Tener Preterite Conjugation

Use the chart, examples, and video below to learn how to conjugate tener in the preterite tense ("pretérito perfecto simple").

Tener: Preterite Conjugation Chart

yo tuve
él/ella/Ud. tuvuvo
nosotros tuvimos
vosotros tuvisteis
ellos/ellas/Uds. tuvieron

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Examples: how to conjugate tener in preterite tense

Here are some examples of conjugating tener in preterite form:

Yo tuve miedo, sentí el latido de mi corazón muy rápido.

I was afraid, I felt my heart beating very fast. (tener is used here as the literal translation is 'I had fear' for 'I was afraid'

David, nuestro mago, parece que tuvo un ataque de nervios.

David, our magician, apparently seems to have had a nervous breakdown.

El dijo que tuvisteis una conversación en las escaleras.

He said you had a conversation on the stairs.


  • Tener is an irregular verb, including in the preterite tense.
  • Don’t worry about memorising all the conjugations perfectly. Through speaking and listening on a regular basis, you’ll learn 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 preterite tense - recommended video:

(note the translations provided in the video above are in both French and English)

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See how to conjugate tener in other tenses:

Conjugate tener in the present

Conjugate tener in the imperfect

Conjugate tener in the future

Conjugate tener in the subjunctive