The Spanish Present Tense

Uses

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

Conjugations

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.

stem + ending = infinitive
habl + ar = hablar
com + er = comer
viv + ir = vivir

-Ar Verbs

To conjugate regular -ar verbs in the present tense add the following endings to the verb stem:

yo -o
-as
él/ella/Ud. -a
nosotros -amos
vosotros -áis
ellos/ellas/Uds. -an
Example - hablar / to speak
yo hablo I speak
hablas you speak
él habla he speaks
nosotros hablamos we speak
vosotros habláis you (all) speak
ellos hablan they speak
Note

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.


-Er Verbs

To conjugate regular -er verbs in the present tense, drop the ending and add the following:

yo -o
-es
él/ella/Ud. -e
nosotros -emos
vosotros -éis
ellos/ellas/Uds. -en
Example - correr / to run
yo corro I run
corres you run
Ud. corre you run
nosotros corremos we run
vosotros corréis you (all) run
ellos corren they run

-Ir Verbs

Ir verbs are conjugated the same as -er verbs except in the nosotros and vosotros forms:

yo -o
-es
él/ella/Ud. -e
nosotros -imos
vosotros -ís
ellos/ellas/Uds. -en
Example - vivir / to live
yo vivo I live
vives you live
él vive he lives
nosotros vivimos we live
vosotros vivís you (all) live
ellos viven they live

Irregular Verbs

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.

Serto be (permanent quality)
Estarto be (temporary states, locations)
Tenerto have
Hacer*to do, to make
Poderto be able (can)
Decirto say
Irto go
Verto see
Darto give
Saber*to know
Quererto want
Poner*to put

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