Verbs are words that describe an action, state of being, or occurrence. The usage of verbs in Spanish is quite complex and will take some time to master.
There are three categories of verbs in the Spanish language, ar, er, and ir verbs. The examples use the following verbs to represent the different categories:
- hablar - to speak
- comer - to eat
- vivir - to live
Verbs in Spanish have many different grammatical endings. Learning Spanish verbs can seem a bit daunting at first, but with a bit of practice, using the correct forms of the verbs will start to come naturally.
The present tense is used to indicate events that are currently happening, or to ask questions about current events, opinions, or asking permission. It is also used to express actions that take place regularly. The following table shows the present tense for the three categories of verbs.
|hablar (speak)||comer (eat)||vivir (live)|
Here are a few more common regular verbs.
|subir||to climb up|
Here are some examples showing how to use Spanish verbs in the present tense.
Note: Subject pronouns are often omitted in Spanish.
|Bebo un café.||I drink coffee.|
|¿Vives en Madrid?||Do you live in Madrid? (familiar singular)|
|Ellos comen la lasaña.||They eat the lasagna.|
|Llegamos a la puerta.||We are arriving at the gate.|
|Nunca me llaman por la mañana.||They never call me in the morning.|
|Nado en la playa.||I swim at the beach.|
|Alejandro vende su coche.||Alejandro is selling his car.|
In Spanish there are two words for the verb "be": estar and ser. Both of these verbs are irregular.
Ser is used to describe more permanent conditions, the location of an event, ownership, and also expressions of time. The following table shows the different forms of ser in the present tense.
|yo soy||I am|
|tú eres||you are (singular familiar)|
|él/ella es||he/she is|
|usted es||you are (singular polite)|
|nosotros somos||we are|
|vosotros sois||you are (familiar plural)|
|ustedes son||you are (formal plural)|
|ellas/ellos son||they are (f/m)|
|La casa es roja.||The house is red.|
|Él es de España.||He is from Spain.|
|Son las cuatro de la mañana.||It is four in the morning.|
|El concierto es en Barcelona.||The concert is in Barcelona.|
|¿Eres tú ingeniero?||Are you an engineer?|
|La idea es de Ana.||It is Anna's idea.|
Estar is used to describe location, health, and changing characteristics, such as mood or location. The following table shows the different forms of estar in the present tense.
|yo estoy||I am|
|tú estás||you are (singular familiar)|
|él/ella está||he/she is|
|usted está||you are (singular polite)|
|nosotros estamos||we are|
|vosotros estáis||you are (familiar plural)|
|ustedes están||you are (formal plural)|
|ellas/ellos están||they are (f/m)|
|Estoy cansado.||I am tired.|
|¿Estás cansado?||Are you tired?|
|¿Está usted cansado?||Are you tired? (polite)|
|Él está enfermo.||He is sick.|
|Ella está en casa.||She is at home.|
|El restaurante está en la ciudad.||The restaurant is in the city.|
|Ellos están en el restaurante.||They are in the restaurant.|
More Irregular Verbs
There are many Spanish verbs that are irregular in the present tense. This section covers some of the more common ones.
Ir (to go)
The verb ir is very common and very irregular. The following table shows the different forms of ir in the present tense.
|yo voy||I go|
|tú vas||you go (singular familiar)|
|él/ella va||he/she goes|
|usted va||you go (singular polite)|
|nosotros vamos||we go|
|vosotros vais||you go (familiar plural)|
|ustedes van||you go (formal plural)|
|ellas/ellos van||they go (f/m)|
|Voy al mercado.||I'm going to the market.|
|¿Quieres ir conmigo?||Do you want to go with me?|
Tener (to have)
The Spanish verb tener means to have. The first e often changes to ie. This is a common pattern with Spanish verbs in the present tense. The following table shows the different forms of tener in the present tense.
|yo tengo||I have|
|tú tienes||you have (singular familiar)|
|él/ella tiene||he/she has|
|usted tiene||you have (singular polite)|
|nosotros tenemos||we have|
|vosotros tenéis||you have (familiar plural)|
|ustedes tienen||you have (polite plural)|
|ellas/ellos tienen||they have (f/m)|
The verb tener is often used where be is used in English.
|Tengo miedo.||I am afraid.|
|¿Tienes frio?||Are you cold?|
|Pedro tiene hambre.||Pedro is hungry.|
|Maria tiene sed.||Maria is thirsty.|
|Tenemos prisa.||We are in a hurry.|
|Tienen suerte.||They are lucky.|
|¿Tienen éxito?||Are they successful?|
|Usted tiene las llaves.||You have the keys. (singular polite)|
venir (to come)
The Spanish verb venir means to come. It is conjugated in a similar maner to tener. The following table shows the different forms of venir in the present tense.
|yo vengo||I come|
|tú vienes||you come (singular familiar)|
|él/ella viene||he/she comes|
|usted viene||you come (singular polite)|
|nosotros venimos||we come|
|vosotros venís||you come (familiar plural)|
|ustedes vienen||you come (formal plural)|
|ellas/ellos vienen||they come (f/m)|
|Ella viene a las tres.||She's coming at three.|
|Vengo de Ecuador.||I'm from Ecuador.|
dormir (to sleep)
The Spanish verb dormir means to sleep. In several forms of the present tense the o is changed to ue. There are many other verbs that follow this pattern. The following table shows the different forms of dormir in the present tense.
|yo duermo||I sleep|
|tú duermes||you sleep (singular familiar)|
|él/ella duerme||he/she sleeps|
|usted duerme||you sleep (singular polite)|
|nosotros dormimos||we sleep|
|vosotros dormís||you sleep (familiar plural)|
|ustedes duermen||you sleep (formal plural)|
|ellas/ellos duermen||they sleep (f/m)|
|María duerme hasta las nueve.||María sleeps until nine.|
|Duermo por ocho horas.||I sleep for eight hours.|
Reflexive verbs are verbs whose subject and object refer to the same thing. In Spanish these verbs are used with reflexive pronouns. In the infinitive form of the verb, the reflexive pronoun is appended to the end of the verb. The following table shows the conjugation of reflexive verbs.
sentarse - to sit (oneself) down
|yo me siento||I sit down|
|tú te sientas||you sit down|
|él se sienta||he sits down|
|ella se sienta||she sits down|
|usted se sienta||you sit down (polite singular)|
|nosotros nos sentamos||we sit down|
|ustedes se sientan||you sit down (plural)|
|ellos/ellas se sientan||they sit down|
Note: The subject pronoun is usually omitted with reflexive verbs.
Common Reflexive Verbs
|acostarse||to go to bed|
|bañarse||to have a bath|
|cepillarse||to brush oneself|
|despertarse||to wake up|
|dormirse||to fall asleep|
|ducharse||to have a shower|
|lavarse||to wash oneself|
|levantarse||we get up early|
|llamarse||to call oneself|
|peinarse||to comb ones hair|
|ponerse||to put on|
|quitarse||to take off|
|secarse||to dry off|
|Me llamo Martín.||My name is Martin.|
|Me acuesto tarde.||I go to bed late.|
|Se duermen temprano.||They fall asleep early.|
|Se afeita por la mañana.||He shaves in the morning.|
|Nos despertamos temprano.||We wake up early.|
This section contains flashcards to help you learn the present tense of Spanish verbs.
The Spanish Word Hay
In Spanish the word hay is used to say both there is and there are when used to indicate existence. When there is is used to emphasize the location of an object está allí is used instead.
|Hay un libro sobre la mesa.||There is a book on the table.|
|Hay dos libros sobre la mesa.||There are two books on the table.|
|¿Hay un libro sobre la mesa?||Is there a book on the table?|
|Hay muchos problemas.||There are many problems.|
|El libro está allí.||The book is there.|
|Los libros están allí.||The books are there.|
Note: Problema is one of the few masculine nouns in Spanish that ends in a.
Write the sentence using the present tense of the Spanish verb for the verb in parentheses.
Ana ___ una manzana. (eats)
___ una camisa nueva. (I have)
¿___ español? (Do they speak)
___ en el lago. (We swim)
Martín ___ un nuevo libro. (writes)
This quiz covers the present tense of the verbs included in this lesson. You can take the quiz as many times as you'd like. Each time the questions will be a bit different.