to talk about states of being. However, we use hacer in place of “it’s” in English. Let me show you what I mean:
|hace calor||it’s hot|
|hace frío||it’s cold|
|hace sol||it’s sunny|
|hace viento||it’s windy|
|hace buen tiempo||the weather is good|
|hace mal tiempo||the weather is bad|
Using this form of hacer only works in certain situations, phrases that you’ll catch onto with practice. That being said, there is one more type of phrase we use to describe the weather.
Remember when we talked about haber? We conjugated haber into “hay” and used it to say “there is/are”. We can use this conjugation in another way, to (also) talk about the weather:
|hay sol||it’s sunny|
|hay nubes||it’s cloudy|
|hay humedad||it’s humid|
|hay niebla||it’s foggy|
Did you notice that there are cases where you can use hay and hace? If so, you get a gold star! The verb that’s “correct” seems to vary wildly; some say there’s no difference, some say using one would sound funny, and some say there’s a very fine distinction between them.
Therefore, what’s my advice? Get used to seeing both versions, and get used to using “hacer” (as this is the most common choice in my experience).
Tener expressions and more
Where us English speakers use possession to talk about how we feel and how the weather is, Spanish speakers use “tener”, “hacer”, and “haber”. It takes a bit of a shift in perspective to understand how Spanish-speakers see these characteristics, so it’s important to get it.
So, to review:
- Tener expressions talk about states of being
- Hacer expressions talk about the weather
- Haber expressions talk about the weather, as well
Ready to move on?
Check out the next lesson: possessive adjectives & the personal ‘a’