Tener Imperfect Conjugation

Use the chart, examples, and video below to learn how to conjugate tener in the imperfect (known as the imperfecto, or pretérito imperfecto).

Tener: Imperfect Tense Conjugation Chart

yo tenía
él/ella/Ud. tenía
nosotros teníamos
vosotros teníais
ellos/ellas/Uds. tenían

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Examples: how to conjugate tener in imperfect tense

Here are some examples of conjugating tener in imperfect form:

Tenía algo en la boca.

He had something in his mouth.

...antes de darme cuenta de que tenías tan poca fe en mi.

...before I realized that you have such little faith in me.

Después que la sesión de fotos terminó, teníamos hambre y sed.

After the photo shoot was over, we were hungry and thirsty.


  • Tener is an irregular verb, making it trickier to learn. But it's regular in the imperfect tense - phew!
  • Don’t worry about memorising all the conjugations perfectly. Through speaking and listening on a regular basis, you’ll become able to conjugate verbs correctly most of the time even if you don't remember the rules and exceptions off by heart.
  • If you want help with grammar, or you just want to become fluent in Spanish, you may want to take personalised 1-on-1 lessons. At LanguaTalk, we make an effort to find the very best online tutors, and many of them offer lower rates than you’d find in your local area. Check tutors’ reviews and videos HERE, and consider booking a free trial session (no card required).

Here's a reminder of what the Spanish personal pronouns mean:

  • yo = I
  • tú = you (informal)
  • él/ella = he/she
  • nosotros/nosotras = we
  • vosotros/vosotras = you (plural, informal, Spain only)
  • ellos/ellas = they
  • Usted = you (singular formal) & ustedes = you (plural formal). These are used much more in Latin America than in Spain - the latter being more informal.

How to conjugate tener in the imperfect tense - recommended video:

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See how to conjugate tener in other tenses:

Conjugate tener in the preterite

Conjugate tener in the present

Conjugate tener in the future

Conjugate tener in the subjunctive