Expressing obligation with tener que

We express obligation when talking about things we have to do. Look at these examples:

Tengo que ir al colegio.
I have to go to school.

Tienes que comer sano.
You have to eat healthily.

Tiene que salir ahora.
He has to leave now.

Tenemos que salir todos los días.
We have to go out  every day.

Tenéis que hacer la compra.
You have to do the shopping.

Tienen que llegar a tiempo.
They have to arrive on time.

Note that when you use tener que + infinitivo it means to have to + infinitive.

You cannot omit que!

 

Examples and resources

Tenéis que hacer la compra.
You have to do the shopping.


Tiene que salir ahora.
He has to leave now.


Tenemos que salir todos los días.
We have to go out  every day.


Tengo que ir al colegio.
I have to go to school.


Tienes que comer sano.
You have to eat healthily.


Tienen que llegar a tiempo.
They have to arrive on time.


Q&A Forum 4 questions, 7 answers

LouieA1Kwiziq community member

Is the verb not conjugated whenever you're expressing obligation?

For example, 

Tengo que ir al colegio.

Instead of using "voy", ir was used. Why is that?

Thanks.

Asked 1 month ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Louie

With modal verbs we don't conjugate the main verb that comes after. You always need the infinitive.

What you need to conjugate is the modal/auxiliary verb.

Tengo que ir al colegio.

Debes ir al médico.

Quiero comprar un helado.

Saludos

Inma

Is the verb not conjugated whenever you're expressing obligation?

For example, 

Tengo que ir al colegio.

Instead of using "voy", ir was used. Why is that?

Thanks.

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NicoleB1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Reply to Alex's question

I was wondering if there was a reply to his question below:

"didn't need to (infinitive) & needn't have (past participle) are used to express the lack of necessity in the past, ..."

Asked 3 months ago
InmaKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hola Nicole

I am copying here what I replied to Alex (the answer was on a different thread):

For the first one "I didn't need to have an interview" we would say: 

Yo no necesitaba hacer la entrevista.

It is very straight forward in this case.

However, for the second one "I needn't have cooked dinner" we would either say:

Al final, no hacía falta hacer la cena.

or

Podía/Podría haberme ahorrado hacer la cena. 

This way you get the meaning of something you did but it wasn't necessary in the end.

I hope this helps.

Inma

NicoleB1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Muchas gracias Inma. 


Reply to Alex's question

I was wondering if there was a reply to his question below:

"didn't need to (infinitive) & needn't have (past participle) are used to express the lack of necessity in the past, ..."

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AlexanderA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Lack of necessity a postetiori

Hola))

What is a Spanish equivalent for needn't have (done)? 

Asked 1 year ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hi Alexander,

Could you give me a bit of context so I can be more accurate in my reply please?

Inma

AlexanderA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Hola Inma!

didn't need to (infinitive) & needn't have (past participle) are used to express the lack of necessity in the past, however

didn't need implies that the speaker didn't do something because he/she new that it was not necessary

needn't have means the speaker did something and then he/she knew that it had not been necessary

for example:

I didn't need to have an interview because I had worked there before

I needn't have cooked dinner. Just as it was ready, Chris and June phoned to say that they couldn't come to eat

(examples are taken from Advanced Grammar in Use by Martin Hewings)

How can I express it in Spanish?

Regards,

Alexander

Lack of necessity a postetiori

Hola))

What is a Spanish equivalent for needn't have (done)? 

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ElseA1Kwiziq community member

what's the difference between 'Tienes que comer sano'. and 'Il faut comer sano.'

Asked 1 year ago
GeneA1Kwiziq community member
Do you mean, "hace falta comer" or "il faut s'alimenter"? The difference is between obligation and necessity (or a want of something). https://www.thoughtco.com/expressing-obligation-spanish-3079893 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKFTh4tly38 There are instances where there is no difference in meaning: tenemos que ir rápido hace falta ir rápido
NicoleB1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

I don't know if Gene is still with you, but that was a brilliant suggestion to watch the youtube video.  I just watched it and it gives a really good sense of this subject. Well done. Nicole

what's the difference between 'Tienes que comer sano'. and 'Il faut comer sano.'

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Getting that for you now.