With the personal "a"The personal a typically doesn't need to follow tener. But when it does, it can suggest emotional closeness.
- Siempre voy a tener a mis primas en mi corazón. I will always have my cousins in my heart.
- Tengo a mis hijos que adoro. I have my children whom I adore.
The personal a also can be retained to make clear that the object of tener is a specific person, even though no specific person is named in the sentence:
- Tim Burton ya tiene a su "Alicia" para su versión de "Alicia en el País de las maravillas." Tim Burton already has his "Alice" for his version of "Alice in Wonderland."
- El candidato presidencial ya tiene a su vicepresidente, pero decidió mantener el suspense y no va a revelar ni una letra sobre su "número dos". The presidential candidate already has his vice president, but he decided to keep up the suspense and isn't going to reveal even a clue about his "number two."
- La entrenadora tiene a dos jugadores más en mente para el equipo. The coach has two more players in mind for the team.
To indicate influenceJust as "have" sometimes does in English, tener a can be used to indicate in a vague way that one is causing someone or something to behave a certain way or have a certain quality. Some examples may make this concept clearer.
A common way to do this in Spanish is to use the sentence construction of "tener + a + noun + present verbal participle." (A present verbal participle in Spanish is often known as a gerund and is the verb form that ends in -ando or -iendo.) As these examples show, a similar sentence construction can often be used in the English translation:
- Tengo a alguien escribiendo mis cartas. I have someone writing my letters.
- Tengo a mi familia trabajando conmigo. I have my family working with me.
- Adobe tiene a Flash funcionando en el iPhone. Adobe has Flash working in the iPhone.
- Tenía a todos llorando por su salida. He had everyone crying at his departure.
- Hay muchos que no tienen a tanta gente pensando en ellos. There are many who don't have enough people thinking about them.
- Siempre tenemos a Britney como ejemplo. We always have Britney as an example.
- El programa de televisión tiene a Keane como protagonista. The television program has Keane as the main character.
- Kristina tiene al marido feliz. Kristina keeps her husband happy.
- El FBI tiene a la casa como centro de operaciones. The FBI uses the house as a center of operations.
- Nadie sabe por qué Katrina tiene al coche así. Nobody knows why Katrina keeps her car that way.
Giving birthIn context, the use of tener a can refer to giving birth, just as "to have" can in English.
- Ángela tiene a gemelos. Angela is having twins.
- Tengo 32 años y acabo de tener a mi segundo hijo. I am 32 years old and just had my second child.