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.
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:
|En mi familia hay...||In my family there is...|
|cuido de…||I care for|
|mi padre||my dad|
|mi madre||my mum|
|mis padres||my parents|
|mis padres adoptivos/mis padres de acogida||my foster parents|
|mi hermano (menor)||my (younger) brother|
|mi hermana (mayor)||my (older) sister|
|mi padrastro||my step-dad|
|mi madrastra||my step-mum|
|mi hermanastro||my step-brother|
|mi hermanastra||my step-sister|
|mi medio hermano||my half brother|
|mi media hermana||my half sister|
|mi abuelo||my grandfather|
|mi abuela||my grandmother|
|mis abuelos||my grandparents|
|mi tío||my uncle|
|mi tía||my aunt|
|mi primo||my cousin (male)|
|mi prima||my cousin (female)|
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).
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.
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.
- 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:
|se llama||he/she is called|
|tiene … años||he/she is … years old|
|se llaman||they are called|
|tienen … años||they 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).
¿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.
|¿Dónde vive?||Where does he/she live?|
|Vive en…||He/she lives in…|
|¿Dónde viven?||Where do they live?|
|Viven en…||They live in…|
To ask about relationships, ask ¿Te llevas bien con…? (Do you get on well with…?) followed by a family member.
- ¿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.
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.
|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...|
You can also use intensifiers to make your language more interesting.
Mi hermano es muy simpático - My brother is very nice.
Mis padres son un poco estrictos - My parents are a bit strict.
|un poco||a bit|
Talking about 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.
- En casa tengo un perro y dos conejos - At home I have a dog and two rabbits.
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
Have a look at this downloadable vocabulary list to see more useful words to talk about your family and any pets you have
Find out how much you know about family and pets in Spanish with this short quiz!