The Spanish Present Tense
The present tense in Spanish is used to express both the English simple present (I speak) and the English continuous present form (I am speaking).
- Nosotros comemos
- We eat or we are eating
- Yo leo
- I read or I am reading
Like in English, the present tense in Spanish can also be used to describe something happening in the future.
- Ella trabaja mañana
- She works tomorrow
To conjugate verbs you replace the last two letters of the infinitive (ar, er, or ir) depending on who is performing the action. The verb stem is the part of the infinitve that stays the same.
habl + ar = hablar
com + er = comer
viv + ir = vivir
To conjugate regular -ar verbs in the present tense add the following endings to the verb stem:
|Example - hablar / to speak|
|vosotros||habláis||you (all) speak|
In Spanish you do not usually need to use the pronoun (yo, tú, Ud, etc), because the verb ending indicates who the verb refers to. You can simply use hablo (I speak), hablamos (we speak) etc.
Only use the pronouns if the meaning is ambiguous, or for emphasis.
To conjugate regular -er verbs in the present tense, drop the ending and add the following:
|Example - correr / to run|
|vosotros||corréis||you (all) run|
Ir verbs are conjugated the same as -er verbs except in the nosotros and vosotros forms:
|Example - vivir / to live|
|vosotros||vivís||you (all) live|
Some verbs do not follow these rules and must be learned individually. Unfortunately many of the most common verbs are irregular. Here are the most important ones, click on a verb to see the conjugations.
* These verbs are only irregular in the 1st person (yo) form.
|Ser||to be (permanent quality)|
|Estar||to be (temporary states, locations)|
|Hacer*||to do, to make|
|Poder||to be able (can)|