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 + infinitive, 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 sorprendida.
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

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.


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


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


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


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


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.


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