The Present Tense in Spanish: the 101 Guide

Present tense in Spanish is commonly used to talk about current events, actions, and routines, and to state universal truths, facts, and hypotheticals. These verb conjugations can happen using 3 different verb endings: -ar, -er, -ir.

Whether you are learning Spanish grammar on your own, or by taking online Spanish courses, there is a lot of practice and memorization required to understand how to use Spanish conjugations of verbs for the present tense correctly.

Spanish Present Tense – Regular Verbs

With present tense in Spanish words, regular verbs will only have their ending part changed (the -ar, -er or -ir part) depending on who does the action. However, in English, there is a different ending for each subject (pronoun).

Regular Verbs Ending in -ar

To conjugate an “-ar” verb, you would remove the infinitive ending “-ar” and add the ending that matches the subject. This is applicable for all verbs ending in “-ar” and not applicable to verbs ending in “-er” and “-ir”.

Present Tense Ending for -ar Verbs

Here is a Spanish conjugation chart of present tense endings for -ar verbs using the “ayudar” (meaning to help). The root word of “ayudar” is “ayud” (help). See how the “-ar” made this a present tense action?

Subject -ar ending Ayudar (to help) English Translation
yo (i) -o ayudo I help
tú (you (informal)) -as ayudas you (informal) help
el / ella / usted (he/she) -a ayuda he/she help
ellos / ellas / ustedes (we ) -an ayudan we help
nosotros (they) -amos ayudamos they help

 

Examples of -ar inthe  present tense in other verbs:
  • Hablar (Speak): Hablo (I speak)
  • Amar (Love): Amamos (they love)
  • Aceptar (Accept): Aceptas (you accept)

Regular Verbs Ending in -er

To conjugate an “-er” verb, you would remove the infinitive ending “-er” and add the ending that matches the subject. This is applicable for all verbs ending in “-er” and not applicable to verbs ending in “-ar” and “-ir”.

Present Tense Ending for -er Verbs

Here is an example of the present tense in Spanish for verbs ending in “-er” using the “beber” (meaning to drink). The root word of “beber” is “beb” (drink).

Subject -er ending Beber (to drink) English Translation
yo (i) -o bebo I drink
tú (you (informal)) -as bebes you (informal) drink
el / ella / usted (he/she) -a bebe he/she drinks
ellos / ellas / ustedes (we ) -an beben we drink
nosotros (they) -amos bebemos they drink

 

Examples of -er in the present tense in other verbs:
  • Comer (eat): Como (I eat)
  • Coser (sew): Cosas (you sew)
  • Correr (run): Corra (we run)

Regular Verbs Ending in -ir

To conjugate an “-ir” verb, you would remove the infinitive ending “-ir” and add the ending that matches the subject. This is applicable for all forms of “-ir” and not applicable to verbs ending in “-ar” and “-er”.

Present Tense Ending for -ir Verbs

Here is an example of present tense endings for -ir verbs using the “dormir” (meaning to sleep). The root word of “dormir” is “dorm” (sleep).

Subject -ir ending Dormir (to sleep) English Translation
yo (i) -o duermo I sleep
tú (you (informal)) -as duermes you (informal) sleep
el / ella / usted (he/she) -a duerme he/she sleep
ellos / ellas / ustedes (we ) -an duermen we sleep
nosotros (they) -amos dormimos they sleep

 

It is important to note that in Spanish writing, the only difference between “-er” verbs and “-ir” verb endings is when you use nosotros (we) and vosotros (you/plural/informal). The subject pronoun (yo, tú, nosotros) is omitted before the verb since you would usually know who the subject (the person doing the action) is because of the verb’s ending.

Examples of -ir in the present tense in other verbs:
  • Vivir (live): Vivo (you live)
  • Subir (to go up): Suban (we drink)
  • Decir (say): Decas (you say/ you tell)

Spanish Present Tense – Irregular Verbs

Source: Pexels         

 

Verbs can provide a complex element to the language and while there are set rules for regular verb conjugations for the present tense in Spanish, there are also irregular verbs that don’t follow the same common grammar pattern. Examples of irregular verbs are “tener” and “hacer”. Want to learn more Spanish descriptions, check out adjectives in Spanish.

Present Tense Irregular Verbs – Tener

Tener is translated to “have” in English

Subject Tener English Translation
yo (i) tengo I have
tú (you (informal)) tienes you (informal) have
el / ella / usted (he/she) tiene he/she has
ellos / ellas / ustedes (we ) tienen we have
nosotros (they) tenemos they have

 

Examples of using present tense in the tener irregular verb:
  • Yo tengo 18 años – I’m 18 years old.
  • Yo tengo un plan – I have a plan.
  • Él tiene un coche -He has a car.

Present Tense Irregular Verbs – Hacer

Hacer is translated to “do” in English

Subject Hacer English Translation
yo (i) hago I do
tú (you (informal)) haces you (informal) do
el / ella / usted (he/she) hace he/she does
ellos / ellas / ustedes (we ) hacen we do
nosotros (they) hacemos they do

 

Examples of using present tense in other irregular verbs:
  • Hacer (to do)- Yo hago mis tareas I do my homework).
  • Poner (to put) – Yo pongo la leche en el refrigerador (I put the milk in the refrigerator.).
  • Salir (to go out)- Yo salgo con mis amigos. (I go out with my friends)
Source: Pexels

 

Got the hang of Present Tense Spanish?

We hope you have gotten the hang of the common present tense Spanish rules with regular verbs and also irregular verbs. With common words and examples translated to help you understand its application in daily situations, you should feel much more comfortable knowing when and who to use the “-ar”, “-er”, and “-ir” verb conjugations.

Now that you have a better idea of how to use the present tense in Spanish, it’s time to learn conversational Spanish and find new ways how to learn Spanish! Are you interested in taking the next step in your Spanish language learning journey? Come visit AmazingTalker to find an affordable and professional Spanish tutor who will personalize your learning needs to ensure you are learning with convenience and quality. See you there!

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