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Learn Spanish: Conjugating Present Tense Verbs

Learn Spanish Grammar

Spanish Pronunciation
Spanish Gender and Articles
Spanish Subject Pronouns
Spanish Verb Ser
Spanish Plural Nouns and Adjectives
Calendar in Spanish
Spanish Cardinal and Ordinal Numbers
Spanish Prepositions
Telling Time in Spanish
Spanish Verb Hay
Spanish Verbs Present Tense

Spanish Verb Ir
Spanish Verb Tener

Spanish Verb Estar
Ser
vs. Estar

Spanish Possessive Adjectives
Spanish Possessive Pronouns
Spanish Stem-Changing Verbs
Spanish Prepositions Por vs. Para
Spanish Demonstratives
Spanish Direct Object Pronouns
Spanish Indirect Object Pronoun
Direct + Indirect Object Pronouns
Spanish Verb Gustar
Weather in Spanish
Spanish Reflexive Verbs (coming soon)
Spanish Verb Acabar
Spanish Verb Volver
Spanish Past Tense - Pretérito
Spanish Informal Commands
Spanish Plural Familiar Commands
Spanish Nosotros Commands (coming soon)

Spanish Past Tense - Imperfecto
Preterit vs. Imperfect
Spanish Past Participles
Spanish Present Perfect Tense
Spanish Past Perfect Tense
Spanish Formal Commands
Spanish Subjunctive Mood
Spanish Future Tense
Spanish Conditional Tense

 

 

 

Learn Spanish: The Present Tense (El presente)

 

In Spanish, there are 3 types of ending that a verb can have:

-ar
-er
-ir
hablar (to speak)
comer (to eat)
vivir (to live)

All regular Spanish verbs are conjugated by adding personal endings that reflect the subject doing the action. These are added to the stem (raíz) after deleting the infinitive ending.

In the present tense or "indicative" a verb can signify one of the following three things:

Yo hablo español.
I speak Spanish.
I do speak Spanish.
I am speaking Spanish.

In Spanish the personal pronoun (yo/tú /nosotros/vosotros) are not needed since each personal ending changes.

Only usted/él/ ella/ustedes/ellos/ellas should be used in order to clarify when needed.

Verbs: -ar endings

These are the endings for -ar regular verbs:

yo
-o
-as
él/ella/usted
-a
nosotros
-amos
vosotros
-áis
ellos/ellas/ustedes
-an

The present tense of the verb Hablar is formed by adding the personal endings to the stem habl_

Personal Pronoun
Conjugated Verb
Translation
yo hablo I speak
hablas You speak
usted habla You speak
él, ella habla He/She speaks
nosotros hablamos We speak
vosotros habláis You speak
ustedes hablan You speak
ellos, ellas hablan They speak

Here are some common and important -ar regular verbs in their infinitive form:

Bailar ( to dance)
Mirar (to watch)
Buscar (to look for )
Necesitar (to need)
Cantar (to sing)
Pagar (to pay)
Comprar (to buy)
Practicar (to practice)
Conversar (to chat)
Tomar (to take/drink)
Estudiar (to study)
Trabajar (to work)

 

Verbs: -er and - ir endings

The present tense of -er and -ir verbs is formed by adding personal endings to the stem (the infinitive minus its-er/-ir ending).

The personal endings for -er and -ir verbs are the same except for the first and second person plural.

-er verb (comer)
-ir verb (vivir)
yo como yo vivo
comes vives
usted come usted vive
él/ella come él/ella vive
nosotros comemos nosotros vivimos
vosotros coméis vosotros vivís
ustedes comen ustedes viven
ellos/ellas comen ellos/ellas viven

There are some common and important -er and -ir regular verbs in their infinitive form:

Aprender (to learn)
Asistir a (to attend)
Beber (to drink)
Escribir (to write)
Creer (to believe)
Describir (to describe)
Comprender (to understand)
Partir (to split)
Deber (+ infinitive) (should)
Recibir (to receive)
Leer (to read)
Vivir (to live)

*** Note that there are some present tense verbs that are only irregular in the first person singular (yo). The rest of the personal pronouns are conjugated in the regular form as shown in the charts above. The following verbs require memorization of the first person (yo) conjugation:

Infinitive Form
First Person (Yo)
Translation
conocer conozco I know, I am familiar with
dar doy I give
estar estoy I am
hacer hago I do, I make
saber I know
salir salgo I am leaving, I am going out
ver veo I see