Simple Present tense – Conjugation

The Spanish Simple Present tense (“Presente Simple”) is the first tense you will learn in any Spanish course. We use it to communicate how things are at the moment (facts), what is happening now or what happens regularly. You can also use it coloquialy to speak about what will happen in the near future.

In this post we will study its conjugation, starting with the regular verbs and then the irregulars. For the irregulars we will not see a full list of them, because they are many. But we will see the different kinds of irregulars, with some examples for each.

Regular Verbs

We have 3 types of Verbs in Spanish, depending on their ending:

  • Verbs ending in “-ar”
  • Verbs ending in “-er”
  • Verbs ending in “-ir”

For each of the three endings, there are regular and irregular verbs, and you need to learn for each particular verb if it is regular or irregular. IF IT IS REGULAR, it will conjugate with the endings shown in this table:

 HablarBeberPartir
yohablobeboparto
hablasbebespartes
élhablabebeparte
nosotroshablamosbebemospartimos
vosotroshabláisbebéispartís
elloshablanbebenparten

Irregular Verbs

There are many Verbs which are irregular in the Simple Present tense. We will not see all of them, but we will talk about the main categories, with examples.

We’ll divide the Irregular Verbs in 4 categories:

  1. Verbs for which the 1st Person is “special”, but the others are regular.
  2. Verbs for which there is a particular irregularity which is present in most of the persons’ stem.
  3. Verbs for which there is a particular irregularity which is present in most of the persons’ stem, AND the first person is also “special”. (a small minority)
  4. A few very irregular verbs that don’t follow typical patterns

Before we see examples for each category we should mention something important and encourage you to pay attention to it from now on, and that is:

For 99% of the verbs, even if they are irregular, the conjugation for “nosotros” and “vosotros” WILL STILL BE REGULAR. So those two people will not be affected by the irregularity.

With that in mind, let’s see examples for each category.

1 – Verbs for which the 1st Person is “special”, but the others are regular.

The first person includes something that makes it different, but the rest follow the regular pattern we saw in the previous table. Here are some examples:

Conducirconduzco, conduces, conduce, conducimos, conducís, conducen
Conocerconozco, conoces, conoce, conocemos, conocéis, conocen
Dardoy, das, da, damos, dais, dan
Hacerhago, haces, hace, hacemos, hacéis, hacen
Salirsalgo, sales, sale, salimos, salís, salen
Traertraigo, traes, trae, traemos, traéis, traen
Verveo, ves, ve, vemos, veis, ven

2 – Verbs for which there is a particular irregularity which is present in most of the persons’ stem.

Remember, the irregularity will be present in most persons, but not in “nosotros” and “vosotros”. This irregularity will be a transformation of some vowel in the stem. 

Stem transformation, where “e” (or rarely “i”) becomes “ie”   

Some examples:

Adquiriradquiero, adquieres, adquiere, adquirimos, adquirís, adquieren
Cerrarcierro, cierras, cierra, cerramos, cerráis, cierran
Pensarpienso, piensas, piensa, pensamos, pensáis, piensan
Quererquiero, quieres, quiere, queremos, queréis, quieren

Stem transformation, where “o” (or rarely “u”) becomes “ue”   

Some examples:

Contarcuento, cuentas, cuenta, contamos, contáis, cuentan
Jugarjuego, juegas, juega, jugamos, jugáis, juegan
Poderpuedo, puedes, puede, podemos, podéis, pueden
Soñarsueño, sueñas, sueña, soñamos, soñáis, sueñan

Stem transformation, where “e” becomes “i”   

Some examples:

Pedirpido, pides, pide, pedimos, pedís, piden
Repetirrepito, repites, repite, repetimos, repetís, repiten
Servirsirvo, sirves, sirve, servimos, servís, sirven

3 – Verbs for which there is a particular irregularity which is present in most of the persons’ stem, AND the first person is also “special”

The first person is special, and the rest of the verb follows a irregular pattern like the ones we have already seen, with a vocalic change in the stem.

Some examples:

Decirdigo, dices, dice, decimos, decís, dicen
Tenertengo, tienes, tiene, tenemos, tenéis, tienen
Venirvengo, vienes, viene, venimos, venís, vienen

4 – A few very irregular verbs that don’t follow typical patterns

Here we will include the very important verbs “ser” and “ir”, which are very irregular.

Also, the verb “estar”. In this very only the first person is special, but most of the other persons have graphical accents, and that makes it different to the rest of the verbs.

Also, let’s put here “oler” (to smell). It follows the “o ue” model, but most of the persons add also an “h” at the beginning.

Estarestoy, estás, está, estamos, estáis, están
Irvoy, vas, va, vamos, vais, van
Olerhuelo, hueles, huele, olemos, oléis, huelen
Sersoy, eres, es, somos, sois, son

**** Reminder about the persons “nosotros” and “vosotros”

We mention this before, but as a reminder: Except for very very irregular verbs (“ser”, “ir”), whatever irregularity the verb presents DOESN’T affect the persons “nosotros” and “vosotros”. You can take a moment now to look at all the tables below and notice that.