May 17, 2003, 2:38 PM
Post #2 of 12
Ah, Bill, this is where the rubber meets the road! I'll try to help. If it's any consolation to you, the expressions with tener are pretty much the same in French as well, so don't take this personally or as being idiosyncratic.
You use tener + a noun to say:
tener hambre to be hungry
tener miedo to be afraid
tener sueño to be sleepy
tener sed to be thirsty
tener ganas de + to want to do something (Tengo ganas de comprender esto.)
tener frio (calor) to be cold (warm)
tener celos de to be jealous of + someone
Now, since these expressions (and there are more, but these are the most common) use a verb + a noun, obviously you can't try to use these expressions with estar ...... because that would have to followed by an adjective. So, now you understand, I hope, the difference between :
Tengo frio. I feel cold. Soy fria. I am frigid. (or, at best, a very aloof person) Estoy fria .... same as before, only temporary. This could create some unfortunate misunderstandings.
The best way to master this, is just to take a list of the most common expressions and use it in your head constantly while you're going about your life. Then when you go to speak, the right expression will pop out.
Remember: tener + noun, estar + adjective, or ser +adjective:
Tiene miedo. She's afraid. (Right now.) Es miedosa. She's a scaredy-cat. (always, in general)
Hope this helps.
P.S. This is why I'm glad Sister Mary Whoosit taught us grammar in sixth grade.