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I'm hungry and it's hot outside: using tener to tell the facts.

A common idiom (the way a word is used) in Spanish employs the verb tener to describe a feeling or a state of being.  Tengo calor means I'm hot, and Tengo hambremeans I'm hungry.  This might seem like a confusing way to say something simple, but when you break it down and really think about it, the phrase is easy to understand.  In English when you say "I am cold," you don't actually mean that you are the embodiment of coldness.  You wouldn't say "I am lamp"; instead you would say "I have a lamp." 

A popular joke in English comes from this concept.  Have you ever been talking to a friend, and you say something like "I'm thirsty" when your friend turns around and says with a grin, "Nice to meet you, Thirsty.  My name is Jennifer."  In Spanish, Jennifer wouldn't be able to make this joke, because you would've said "Tengo hambre" (or I have hunger).  In the same way, the Spanish phrase "Tengo frío" indicates that you have a feeling of being cold; you have coldness, in other words. 


Here are some of the most common phrases using TENER + a noun to describe how you are:

TENER HAMBRE: to be hungry

TENER CELOS: to be jealous

TENER SED: to be thirsty

TENER MIEDO: to be afraid

TENER FRÍO: to be cold

TENER SUEÑO: to be tired, to be sleepy

TENER CALOR: to be hot

TENER ____ AÑOS: to be ____ years old

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