Home page / Página principal
[ENGLISH]Have you found an error or do you want to add more information to these pages?
You can contact me at the bottom of the home page.
[ESPAÑOL] ¿Ha encontrado un error o tiene información adicional?
Puede mandarme un mensaje al final de la página principal

Basic Present Tense

A verb is something you can put ‘to’ in front of. A regular verb is a verb that has regular endings and its forms are easily guessed. Irregular verbs have to be learned separately but they often have patterns in there too. Patterns are good because it means that there are less things to learn.
Technically, there are three types of verbs. Most that end in AR, some that end in ER and some that end in IR but for regular verbs (and verbs that sound regular when you say them) you just need to decide whether a verb ends in AR or it doesn't. Remember that you take off the last two letters of the verb and add the ending.
Here are the regular endings:
AR verb Not AR
yo o o
(familiar) tú as es
él / ella / usted a e
nosotros replace r with mos
(familiar) vosotros replace mos with is
ellos / ellas / ustedes an en
Hablar = to speak, habla = she speaks
Comer = to eat, comes = you eat
Vivir = to live, viven = they eat

but what about nosotros and vosotros?
You take the r from almost any verb and replace it with mos e.g.
llamar = we call, llamamos = we call
entender = to understand, entendemos = we understand
escribir = to write, escribimos = we write
The nosotros form ALWAYS ends in mos.

The vosotros form is quite simple in speech, but more difficult to write it. You can easily convert the nosotros form to the vosotros form by replacing the 'mos' with 'is' whilst keeping the stress in the same place. If you are writing it then you need to decide whether it requires a stress mark to force the stress in the same place. Some examples:
firmar = to sign, firmamos = we sign, firmáis = you all sign
convencer = to convince, convencemos = we convince, convencéis = you all convince
dormir = to sleep, dormimos = we sleep, dormís = you all sleep (notice that there aren't any verbs that have 'ii' because it makes no difference to the sound)

A reminder of the Subject Pronouns

yo - I nosotros / nosotras – we
tú – you (familiar) vosotros / vosotras – you all (familiar)
él  / ella – he / she ellos / ellas – they or you all (polite)
usted – you (polite) ustedes – you all (polite)

Notice that there are feminine versions of some of these words - nosotras, vosotras and ellas. If you ever need to use them, you use them when the group of people that you’re talking about are all female. If there’s at least one male, you use the masculine versions (nosotros, vosotros and ellos) for example, when you’re talking to a couple and one of them says “my sisters are back from their holiday” then you can say “¿Cómo están ellas?” = “how are they?”
(In this rare example, “¿Cómo están?” could mean “how are you two?” so you want to clarify that you’re referring to his sisters)
In books, you may see the short versions of some of these words. They are:
Usted = Ud. or Vd.
Ustedes = Uds. or Vds.

Some common example verbs

Note: e→ie verb means that you can guess all the endings like a regular verb but if you stress the ‘e’ then it splits in to ie (like entender) but be aware that there are a few verbs that are irregular that also have this change (like tener).
There are also some verbs (both regular and irregular) that act like this with the letter o. When the letter o is stressed, it splits in to ue.
There isn't a rule that predicts which verbs do this and which don't.

Ser - to be (permanently)
yo soy I am
(familiar) tú eres you are
él / ella / usted es he / she / you are
nosotros somos we are
(familiar) vosotros sois you all are
ellos / ellas / ustedes son they / you all are
Soy de Inglaterra. = I’m from England.
Soy inglés. = I’m English
Estar - to be (temporarily)
yo estoy I am
(familiar) tú estás you are
él / ella / usted está he / she / you are
nosotros estamos we are
(familiar) vosotros estáis you all are
ellos / ellas / ustedes están they / you all are
¿Cómo está? = How are you?
llamar - to call (regular verb)
yo llamo I call
(familiar) tú llamas you call
él / ella / usted llama he / she / you call
nosotros llamamos we call
(familiar) vosotros llamáis you all call
ellos / ellas / ustedes llaman they / you all call
me llamo Miguel = I call myself Miguel
(or "mi nombre es Miguel = my name is Miguel")
¿Cómo se llama? = How do you call yourself? (What's you name?) cómo = how.
Another way is to say
mi nombre es ... = my name is ...

Te llamo mañana = I'll call you tomorrow (literally: I call you tomorrow - you can use the present tense for the future)
Apellidarse - to be surnamed (regular verb)
yo appellido I am surnamed
(familiar) tú appellidas you are surnamed
él / ella / usted appellida he / she / you are surnamed
nosotros appellidamos we are surnamed
(familiar) vosotros appellidáis you all are surnamed
ellos / ellas / ustedes appellidan they / you all are surnamed
The 'se' bit shows that it's a '-self' verb e.g. sit yourself down, behave yourself etc. (technically called a reflexive verb).
This verb doesn't easily translate in to English but it does act the same way as llamar does.
¿Cómo se apellida? = How are you surnamed? (What is your surname?) - remember cómo means how.
me apellido García = I am surnamed García
se apellida García = he / she is surnamed García
Beware! - apellido can mean 'surname' e.g. el apellido = the surname, los apellidos = the surnames so:
mi = my
me = me, to me, from me
mi apellido es García = (literally) my surname is García
me apellido García = I am surnamed García
Tener - to have (something)
yo tengo I have
(familiar) tú tienes you have
él / ella / usted tiene he / she / you have
nosotros tenemos we have
(familiar) vosotros tenéis you all have
ellos / ellas / ustedes tienen they / you all have
¿Tienes un hermano? = Do you have a brother?
Hacer - to do / make
yo hago I do
(familiar) tú haces you do
él / ella / usted hace he / she / you do
nosotros hacemos we do
(familiar) vosotros hacéis you all do
ellos / ellas / ustedes hacen they / you all do
¿Puede hacerlo? = Can you do it?
Ir - to go
yo voy I go
(familiar) tú vas you go
él / ella / usted va he / she / you go
nosotros vamos we go
(familiar) vosotros vais you all go
ellos / ellas / ustedes van they / you all go
Voy al cine = I'm going to the cinema
Hablar - to speak (regular verb)
yo hablo I speak
(familiar) tú hablas you speak
él / ella / usted habla he / she / you speak
nosotros hablamos we speak
(familiar) vosotros habláis you all speak
ellos / ellas / ustedes hablan they / you all speak
¿Habla inglés? = Do you speak English?
Poder - can / to be able
yo puedo I can
(familiar) tú puedes you can
él / ella / usted puede he / she / you can
nosotros podemos we can
(familiar) vosotros podéis you all can
ellos / ellas / ustedes pueden they / you all can
No puedo encontrar mi reloj = I can't find my watch
Vivir - to live (regular verb)
yo vivo I live
(familiar) tú vives you live
él / ella / usted vive he / she / you live
nosotros vivimos we live
(familiar) vosotros vivís you all live
ellos / ellas / ustedes viven they / you all live
¿Dónde vive? = Where do you live?
Entender - to understand (e→ie)
yo entiendo I understand
(familiar) tú entiendes you understand
él / ella / usted entiende
he / she / you understand
nosotros entendemos we understand
(familiar) vosotros entendéis you all understand
ellos / ellas / ustedes entienden they / you all understand
No (te) entiendo = I don't understand (you)
Dar - to give / donate
yo doy I give
(familiar) tú das you give
él / ella / usted da
he / she / you give
nosotros damos we give
(familiar) vosotros dais you all give
ellos / ellas / ustedes dan they / you all give
Quiero dártelo = I want to give it to you
Querer - to want / love (partner, parents, friends)
yo quiero I want
(familiar) tú quieres you want
él / ella / usted quiere
he / she / you want
nosotros queremos we want
(familiar) vosotros queréis you all want
ellos / ellas / ustedes quieren they / you all want
Te quiero = I love you
Quiero que lo hagan = I want them to do it
Quisiera un café por favor = I would like a coffee please
(Note that quisiera is in a different tense)
Perder - to loose (e→ie)
yo pierdo I lose
(familiar) tú pierdes you lose
él / ella / usted pierde
he / she / you lose
nosotros perdemos we lose
(familiar) vosotros perdéis you all lose
ellos / ellas / ustedes pierden they / you all lose
No quiero perder el tren = I don't want to miss the train
Comer - to eat (regular verb)
yo como I eat
(familiar) tú comes you eat
él / ella / usted come
he / she / you eat
nosotros comemos we eat
(familiar) vosotros coméis you all eat
ellos / ellas / ustedes comen they / you all eat
¿Comemos algo ahora? = Shall we eat something now?
Note that 'como' is also used for other meanings and just happens to be the same as 'I eat'
Venir - to come
yo vengo I come
(familiar) tú vienes you come
él / ella / usted viene
he / she / you come
nosotros venimos we come
(familiar) vosotros venís you all come
ellos / ellas / ustedes vienen they / you all come
Viene a las diez = He's coming at 10:00

Uses of the Present Tense

This can be used to describe something that you do as a habit:
Todos los días patino a las diez = I skate every day at ten o'clock

or an ongoing action (in the present)
Mi hermano trabaja en la cocina = My brother is working in the kitchen
Notice that this tense can cover "he swims in the pool" and "he is swimming in the pool".

The present tense can also describe some aspects of the future and past. To express the future, you can say "going to" like in English, use the present tense or use the future tense
So a common way is to say something like "voy a ver a Antonio = I'm going to see Antonio"

or you can say something in the present but also say a time such as next week, next year etc.
Me quedo hasta el fin de semana = I'm staying until the weekend
Te llamo esta noche a las once = I'll call you tonight at eleven
This gives a pre-arranged feeling to the sentence

This also is used to talk about something that started in the past but is continuing to the present
¿Cuánto (tiempo) hace que patina? = How long have you been skating?
Hace un año que patino = I've been skating for a year (and you still are)
¿Desde cuánto estudia español? = Since when have you been studying Spanish?
Estudio español desde hace dos años = I have been studying Spanish for two years (and you still are)
Note that the use of 'hacer' is formal. For a more detailed explanantion on time use, See this article

[ENGLISH]Have you found an error or do you want to add more information to these pages?
You can contact me at the bottom of the home page.

[ESPAÑOL] ¿Ha encontrado un error o tiene información adicional?
Puede mandarme un mensaje al final de la página principal

Home page / Página principal