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Week 2 Day 5: More with Ser – Introduction to Tener

What’s in store for you today: More work with ser and learning the verb tener

Today’s goals are:

●     To learn more about ser

●     To learn about the verb tener

●     To learn vocabulary to describe people (physically)

Listen to Track 2.5.1


María: Yo me parezco mucho a mi padre.

Ángela: Ah, ¿sí? ¿Y cómo es tu padre?

María: Mi padre tiene el pelo castaño, es alto y tiene los ojos marrones. ¿Cómo es tu padre?

Angela: Mi padre es de estatura mediana, rubio, y tiene los ojos verdes. Yo me parezco a mi madre. Ella es baja, pelirroja, y tiene los ojos azules.

Before we move on to working with estar, let’s work a little bit more with the verb ser and expand our descriptive abilities a little bit more. Today, we’re going to discuss how to talk about physical qualities.


When describing people’s physical appearance in Spanish, like in English, we use two different verbs: ser (to be) and tener (to have).

Listen to Track 2.5.2


Some of the adjectives we’ll use with ser you already know: “Yo soy alto. Nosotros somos bajos.” Below, you’ll find a list of some other qualities we’ll mention using the verb ser:

  • Pelirrojo/a
  • Rubio/a
  • Calvo/a
  • De estatura mediana


There are still a lot of descriptions missing from our running list! What if you have brown hair? How do you say, “I have hazel eyes”? Let’s look at that right now!

Listen to Track 2.5.3


In order to talk about other physical qualities, we’re going to need to use the verb tener. This means “to have.” We need it to say tengo el pelo largo (I have long hair) or tengo una barba (I have a beard).

Here’s how it conjugates:

Yo tengo (I have)

Nosotros/as tenemos (we have)

Tú tienes (you – familiar, singular) have)

Vosotros/as tenéis (you – plural, familiar) have

Él/Ella/Usted tiene (he/she/you – singular, formal – have)

Ellos/as/Ustedes tienen (they/you – plural, formal – have)


¿Qué tengo? (What do I have?)

Listen to Track 2.5.5


Here is a list of vocabulary you can use with tener to describe people’s physical appearance:

  • Pelo – Hair
    • Largo – Long
    • Corto – Short
    • Medio largo – Medium length
    • Oscuro – Dark
    • Castaño* – Brown
    • Rizado – Curly
    • Liso – Straight
    • Canoso – Gray
  • Ojos – eyes
    • Azules – Blue
    • Verdes – Green
    • De color avellana – Hazel
    • Marrones* – Brown
  • La barba – The beard
  • El bigote – The mustache

* can hear your question: “Why two ‘brown’s?” Well, the answer is, there’s not a real answer. It just depends on the variety of Spanish being spoken. In some places, “marrón” is used for both, while in others, they are used separately (as they’re shown here). It’s a good idea to be familiar with both options.

Today’s Recap

Today, we talked about how to describe people physically.

  • We learned some new vocabulary (pelirrojo – redhead, calvo – bald, etc.).
  • We learned about the verb tener (to have):

                We learned vocabulary to use with this verb:

                               Pelo (Hair)

                               Ojos (Eyes)

                               Barba (Beard)

                               Bigote (Mustache)