Unit 6.1

The verb periphrasis Tener que+ infinitive

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Introduction

A verbal periphrasis [perífrasis verbal] is a grammatical construction made up of two or more verbs that function as one sentence. In these cases, the personal auxiliary verb (conjugated) is joined to another non-personal auxiliary verb with neither gender nor number (it can be infinitive, gerund or participle).

The verb periphrasis tener que + infinitive [perífrasis verbal tener que + infinitivo] is a construction used to express an obligation or necessity.

Form

The verbal periphrasis tener que + infinitive is formed with the present indicative of the verb tener followed by que and the verb in the infinitive according to the following formula:
(Subject +) Tener que + infinitive + …

Persona Tener que Infinitivo
Yo tengo que hablar/comer/vivir
tienes que
Él/Ella/Usted tiene que
Nosotros/-as tenemos que
Vosotros/-as tenéis que
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes tienen que

Example

  • Tengo que hablar con María sobre la obra de teatro que vio;
  • Tienes que comer con el director de la película esta tarde;
  • Paco tiene que vivir dentro una burbuja si nunca ha leído una novela de Harry Potter;
  • Tenemos que hablar y ver cuándo quedamos para ir a un musical;
  • Tenéis que comeros parte de una manzana y luego dibujarla junto a un jarrón;
  • Sara y Pili tienen que vivir al límite para hacer esas fotos tan peligrosas que hacen.

Use

The modal periphrasis Tener que + infinitive is used to express obligation, possibility, necessity or inference of what is considered true by the speaker or other ways in which the speaker’s attitude is manifested.

Summary

The verbal periphrasis tener que + infinitive is a construction that, in Spanish, is used to express an obligation or necessity.

It has the following structure:
(Subject +) Tener que + infinitive + …

For example:

— «Ana tiene que ir a la escuela» = after tener que the verb ir  goes in the infinitive;
— «Tengo que volver a casa pronto» = after tener que the verb volver  goes in the infinitive.

Check the contents of the {Form} section. Then move on the {Example} sections, which shows you the usage in context.

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