Two verbs that are very common and used in Portuguese are ter (to have) and ver (to see). Ter in particular can be used in many different situations. See the full conjugation in the present tense below:
The Verb Ter (to have)
you (all) have
Notice that the verb is actually irregular, as compared to the other — er verbs. But since it is so frequently used, it is learned very fast. The pronunciation for the third person singular tem (has) and plural têm (have) are exactly the same, as you might have noticed when listening to the CD. As in English, this verb conveys the notion of possession of or relationship to either a concrete or abstract entity. See the following examples.
A professora tem muitos alunos. (The teacher has a lot of students.)
Eu tenho um livro interessante. (I have an interesting book.)
Meus amigos têm meu número de telefone. (My friends have my phone number.)
A aluna tem uma prova amanhã. (The student has an exam tomorrow.)
Aside from expressing possession of or relationship to, this verb is also used when describing people, in sentences such as Ele tem olhos verdes (He has green eyes), and Ela tem cabelo castanho (She has brown hair), for example.
There is, also, an impersonal usage of ter. By impersonal we mean that there is no clear subject, and the sentence is normally translated as “there is/are.” This usage is also referred to as the “existential” use of ter. Use this verb when you want to report on what “exists” in some place or situation, as in the following sample sentences:
Tem um livro em cima da mesa. (There is a book on the table.)
Tem muitos alunos na sala de aula. (There are many students in the classroom.)
Tem muita gente no banco. (There are a lot of people in the bank.)
Tem uma padaria aqui perto. (There is a bakery near here.)
Notice that the verb does not change, regardless of the number of the noun that follows; it's always the third person singular form, tem.
Finally, the verb ter can be used within a structure to mean “obligation.” In this case, it is very similar to the structure in English “have to,” as in the examples that follow:
Obligation: Ter que + Verb
I have to eat vegetables.
assinar os documentos.
You have to sign the documents.
dormir oito horas.
We have to sleep eight hours.
Notice that the first verb, ter, is conjugated according to the person. The second verb is not conjugated — it's in the infinitive. Try to complete the following exercises using the verb ter (to have).
Exercise: Using Ter
Fill in the blanks with the correct form of the verb ter (to have). Check your answers in Appendix C.
Eu_______________________dois carros. (I have two cars.)
Minha amiga_______________________pouca paciência. (My friend has little patience.)
Nós_______________________uma casa no Rio. (We have a house in Rio.)
Eles não_______________________aula na sexta. (They don't have class on Friday.)
O menino_______________________olhos azuis. (The boy has blue eyes.)
_______________________duas janelas na sala. (There are two windows in the room.)
Exercise: I have to…
Write down two obligations, or things that you “have to do,” in the upcoming year. Follow the model below. Use some of the verbs and expressions in the box. If you need more words, check the English-Portuguese glossary or your dictionary.
Model: Eu tenho que estudar muito. (I have to study a lot.)