No Time Like the Present: Conjugation of Regular Spanish Verbs
Together, we’ve learned a lot of Spanish adjective and nouns. I think the time has come to start forming sentences and speaking your mind! Let’s learn to conjugate Spanish verbs in the Present Tense!
Present Tense in Spanish
The Spanish language relies on el presente del indicativo when there is a need to speak about:
- universal truths and undisputable facts,
- everyday actions, routines, or habits,
- what is going on at the moment,
- what will be going on in the nearest future,
- real conditions,
- time lapses (Present Perfect Continuous tense),
- ordering food and drinks when eating out.
This article will help you learn to conjugate regular verbs that end in – er, –ar, and –ir.
Conjugation of Regular Verbs
This little table pretty much sums up the rule. You need to learn how a verb’s ending adapts to the person and number of the subject it refers to. And, of course, you need to master the shifts of stress brought along by the change of the ending: the stressed vowel in the plural forms will be in the ending, except for ellos/ellas/ustedes, where the stress shifts back onto the root.
Now, let’s take a closer look at each group of verbs and try to conjugate them together!
Spanish verbs with the final –ar
In order to build the correct number and person form of the Spanish verb that ends in an –ar, discard the final –ar and add an appropriate ending (consult the table above).
Let’s conjugate the verb descansar (to rest):
- yo descanso – I rest
- tú descansas – you rest
- él/ella descansa – he/she rests
- usted descansa – you (formal, sg.) rest
- nosotros descansamos – we rest
- vosotros descansáis – you (pl.) rest
- ellos/ellas descansan– they (masc. or mixed/fem.) rest
- ustedes descansan – you (formal, pl.) rest
Spanish verbs with the final –er
To build the correct number and person form of the Spanish verb that ends in an –er, remove the final –er and add an appropriate ending (consult the table above).
Practice by conjugating the verb correr (to run):
- yo corro – I run
- tú corres – you run
- él/ella corre – he/she runs
- usted corre – you (formal, sg.) run
- nosotros corremos – we run
- vosotros corréis – you (informal, pl.) run
- ellos/ellas corren – they (masc. or mixed/fem.) run
- ustedes corren– you (formal, pl.) run
Spanish verbs with the final –ir
For Spanish verbs that end in an –ir, build the correct present form matching the person and number of the subject by removing the final –ir and adding the corresponding ending.
As an exercise, let’s conjugate the verb existir (to exist):
- yo existo – I exist
- tú existes – you exist
- él/ella existe – he/she exists
- usted existe – you (formal, sg.) exist
- nosotros existimos – we exist
- vosotros existís – you (informal, pl.) exist
- ellos/ellas existen – they (masc. or mixed/fem) exist
- ustedes existen – you (formal, pl.) exist
If you think this is too much to remember, take a look at the –er and –ir forms, and you will see that they are very similar, except for the “we” and “informal plural you” forms. So, you actually need to memorize two and a half verb form lists instead of three!
And one more detail you need to pay attention to:
Many verbs that end in –ir have an irregular 1st person singular form. You need to take an even closer look at them before you start conjugating. But I’ll tell you all about the irregular present tense forms next week. And now, it’s time to quiz your newly acquired knowledge!