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Using tener + participio to express the completion of an action

In Spanish we can use the verb tener followed by a past participle to express the completion of an action. The effect of using this verbal structure is similar to using haber + participle, however using tener gives a nuance of a result obtained after accumulation or repetition of actions.

Let's see some examples:

Tengo escritas veinte páginas de mi futura novela.I have written twenty pages of my future novel.

Tienes pintadas dos habitaciones. Falta una más para terminar.You have painted two rooms. There is one more left to finish.

Notice how the past participle must agree in gender and number with the noun acting as a direct object. (escritas/páginas; pintadas/habitaciones: feminine plural noun)

Here are some more examples:

Marta y yo tenemos planeado un viaje a Egipto.Marta and I have planned a trip to Egypt.

¿Tienes ya pensada la estrategia para convencer a Inés?Have you thought of a plan to persuade Inés yet?

Yo tenía organizados todos los documentos en orden alfabético.I had all the documents organised in alphabetical order.

In all of the above sentences there is a nuance of an accumulation or repetition of actions to get to a result.

For example:

Tengo pintadas dos habitaciones.

implies that there is a repetition of an action, in this case, painting rooms, one after another, with a result expressed with "tengo pintadas dos habitaciones".

¿Tienes ya pensada la estrategia?

implies that there has been an accumulation of "thinking" with a result expressed with "tienes pensada".

If we simply used the perfect tense with haber, this nuance wouldn't exist. It would just express a completed action.

He pintado dos habitaciones.

He pensado en la estrategia.

Sometimes this verbal structure implies an indication of keeping someone in a certain state (sometimes as a result following an accumulation/repetition of events). For example:

Este libro me tiene intrigada.This book has me hooked/intrigued.

La noticia de Amanda nos tiene sorprendidas.Amanda's news has surprised us.

Ese chico la tiene tan enamorada...She has really fallen for that guy.

Notice how in all the examples there is a direct object pronoun (me, nos, la) because it is always about the effect on "someone".

 

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

Marta y yo tenemos planeado un viaje a Egipto.Marta and I have planned a trip to Egypt.
Ese chico la tiene tan enamorada...She has really fallen for that guy.
Tienes pintadas dos habitaciones. Falta una más para terminar.You have painted two rooms. There is one more left to finish.
Este libro me tiene intrigada.This book has me hooked/intrigued.
Tengo escritas veinte páginas de mi futura novela.I have written twenty pages of my future novel.
Yo tenía organizados todos los documentos en orden alfabético.I had all the documents organised in alphabetical order.
La noticia de Amanda nos tiene sorprendidas.Amanda's news has surprised us.
¿Tienes ya pensada la estrategia para convencer a Inés?Have you thought of a plan to persuade Inés yet?

Q&A Forum 2 questions, 2 answers

ParisA1Kwiziq community member

Agreement in gender and number

hi room and experts

Please clarify why 'tener  + participio cases' must have agreement in gender and number with the noun acting as a direct object,  whereas  this rule does not apply in  'haber + participio cases'


For example  -  Tienes ya pensada la estrategia para convencer a Inés? - (show agreement)


He pintado dos habitaciones. (does not show agreement)

Asked 2 months ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Paris

The reason why there is agreement whith "tener + participio" is because that participle is acting as an adjective to the noun. Adjectives always agree in gender and number with the noun they modify. 

Tengo leídas cuatro páginas del libro. 

If you change the placement you can see it better as an adjective I think:

Tengo cuatro páginas leídas del libro.

It is as if we are saying "Cuatro páginas del libro están leídas." Also an adjective here with estar, and agreeing.

When we use the compound tenses using haber + participle, this is not the case as you know. Here its function is not an adjective at all. It is part of the verb structure. It doesn't need agreement at all. 

He leído cuatro páginas.

We have this B1 lesson that may help

Participles as adjectives

I hope this helps.

Saludos

Inma

Agreement in gender and number

hi room and experts

Please clarify why 'tener  + participio cases' must have agreement in gender and number with the noun acting as a direct object,  whereas  this rule does not apply in  'haber + participio cases'


For example  -  Tienes ya pensada la estrategia para convencer a Inés? - (show agreement)


He pintado dos habitaciones. (does not show agreement)

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JonathanC1Kwiziq community member

Tener + past participle

In the introduction to this lesson, you say the meaning is similar to using "haber plus infinitive". I think you mean haber plus past participle i.e. the perfect tense

Asked 5 months ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Indeed, Jonathan! Thanks for spotting this. Already corrected.

Un saludo

Inma

Tener + past participle

In the introduction to this lesson, you say the meaning is similar to using "haber plus infinitive". I think you mean haber plus past participle i.e. the perfect tense

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