The Present Indicative

The Spanish language has three different classes of verbs. Some end in -ir, some in -er and others in -ar. There are regular verbs and irregular verbs.

Regular Verbs

Regular verb conjugations follow a pattern. Based on the subject pronoun, you can use the table below to conjugate regular present indicative verbs.

Subject PronounVerb Endings
él, ella, usted-a-e-e
ellos, ellas, ustedes-an-en-en

TIP: To, for example, conjugate the verb hablar, use the conjugations below:

  • yo hablo
  • tú hablas
  • él, ella, usted habla
  • nosotros/as hablamos
  • vosotros/as habláis
  • ellos, ellas, ustedes hablan

The following verbs are commonly regular in present indicative:

  • ar verbs: alistar, amar, bailar, buscar, caminar, comprar, ducharse, enviar, hablar, llegar, mirar, necesitar, retirar, trabajar, viajar, dibujar, saltar, casarse, graduarse, ganar
  • er verbs: leer, aprender, correr, socorrer, emprender, comer, beber, comprender, creer, responder, temer, vender
  • ir verbs: insistir, abrir, asistir, decidir, escribir, permitir, recibir, subir, vivir, reunirse

Verbs with Spelling Changes

This group of verbs is still considered regular. These verbs change their spelling for pronunciation purposes.

  1. Verbs that end in -cer and -cir change only in the first person singular (yo). When the stem of a verb ends in or r, the c is changed to a z. For example, the first person singular of convencer becomes yo convenzo.
  2. When the stem of the verbs end in a vowel, a z is added before the c. For example, conocer becomes yo conozco.
  3. Verbs ending in -ger, and -gir change from g to j in the first person singular. For example, the verb proteger becomes yo protejo.

More Spelling Rules

  1. Verbs ending in -guir change to gu to g. For example, distinguir becomes yo distingo.
  2. Some verbs ending in -iar and -uar change to í and u to ú in all forms except nosotros and vosotros.
  3. Verbs ending in -uir change i to y before o and e.

Verbs with Stem Changes

Some verbs from any of the three conjugations (-ar, -er, -ir) have some systematic changes in the vowel. (e, i, o, u) of their stem in all persons EXCEPT the first and second formal persons plural (nosotros, vosotros). These chnages occur in the vowel of the stem in six different ways (e to iee to ii to ieo to ueo to hueu to ue).

Stem vowels change from e to ie.

cerrar (to close)
yo cierro
tú cierras
él, ella, usted cierra
nosotros/as cerramos
vosotros/as cerráis
ellos, ellas, ustedes cierran

Other verbs that change this way: atender, atravesar, calentar, comenzar, confesar, consentir, defender, descender, despertar, divertir, empezar, encender, encerrar, entender, gobernar, mentir, negar, pensar, perder, preferir, querer, recomendar, sentar, sentir, sugerir.

Stem vowels change from e to i.

pedir (to ask)
yo pido
tú pides
él, ella, usted pide
nosotros/as pedimos
vosotros/as pedís
ellos, ellas, ustedes piden

Other verbs that change this way: conseguir, corregir, despedir, elegir, impedir, medir, perseguir, repetir, seguir, vestirse.

Stem vowel change from i to ie. Only two common verbs are affected: adquirir and inquirir.

adquirir (to acquire)
yo adquiero
tú adquieres
él, ella, usted adquiere
nosotros/as adquirimos
vosotros/as adquirís
ellos, ellas, ustedes adquieren

Stem vowel change from o to ue.

recordar (to remember)
yo recuerdo
tú recuerdas
él, ella, usted recuerda
nosotros/as recordamos
vosotros/as recordáis
ellos, ellas, ustedes recuerdan

Other verbs that change this way: absolver, almorzar, cocer, contar, costar, demoler, devolver, disolver, dormir, encontrar, envolver, llover, moler, morir, mostrar, mover, oler, poder, probar, promover, recordar, remover, resolver, retorcer, revolver, sonar, soñar, torcer.

Stem vowel change from u to ue. Only one verb is affected: jugar.

jugar (to play)
yo juego
tú juegas
él, ella, usted juega
nosotros/as jugamos
vosotros/as jugáis
ellos, ellas, ustedes juegan

Verbs with Irregular Verbs

Verbs with irregular forms are mostly irregular in the present indicative, but only in the first person.

A good list of these verbs can be found here.

Present Tense Uses

The present tense refers to events happening at the same time as the time of speaking. Unlike English, the Present Indicative tense can describe one single event or multiple/repetitive events.

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