Spanish Present Tense – Learn it and Practice!

Spanish Present Tense, Learn and Practice

Welcome to our grammar lesson about the Spanish Present Tense, where we will learn and practice this basic tense.

The Present of the Indicative Mood (“El Presente del Indicativo”) is the first tense everybody learns on any Spanish course. We use it mainly to state facts and also to talk about habitual actions and events.

In this lesson we will learn all about the Spanish Present Tense: both the conjugation of verbs and its use. We will provide example sentences for everything.

At the end you’ll find a Quiz and Exercises for practice.

Conjugation of Verbs in Present Tense

About Regular and Irregular Verbs

There are 3 types of verbs in Spanish, looking at their Infinitive’s ending:

  • Verbs in -ar”, such as “hablar”.
  • Verbs in “-er”, such as “comer”.
  • Verbs in “-ir”, such as “vivir”.

Unfortunately, the verb’s ending doesn’t tell us anything about it being regular or irregular. We need to learn, for each specific verb, whether it is Regular or Irregular.

Regular Verbs – Forms and Endings

If a verb happens to be Regular in Present Tense, the steps to conjugate it are simple:

  1. Remove the “-ar”, “-er,” “-ir” at the end of the Infinitive form, leaving only the stem.
  2. Attach an ending to that stem. The endings are different for “-ar”, “-er,” “-ir” verbs. They are highlighted in the following table:
 hablarbeberpartir
yohablobeboparto
hablasbebespartes
élhablabebeparte
nosotroshablamosbebemospartimos
vosotroshabláisbebéispartís
elloshablanbebenparten

Notice that… the endings for verbs in “-er” and “-ir” are the same, except for the persons “nosotros” and “vosotros”.


Irregular Verbs

There are many verbs which are Irregular in Present Tense. We will subdivide them into 4 types.

The good news is that the endings we just learned in the table above still apply for almost all Irregular Verbs.


The 4 types of irregulars are:

Type 1 – Verbs with a special “yo” form, but the other persons are regular

For this type of irregular, the “yo” form has something that makes it different, but the rest are completely regular.

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


Type 2 – Verbs with a spelling change in the stem for most of the persons

Pay attention: The irregularity does not exist for persons “nosotros” and “vosotros”.

The change can be one of the following, depending on the specific verb:

“e” or “i” becomes “ie”

Examples:

cerrarcierro, cierras, cierra, cerramos, cerráis, cierran
pensarpienso, piensas, piensa, pensamos, pensáis, piensan
quererquiero, quieres, quiere, queremos, queréis, quieren
adquiriradquiero, adquieres, adquiere, adquirimos, adquirís, adquieren


“o” or “u” becomes “ue”

Examples:

contarcuento, cuentas, cuenta, contamos, contáis, cuentan
poderpuedo, puedes, puede, podemos, podéis, pueden
soñarsueño, sueñas, sueña, soñamos, soñáis, sueñan
jugarjuego, juegas, juega, jugamos, jugáis, juegan


“e” becomes “i”

Examples:

pedirpido, pides, pide, pedimos, pedís, piden
repetirrepito, repites, repite, repetimos, repetís, repiten
servirsirvo, sirves, sirve, servimos, servís, sirven


Verbs ending in “uir” → letter “y” appears

Examples:

construirconstruyo, construyes, construye, construimos, construís, construyen
incluirincluyo, incluyes, incluye, incluimos, incluís, incluyen


Type 3 – Verbs with a special “yo” form AND a spelling change in the stem for most of the other persons

This third type is a mix of the previous two: The “yo” form is special, and most of the other persons present a change in the stem of the kinds we just learned.

Once again, the irregularity doesn’t exist for “nosotros” and “vosotros”. 

Examples:

decirdigo, dices, dice, decimos, decís, dicen
tenertengo, tienes, tiene, tenemos, tenéis, tienen
venirvengo, vienes, viene, venimos, venís, vienen


Type 4 – A Few Very Irregular Verbs 

Here we must include “ser” and “ir”, which are very irregular and don’t fit into any of the previous categories. 

Also “estar”, which is peculiar because of the many accent marks it presents.

Finally, “oler”. It follows the “o → ue” pattern, but also, a letter “h” appears at the beginning for most of the persons.

sersoy, eres, es, somos, sois, son
estarestoy, estás, está, estamos, estáis, están
irvoy, vas, va, vamos, vais, van
olerhuelo, hueles, huele, olemos, oléis, huelen

Uses of the Spanish Present Tense

Next, we will study the main uses of the Present Tense, providing example sentences.

Stating facts

When stating facts of life, nature, people, culture… we use the Present Tense:

La Tierra gira alrededor del Sol.
The Earth rotates around the Sun.

Los argentinos hablan español.
Argentinians speak Spanish.

Los pájaros vuelan.
Birds fly.

Laura es profesora.
Laura is a teacher.

La mesa está en el salón.
The table is in the living room.


Habitual actions or events

We use the Present Tense to talk about things that happen usually, habitually…:

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.
Every summer we travel to Latin America.


Things happening at the moment

Although there is another tense in Spanish called Present Progressive that is generally better for this, we can also use the Present Tense to express what is happening right now:

¿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 boy.


Things that will happen in the near future

Again, there are other Spanish tenses more fitting for this, such as the Future Tense or the future with “ir a” + infinitive.

However, sometimes we use the Present Tense, particularly if the action takes place in the near future: 

Mañana como en casa de mi abuela.
I’ll eat at my grandmother’s tomorrow.

El mes que viene empezamos un curso de español.
Next month we’ll begin a Spanish course.


Ordering / Asking for

It is common in restaurants to order in the form of a question expressed in Present Tense.

For example, to express “I’d have a beer, please”, we tend to say the translation of: “Do you put me a beer, please”?:

¿Me pone una cerveza, por favor?
I’d have a beer, please. (Do you put me 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?


Conditional statements (“if X happens…”)

When talking about hypothetical situations, we can express a condition in Present Tense, introduced by si (if).

Si quieres, podemos jugar al tenis.
If you want, we can play tennis.

Iré al museo si tengo tiempo.
I’ll go to the museum if I have time.

Practice the Present Tense

Let’s now practice the Spanish Present Tense with a Quiz and some Exercises!

Quiz

Exercise 1

We will begin our practice by conjugating regular verbs in Present Tense.

Conjugate the following verbs, then check the solutions below:

yo _________ 1.(nadar)
_________ 2.(beber)
él _________ 3.(vivir)
nosotros _________ 4.(salir)
vosotros _________ 5.(entrar)
ellos _________ 6.(comprender)

Solutions: 1) nado 2) bebes 3) vive 4) salimos 5) entráis 6) comprenden


Exercise 2

Now let’s conjugate some irregular verbs in Present Tense:

yo _________ 1.(hacer)
_________ 2.(tener)
él _________ 3.(poder)
nosotros _________ 4.(ser)
vosotros _________ 5.(ir)
ellos _________ 6.(influir)

Solutions: 1) hago 2) tienes 3) puede 4) somos 5) vais 6) influyen


Exercise 3

In this exercise, we state facts. Fill the gaps with the Present Tense of the verbs in brackets. Some of the verbs are irregular.

El Cairo ______ 1.(estar) en Egipto.
Normalmente, los árboles ______ 2.(ser) más altos que los arbustos.
Las plantas ______ 3.(hacer) la fotosíntesis.
La velocidad de la luz ______ 4.(ser) de 300.000 kilómetros por segundo.
España ______ 5.(tener) más de 45 millones de habitantes.
Las tiendas de Zara ______ 6.(vender) ropa de hombre y de mujer.
Nosotros ______ 7.(ser) personas.

Solutions: 1) está 2) son 3) hacen 4) es 5) tiene 6) venden 7) somos


Exercise 4

This exercise is about habitual actions and events, another use of the Present Tense. Some of the verbs are irregular.

Example Sentences in Spanish Present Tense

¿Qué _____ 1.(hacer) estas personas los viernes?

El niño ______ 2.(estudiar) para los exámenes de la escuela.
El joven ______3.(jugar) al tenis con un amigo suyo.
La mujer morena ______ 4.(trabajar) en la oficina.
La chica rubia ______5.(ir) al gimnasio y _____ 6.(hacer) ejercicio.
Los dos jóvenes ______7.(bailar) salsa.

Solutions: 1) hacen 2) estudia 3) juega 4) trabaja 5) va 6) hace 7) bailan