Spanish Present Tense Forms
The Spanish simple present tense (el presente or el presente del indicativo) can be used to talk about habitual actions, routines, things happening now or in the near future, universal truths, facts, hypotheticals, lapses of time, and for ordering in restaurants and stores.
Regular Present Indicative Forms
Below you'll find instructions for forming regular verbs in the present tense, including the endings you need to know for -ar, -er, and -ir verbs.
Verbs that End in -ar
To conjugate an -ar verb, remove the infinitive ending (-ar) and add the ending that matches the subject. You can find these endings in the table below.
Present Tense Endings for -ar Verbs
|Subject||-ar Endings||Example with Hablar||English translation|
|tú||-as||you (informal) speak|
|usted||-a||you (formal) speak|
|él, ella||-a||he/she speaks|
|vosotros||-áis||you (informal) speak|
|ustedes, ellos, ellas||-an||you (formal) speak|
|ellos, ellas||-an||they speak|
Verbs that End in -er
To conjugate an -er verb, remove the infinitive ending (-er) and add the ending that matches the subject. You can find these endings in the table below.
Present Tense Endings for -er Verbs
|Subject||-er Endings||Example with Comer||English translation|
|tú||-es||you (informal) eat|
|usted||-e||you (formal) eat|
|él, ella||-e||he/she eats|
|vosotros||-éis||you (informal) eat|
|ustedes, ellos, ellas||-en||you (formal) eat|
|ellos, ellas||-en||they eat|
Verbs that End in -ir
To conjugate an -ir verb, remove the infinitive ending (-ir) and add the ending that matches the subject. You can find these endings in the table below.
Present Tense Endings for -ir Verbs
|Subject||-ir Endings||Example with Vivir||English translation|
|tú||-es||you (informal) live|
|usted||-e||you (formal) live|
|él, ella||-e||he/she lives|
|vosotros||-ís||you (informal) live|
|ustedes, ellos, ellas||-en||you (formal) live|
|ellos, ellas||-en||they live|
Notice that most of the present tense endings for -er and -ir verbs are the same. Only the nosotros and vosotros endings are different.
Irregular Yo Forms
Some present tense yo conjugations undergo spelling changes or are irregular.
Verbs with Spelling Changes in the Yo Form
Verbs that end in -guir, -ger, or -gir undergo a spelling change in their present tense yo forms.
- For verbs that end in -guir, the yo form ends in go.
- For verbs that end in -ger or -gir, the g in the yo form changes to a j.
|Spanish Infinitive||English Infinitive||Yo Form|
|to pick up|
Verbs with Irregular Yo Forms
The following verbs have irregular yo forms. The other present tense forms of these verbs follow the patterns for regular -ar, -er, and -ir verbs.
|Spanish Infinitive||English Infinitive||Yo Form|
|to leave/to go out|
|to be worth|
Most verbs that end in -cer or -ucir have irregular present tense yo forms. Click here for more on irregular present tense verbs.
Here are a few examples of the above verbs in action.
Many present tense verbs undergo what is called a stem change. The present tense endings for these verbs are regular, but there is a vowel change in the verb stem (the part of the verb that comes before -ar, -er, or -ir). Click here to read our article on stem-changing verbs.
Present Indicative Uses
The Spanish present tense can be used to talk about habitual actions, routines, things happening now or in the near future, universal truths, facts, hypotheticals, lapses of time, and for ordering in restaurants and stores. Read on for more on each of these uses.
Dropping Subject Pronouns
Because the endings of Spanish verbs indicate who the subject of an action is, you can often drop the subject pronoun (yo, tú, nosotros, etc.). Many Spanish speakers rarely use personal pronouns, although this varies from country to country.
For example, in the sentence Hablo español. (I speak Spanish.), the pronoun yo isn't really necessary. The -o ending tells you who the subject of the verb is.
1. Habitual Actions
Habitual actions are activities that a person does every day (or very often) . Daily routines, responsibilities, hobbies, and jobs can be talked about using the present tense.
2. Things Happening Now
In English, something happening at the moment of speaking is usually expressed using the present progressive. In Spanish, both the simple present and the present progressive can be used to talk about things happening now.
3. Things Happening in the Near Future
The Spanish present tense can also be used to talk about things that will happen in the near future.
4. Timeless Events/Universal Truths
Things that are universally known or generally excepted are often expressed using the simple present. These can be facts, opinions, or proverbs.
5. Hypothetical Situations
When used with the conjunction si (if), the present tense can express hypothetical situations and outcomes.
6. Lapses of Time
The present tense is commonly used to talk about the amount of time something has been going on. The following formula is used with the present tense for this purpose.
hace + time period + que + present tense verb
It's also quite common to use the present tense in Spanish when ordering something in a restaurant or store.