Lesson nº 13 – The verb “TER”

This is our Portuguese lesson nº 13 on Tomorrow Algarve Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/TomorrowAlgarve?fref=ts

If you keep up with lessons you should know quite a lot by now!

It’s time for the verb “TER”:

Usually, the most important and frequently used verbs are also the irregular ones. This happens in every language, and of course, Portuguese isn’t an exception. We’ve already seen how the verb “to be” works in Portuguese with two possible translations: “ser” or “estar”. Today we are going to study the verb “ter”. “Ter” is the Portuguese for “to have”. Let’s have a close look at this very irregular one:

I have              Eu tenho
You have        Tu tens (informal)
You Have        Você tem (formal)
He has            Ele tem
She has          Ela tem
It has ——-     —————
We have        Nós temos
You have       Vocês têm
They have     Eles têm (masculine) / Elas têm (feminine)

Pay attention to the difference in pronunciation of “tem” and “têm”. For the first “tem”, you shouldn’t pronounce the “m”, the “m” is there to tell us that we should nasalize the “e”. It’s a very nasal and open sound, the same we use for the word “bem”. For the second “têm”, you have to double the sound of “tem”, doing two nasal sounds in a row. You really have to use your nose for this one!

“Ter” means “to have”, but there are some contexts when we have to translate “ter” with the verb “to be”, for instances:

➢ I’m hungry – Tenho fome. ( OR Estou com fome)
➢ I’m thirsty – Tenho sede ( OR Estou com sede)
➢ I’m 40 years old -Tenho 40 anos
➢ Be careful – Tem (informal) / Tenha (formal)
➢ I’m cold. – Tenho frio (OR Estou com frio)
➢ I’m hot. – Tenho calor (OR Estou com calor)
➢ I’m afraid. – Tenho medo (OR Estou com medo)
➢ I’m ashamed – Tenho vergonha (OR Estou com

Finally, “Ter” is also the verb we use to express obligation:

➢ I have to work. – Eu tenho de trabalhar.
➢ I must do this – Eu tenho de fazer isto.

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