"Ir" and "Irse" in Spanish

Quick Answer

Learners of Spanish often have trouble distinguishing when to use ir (to go) and irse (to leave). Below you'll find some tips and examples to help you on your way to becoming the master of the ir / irse distinction.

All about Ir

  • Ir is an irregular, intransitive verb that is used to refer to a destination.
  • Ir often makes use of prepositions such as a, hacia, and hasta.
Voy a la tienda.
I am going to the store.
Fuimos hasta la esquina.
We went to the corner.
  • Ir can also be used to indicate a mode of transportation where there is an unspoken or implied destination.
Van en avión.
They are going (somewhere) by plane.
¿Vas a pie?
Are going (somewhere) on foot?
  • Ir is used with a to form the periphrastic future. This future form uses the formula ir + a + verb in the infinitive.
Va a almorzar a las doce.
He is going to have lunch at noon.
Voy a ir a la escuela mañana.
I'm going to go to school tomorrow.

All about Irse

  • Irse is a pronominal verb that uses reflexive pronouns and tends to focus on the act of leaving a starting point or origin. The origin is presumed to be here (or wherever the subject is at the time).
  • Irse often makes use of prepositions such as deand desde.
Tengo que irme de aquí.
I have to leave here.
¿Te vas a las seis?
Are you leaving at six?
¡No se vayan!
Don't go!
¿Por qué te vas tan temprano?
Why are you leaving so soon?

Ir would be incorrect in the above sentences because no destination is mentioned.

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