What's the difference between 'Tengo' and 'Estoy' in Spanish? I'm confused :O

I'm a beginner Spanish learner. Learning a new language is quite a challenge but at the same time it's interesting! I really need to know about the difference between 'tengo' and 'estoy'... both are translated as 'I'm' in English, so I'm a little confused. When do I use 'tengo' and when do I use 'estoy'!!!??? Please help!

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tylervitale4 years ago
I think you're referring to statements like: "tengo hambre" and "tengo sueño".(I´m hungry and I´m sleepy, respectively.)
The way I understand it is that "hambre" and "sueño" are not actually meant to mean "hungry" and "sleepy". What is actually being said is along the lines of "I have HUNGER" or "I have SLEEPINESS". Two states of being which you can indeed, possess. (if not temporarily)
I myself never really "learned" when to use which one. After practicing and listening, it eventually just became obvious which one to use depending on the situation.

To be honest though, reading through my comment has caused me to raise a question of my own: If I'm correct, then why WOULDN'T estar be used instead? If estar is used (among other things) to describe a temporary state of being, then why wouldn't estar be used for this purpose?
canucksgirl4 years ago
From my limited Spanish lessons...

Tengo: Is "I have" or "I plan"

Tengo un perro. = I have a dog.
Tengo planeado ir a Mexico = I plan to go to Mexico.

Estoy: Is "I am"

Estoy en Mexico. = I am in Mexico.
paplo4 years ago
Hi, well I think you misunderstand the verb translate. First in Spanish the "to be" verb is translated as 'ser' and 'estar' instead of 'tener' Wich is "to have" in english. In Spanish you can distinguish between "ser" and "estar" as state of being and calificative adjectives or location descriptions, for instance: "Yo soy bueno" (state) and "yo estoy en mi casa" (location). Very different of "tengo" Wich is "to have" more like a possessive verb. "tengo tres manzanas". I hope this helps you. greats :D
And people say English is confusing!!!!!
Don't even get me started on this. ;)
FoolishSage4 years ago
I dont speak spanish but portuguese gets quite close. If I understood correclty "Tengo" is "I have" and "Estoy" is "I am", usually related to a location or a state (I am here, I am hungry, etc)
Confirmed by google translate :)

I imagine there would be greater confusion with "estoy" and "soy" which google translate both converts to "am".

Soy relates to a permanent state of being (I am human)
Estoy relates to a temporary state of being (I am hungry)

Hope that helps
+1. That's what I was taught, too.