Language Guide
Verbs
Spanish Present Tense Forms

Spanish Present Tense Forms

Quick Answer

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 EndingsExample with HablarEnglish translation
yo-o
hablo
 
I speak
-as
hablas
 
you (informal) speak
usted-a
habla
 
you (formal) speak
él, ella-a
habla
 
he/she speaks
nosotros-amos
hablamos
 
we speak
vosotros-áis
habláis
 
you (informal) speak
ustedes-an
hablan
 
you (formal) speak
ellos, ellas-an
hablan
 
they speak
-ar Endings
yo-o
-as
usted-a
él, ella-a
nosotros-amos
vosotros-áis
ustedes-an
ellos, ellas-an
Example with Hablar
yohablo 
hablas 
ustedhabla 
él, ellahabla 
nosotroshablamos 
vosotroshabláis 
ustedeshablan 
ellos, ellashablan 
English translation
yoI speak
you (informal) speak
ustedyou (formal) speak
él, ellahe/she speaks
nosotroswe speak
vosotrosyou (informal) speak
ustedesyou (formal) speak
ellos, ellasthey 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 EndingsExample with ComerEnglish translation
yo-o
como
 
I eat
-es
comes
 
you (informal) eat
usted-e
come
 
you (formal) eat
él, ella-e
come
 
he/she eats
nosotros-emos
comemos
 
we eat
vosotros-éis
coméis
 
you (informal) eat
ustedes-en
comen
 
you (formal) eat
ellos, ellas-en
comen
 
they eat
-er Endings
yo-o
-es
usted-e
él, ella-e
nosotros-emos
vosotros-éis
ustedes-en
ellos, ellas-en
Example with Comer
yocomo 
comes 
ustedcome 
él, ellacome 
nosotroscomemos 
vosotroscoméis 
ustedescomen 
ellos, ellascomen 
English translation
yoI eat
you (informal) eat
ustedyou (formal) eat
él, ellahe/she eats
nosotroswe eat
vosotrosyou (informal) eat
ustedesyou (formal) eat
ellos, ellasthey 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 EndingsExample with VivirEnglish translation
yo-o
vivo
 
I live
-es
vives
 
you (informal) live
usted-e
vive
 
you (formal) live
él, ella-e
vive
 
he/she lives
nosotros-imos
vivimos
 
we live
vosotros-ís
vivís
 
you (informal) live
ustedes-en
viven
 
you (formal) live
ellos, ellas-en
viven
 
they live
-ir Endings
yo-o
-es
usted-e
él, ella-e
nosotros-imos
vosotros-ís
ustedes-en
ellos, ellas-en
Example with Vivir
yovivo 
vives 
ustedvive 
él, ellavive 
nosotrosvivimos 
vosotrosvivís 
ustedesviven 
ellos, ellasviven 
English translation
yoI live
you (informal) live
ustedyou (formal) live
él, ellahe/she lives
nosotroswe live
vosotrosyou (informal) live
ustedesyou (formal) live
ellos, ellasthey live

Copy Cats

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 InfinitiveEnglish InfinitiveYo Form
extinguir
 
to extinguish
extingo
 
dirigir
 
to direct
dirijo
 
escoger
 
to choose
escojo
 
exigir
 
to demand
exijo
 
recoger
 
to pick up
recojo
 

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 InfinitiveEnglish InfinitiveYo Form
caber
 
to fit
quepo
 
caer
 
to fall
caigo
 
conocer
 
to know
conozco
 
dar
 
to give
doy
 
hacer
 
to do/make
hago
 
poner
 
to put
pongo
 
saber
 
to know
 
salir
 
to leave/to go out
salgo
 
traducir
 
to translate
traduzco
 
traer
 
to bring
traigo
 
valer
 
to be worth
valgo
 
ver
 
to see
veo
 

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.

Hago la tarea en la biblioteca.
I do my homework in the library.
 
que hoy es martes.
I know today is Tuesday.
 

Stem-changing Verbs

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, , 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.

Me levanto a las seis y media cada mañana.
I get up at six thirty every morning.
 
Doy de comer al perro tres veces cada día.
I feed the dog three times each day.
 
Trabajo para el zoológico.
I work for the zoo.
 
Estudio biología en la universidad.
I study biology at the university.
 

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.

¿Cómo estás?
How are you doing?
 
Estoy bien, gracias.
I'm doing well, thank you.
 
¿Qué haces?
What are you doing?
 
Limpio la cocina.
I'm cleaning the kitchen.
 

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.

Voy al parque. ¿Vienes?
I'm going to the park. Want to come?
 
Salgo para el aeropuerto en media hora.
I'm leaving for the airport in half an hour.
 

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.

Uno más uno son dos.
One plus one is two.
 
Más sabe el diablo por viejo que por diablo.
Wisdom comes with age. (Literal translation: The devil's wisdom comes more from age than from being the devil.)
 
El hombre es mortal.
Mankind is mortal.
 

5. Hypothetical Situations

When used with the conjunction si (if), the present tense can express hypothetical situations and outcomes.

Si llega Marcos, salgo.
If Marcos comes, I'm out.
 
Si llueve, la fiesta termina.
If it rains, the party's over.
 

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

Hace tres años que esperamos tu llamada.
We've been waiting three years for your call.
 
Hace una semana que pinta este cuadro.
He's been painting this painting for a week.
 

7. Ordering

It's also quite common to use the present tense in Spanish when ordering something in a restaurant or store.

Me trae un café, por favor.
Would you bring me a coffee, please?
 
Quiero el arroz con pollo.
I would like the chicken and rice.
 

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