Spanish Present Tense – Uses

The Spanish Simple Present Tense (“Presente Simple”) is the first tense you will learn in any Spanish course.

We already explained its conjugation in a previous post. If you haven’t read it yet, we recommend you click here and learn how to conjugate Verbs in Simple Present. 

In this post, we will talk about the main uses. We use the Simple Present to express:

  • Truths and facts
  • Usual/regular actions or events
  • What’s happening at the moment
  • What will happen in the near future
  • Asking for / ordering



The first two uses (truths and facts, usual actions) are the most characteristic of the Simple Present. 

Let’s see some examples for each use:

Stating truths and facts

La Tierra gira alrededor del Sol.

The Earth rotates around the Sun.

 

En Argentina se habla español.

They speak Spanish in Argentina.

 

Los pájaros vuelan.

Birds fly.

Habitual actions or events

Yo hago la compra dos veces por semana.

I do the shopping twice a week.

 

Mis padres trabajan en la misma oficina.

My parents work at the same office.

 

Todos los veranos viajamos a Latinoamérica.

We travel to Latin America every summer.

Things happening at the moment

Actually, there is another tense that is more fitting to say what’s happening at the moment. It’s called Present Progressive and you can click here to read about it. However, most times you can also use the Simple Present if you prefer.

¿Qué haces?

What are you doing?

 

Lavo los platos.

I’m washing the dishes.

 

¿Qué hace Ana?

What is Ana doing?

 

Baila con un chico.

She dances with a guy.

Things that will happen in the near future

Again, there are more fitting tenses to talk about future events. For example the Simple Future Tense (click here to read about it) or the future with “ir a + infinitive”. However, many times you can also use the Simple Present, as in these examples:

Mañana voy a casa de mi abuela.

I’ll go to my grandma’s tomorrow.

 

El mes que viene hacemos un curso de español.

We’ll do a Spanish course next month.

Asking for / ordering

It is very common for examples in restaurants, to order something in the form of a question using the Simple Present tense.

For example, to express “I’d have a beer, please”, we tend to say “do you put me a beer, please”?, using the Simple Present:

¿Me pone una cerveza, por favor? 

I’d have a beer, please.

 

¿Nos trae la carta, por favor?

Could you bring us the menu, please?

 

¿Me enseña ese reloj, por favor?

Could you show me that watch, please?

 

One more example: A picture

¿Qué hacen estas personas los viernes?

El niño estudia para los exámenes de la escuela.

El joven juega al tenis con un amigo suyo.

La mujer morena trabaja en la oficina.

La chica rubia va al gimnasio y hace ejercicio.

Los dos jóvenes bailan salsa.

 

Have you mastered both the conjugation and the uses of the Simple Present Tense? If that is the case and you are looking for new challenges, we suggest you move on to a new tense, for example the Spanish Present Progressive. 

Or click here to see all our Grammar Lessons