Talking about family and pets in Spanish using 'tener' and 'ser'

Describing family members

You can ask someone to describe their family by saying describe tu familia (describe your family).

You can then reply by saying:

  • En mi familia hay… 'In my family there is…' followed by different family members.

For example:

  • Describe tu familia - Describe your family.

  • En mi familia hay mi padre, mi madrastra y mi hermanastra - In my family there is my father, my step-mother and my step-sister.

  • También tengo tres abuelos, una tía y tres primas - I also have three grandparents, an aunt and three (female) cousins.

  • Cuido de mi hermano menor - I care for my younger brother.

Have a look at this vocabulary list to see more useful words you can use to talk about your family:

SpanishEnglish
En mi familia hay...In my family there is...
cuido de…I care for
mi padremy dad
mi madremy mum
mis padresmy parents
mis padres adoptivos/mis padres de acogidamy foster parents
mi hermano (menor)my (younger) brother
mi hermana (mayor)my (older) sister
mi padrastromy step-dad
mi madrastramy step-mum
mi hermanastromy step-brother
mi hermanastramy step-sister
mi medio hermanomy half brother
mi media hermanamy half sister
mi abuelomy grandfather
mi abuelamy grandmother
mis abuelosmy grandparents
mi tíomy uncle
mi tíamy aunt
mi primomy cousin (male)
mi primamy cousin (female)
Mi familia

Describing family members

You will need to use the word ‘my’ when talking about the different people in your family. There are two words for ‘my’ in Spanish: mi (singular) and mis (plural).

For example:

  • Mi padre es alto - My dad is tall.

  • Mis padres son altos - My parents are tall.

Name and age

Use verbs in the third person to say someone’s name and age.

A verb is a ‘doing’ word or an action, for example ‘play’, ‘run’, ‘read’.

Use se llama to say what someone (he or she) is called and use tiene (he/she has, from the verb 'to have' to talk about his or her age.

For example:

  • Mi madrastra se llama Lisa - My step-mum is called Lisa.

  • Paco tiene cuarenta años - Paco is forty years old.

  • Mi media hermana se llama Olivia y tiene doce años - My half-sister is called Olivia and she is twelve years old.

If you are talking about more than one person, you will need to use se llaman (they are called) to say what more than one person is called and tienen (they have) to talk about their age.

For example:

  • Mis hermanos se llaman Lucas y José y tienen trece y catorce años - My brothers are called Lucas and José and they are thirteen and fourteen years old.

Now think about how you can describe the names and ages of different people in your family, using the key verbs from the table below:

SpanishEnglish
se llamahe/she is called
tiene … añoshe/she is … years old
se llamanthey are called
tienen … añosthey are … years old

Describing where family members live

Use the third person singular or plural of the verb vivir (to live) to talk about where different people live. Use vive (he/she lives) or viven (they live).

For example:

  • ¿Dónde vive tu tío? - Where does your uncle live?

  • Mi tío vive en Kent - My uncle lives in Kent.

  • ¿Dónde viven tus abuelos? - Where do your grandparents live?

  • Mis abuelos viven en Newcastle - My grandparents live in Newcastle.

Look at the table below and use the language to help you describe where your family members live.

SpanishEnglish
¿Dónde vive?Where does he/she live?
Vive en…He/she lives in…
¿Dónde viven?Where do they live?
Viven en…They live in…

Relationships

To ask about relationships, ask ¿Te llevas bien con…? (Do you get on well with…?) followed by a family member.

For example:

  • ¿Te llevas bien con tus padres? - Do you get on well with your parents?

When you reply, you need to make sure that adjectives used to describe people change to the masculine or feminine form depending on who is being described.

For example:

  • Me llevo bien con mi madre porque es generosa - I get on well with my mother because she is generous.

  • Sin embargo, no me llevo bien con mi hermana porque es molesta - However, I don't get on well with my sister because she is annoying.

Adjectives are words used to describe people, places or things.

Use these helpful words in the table below to talk about your family.

SpanishEnglish
me llevo (muy) bien con...I get on (very) well with...
no me llevo (muy) bien con...I don't get on (very) well with...
porque es...because he/she is...
simpático/afriendly
generoso/agenerous
gracioso/afunny
molesto/aannoying

You can also use intensifiers to make your language more interesting.

For example:

  • Mi hermano es muy simpático - My brother is very nice.

  • Mis padres son un poco estrictos - My parents are a bit strict.

SpanishEnglish
muyvery
un pocoa bit
bastantequite
demasiadotoo (much)

Pets

To find out whether someone has a pet, ask:

  • ¿Qué animales tienes en casa? - What pets do you have at home?

And reply with En casa tengo… (At home I have…) followed by the pets you have.

For example:

  • En casa tengo un perro y dos conejos - At home I have a dog and two rabbits.
¿Qué animales tienes en casa?

If you don’t have any pets, you can say:

  • No tengo animales, pero me gustaría tener un gato - I don’t have any pets, but I would like to have a cat.

Have a look at this slideshow to see how you can say what pets you have in Spanish

A Jack Russell dog lying on a patch of grass

Tengo un perro - I have a dog

1 of 6

Have a look at this downloadable vocabulary list to see more useful words to talk about your family and any pets you have

Family members and pets
document

Quiz

Find out how much you know about family and pets in Spanish with this short quiz!

Where next?

Discover more from around Bitesize.

Game - FestiLingo: Spanish
game
Describing people in Spanish using 'tener' and 'ser'
How to use the verb 'to be' in Spanish by practising 'ser' and 'estar'
KS3 Spanish