The Italian verb tenere means to hold or to keep.
Meaning: to hold
Tengo il libro in mano.
I am holding the book in my hand.
Meaning: to keep
Tieni la porta chiusa.
Keep the door closed.
Meaning: to have
Teniamo una festa stasera.
We are having a party tonight.
Meaning: to maintain
Tiene sempre pulita la sua casa.
She always keeps her house clean.
Meaning: to support
Ti tengo le spalle.
I've got your back.
A1: Io tengo la penna in mano.
I am holding the pen in my hand.
A2: Tieni la porta aperta, per favore.
Keep the door open, please.
A2: Non tengo molto denaro con me.
I don't have much money with me.
B1: Ho tenuto il segreto per mesi prima di parlarne.
I kept the secret for months before talking about it.
B2: Ti tenevo d'occhio mentre parlavi con lui.
I was keeping an eye on you while you were talking to him.
B2: Se non ti tiene sveglio, prova a bere un caffè forte.
If it doesn't keep you awake, try drinking a strong coffee.
C1: Avevo tenuto il biglietto del concerto come ricordo.
I had kept the concert ticket as a souvenir.
C2: Se avessi tenuto le promesse fatte, ora non saresti in questa situazione.
If you had kept the promises made, you wouldn't be in this situation now.
C2: Tenendo conto delle circostanze, credo che sia meglio rimandare la decisione.
Taking into account the circumstances, I think it's better to postpone the decision.
Tenere is a versatile verb in Italian that can be used in many different contexts. One of its most common uses is to indicate physical holding or keeping of an object. For example, 'tenere la penna' means 'to hold the pen', while 'tenere la porta chiusa' means 'to keep the door closed'.
However, tenere can also be used in more abstract senses. For instance, it can indicate emotional holding or keeping, as in 'tenere molto alla famiglia' (to care a lot about one's family). It can also be used to express concepts like control or restraint, as in 'tenere sotto controllo' (to keep under control) or 'tenere a freno' (to hold back).
In addition to its various meanings, tenere is a highly irregular verb that requires careful study and memorization. Its conjugation changes significantly depending on the tense and subject pronoun, so it is important for Italian learners to practice using it in context.