The Spanish conjunction aunque, whose English translations include "although," "even though," "even if," etc., often appears within the constructions aunque + present indicative and aunque + present subjunctive. Although sentences that include said constructions are often structurally similar, the use of either the indicative or the subjunctive with aunque affects their meaning. Additionally (and as usual in Spanish!), the subjunctive construction is slightly more challenging since the meaning of the same sentence could vary depending upon context. Let's take a closer look.
Aunque + present indicative is used to state facts and is a pretty straight-forward equivalent of similarly truth-stating English sentences with "although" and "even though." Let's see some examples:
aunque terminan en "a", son realmente palabras masculinas.
although they end in "a," they are really masculine words.
Caption 22, Lecciones con Carolina Errores comunes - Part 6Play Caption
Aunque es checa la canción, el tema, eh... en Berlín, en Alemania creen [sic] mucha gente que es alemán.
Although the song, the tune, is Czech, um... in Berlin, in Germany, a lot of people think it's German.
Captions 48-49, Hispanoamericanos en Berlín Manuel y El barrilitoPlay Caption
Bueno, hay que ser optimista, aunque tengo la impresión de que no me van a dar el trabajo.
Well, one has to be optimistic, although I have the impression that they are not going to give me the job.
Captions 4-5, Negocios Empezar en un nuevo trabajo - Part 1Play Caption
These first two instances of aunque + present indicative are quite clear-cut because we know that what the speaker is saying is factual: The words Carolina mentions indeed end in "a," and the song Manuel describes is undoubtedly Czech. In the third example, although the speaker could possibly have different impressions regarding her employment chances, her use of the indicative definitively lets us know the impression she has about it.
In contrast to aunque + present indicative, aunque + present subjunctive conveys different meanings and is used in two different scenarios: 1. In hypothetical situations and 2. When the information being communicated is considered "background information" that the audience already knows.
In order to understand how the use of the subjunctive with aunque changes the meaning of a sentence, let's take the third example of aunque + present indicative and replace it with aunque + present subjunctive:
Bueno, hay que ser optimista, aunque tenga la impresión de que no me van a dar el trabajo.
Well, one has to be optimistic, even if I might have the impression that they are not going to give me the job.
The subjunctive version conveys something different than its indicative counterpart because, rather than explicitly stating her impression after a specific job interview, the speaker says more generally that "even though she might have" a particular impression following an interview, she should remain optimistic. Let's take a look at some additional examples of this use of aunque + present subjunctive from the Yabla Spanish library:
Aunque sea sólo para un fin de semana, para mí, tiene las características esenciales para disfrutar de un viaje,
Even if it's only for a weekend, for me, it has the essential characteristics for enjoying a trip,
Captions 47-49, Lydia de Barcelona Lydia y el festival de cine "Women Mujeres"Play Caption
Here, Lydia is saying to an audience of potential tourists to Barcelona that, hypothetically speaking, a visit would be worth it even if they might only have one free weekend. On the other hand, the indicative "Aunque es sólo para un fin de semana" would be used for someone you knew was only visiting Barcelona for one weekend. This is sometimes confusing for English speakers since the phrase "Even if it's only for a weekend" could refer to either situation and is thus a valid translation for both the indicative and subjunctive versions of the sentence. Let's look at one more example:
Aunque no crean, existe el amor a primera vista.
Believe it or not, love at first sight does exist.Play Caption
While Aunque no crean is the Spanish equivalent of the English idiom "Believe it or not," a more literal translation is "Even though you might not believe it" since we don't know whether or not the audience does.
Now, let's examine a use of aunque + present subjunctive that might initially seem confusing:
Os recuerdo que las islas Canarias, aunque estén en el océano Atlántico y muy cerca de la costa africana,
I remind you that the Canary Islands, although they're in the Atlantic Ocean and very close to the African coast,Play Caption
Since what Silvia is saying is a fact (the Canary Islands are most definitely located in the Atlantic Ocean, close to Africa), why does she use the subjunctive? This is because aunque + present subjunctive is also used when the speaker assumes that their audience already knows the information being stated.
To sum it up: Use the indicative when you want to inform someone about something that you assume is new information for them, and use the subjunctive to say things you believe the receiver already knows. Let's see another example of this use:
Aunque San Sebastián tenga tres playas, yo siempre hago surf en la Zurriola.
Even though San Sebastian has three beaches, I always surf at Zurriola.
Captions 16-17, Clase Aula Azul Información con subjuntivo e indicativo - Part 2Play Caption
As seen here, even if it's a fact that San Sebastián has three beaches, you'd employ the subjunctive tenga for a person you think knows this information and the indicative tiene for a person you believe to be learning it, despite identical English translations. For a detailed explanation of this use of aunque + present subjunctive with a plethora of examples, check out the video series Clase Aula Azul: Información con subjuntivo e indicativo (Aula Azul Class: Information with Subjunctive and Indicative).
Sometimes, the meaning of an aunque + subjunctive sentence is ambiguous and, without context, might be impossible to ascertain. Let's take a look at an example that could be understood in more than one way:
Aunque haga calor, yo voy a usar mi chaqueta nueva.
On its face, this sentence could have two possible meanings:
1. Even though it might be hot (hypothetically on some particular day in the future), I'm going to wear my new jacket.
2. Even though it (really) is hot (and I know you know it's hot), I'm going to wear my new jacket.
In the second scenario, we assume that the person with whom we are speaking already knows the information; perhaps they are sitting there sweating with us, or maybe they called you to complain about the heat: The main point is that we believe that this is shared information. To determine, however, which of the two aforementioned meanings is intended, context is required, and there may be cases where it could seem to go either way.
In conclusion, aunque sea el concepto un poco difícil (although the concept might be a bit difficult), we hope that this lesson has made clear to you when to use the constructions aunque + present indicative and aunque + present subjunctive... and don't forget to send us your suggestions and comments!
The Spanish near future tense is an alternative to the traditional future tense in Spanish. If you haven't yet learned to conjugate the future tense in Spanish or find it difficult, we recommend using the near future tense in Spanish, which is expressed with a simple formula that we'll teach you today.
Since the near future tense in Spanish is most commonly (but not always!) seen in the present indicative tense, it will behoove you to make sure you know the present indicative conjugation of the verb ir. Let's take a look:
|Subject Pronoun||Present Conjugation of Ir|
|él, ella, usted||va|
Now that we've recalled the present indicative conjugation of ir, let's take a look at the formula for the Spanish near future tense, which is ir + a + infinitive. As ir means "to go," and a can mean "to," you can think of the Spanish near future tense as "to be going to" do something. Let's see some examples:
¡Abuelo, no vas a creer lo que te voy a contar!
Grandpa, you aren't going to believe what I'm going to tell you!
Caption 9, Guillermina y Candelario El Mejor ColumpioPlay Caption
y ellos nos van a dar un poco de información.
and they are going to give us a bit of information.Play Caption
Entonces, hoy vamos a hablar de la familia.
So, today we are going to talk about family.Play Caption
The first person plural form vamos a + infinitive can also be an alternative for the nosotros/as command form, which is the equivalent of "Let's" [do something] in English. We see this in the popular expression Vamos a ver (Let's see):
Así que, vamos a ver de qué se trata.
So, let's see what it is.
Caption 6, Ana Carolina Receta para una picadaPlay Caption
That said, although there may be some cases in which it is difficult to determine whether a Spanish sentence with vamos a + infinitive is intended to mean "we're going to" or "let's," in most cases, context should make this clear.
Technically, the Spanish near future tense is intended for events that are imminent rather than in the distant future, and for that reason, it is quite often accompanied by words like ahora (now) or hoy (today), as in the following examples:
y hoy les voy a dar siete consejos prácticos para mejorar su pronunciación en español.
and today I'm going to give you seven practical tips to improve your pronunciation in Spanish.
Captions 4-5, Ana Carolina Mejorando la pronunciaciónPlay Caption
Muy bien. Pues ahora, vais a practicar más.
Very good. Well, now you're going to practice more.
Caption 39, Clase Aula Azul La segunda condicional - Part 7Play Caption
Having said that, the near future tense is extremely common to hear in spoken Spanish (probably more so than the traditional future tense) and will often be heard describing events with a vaguer or more distant timeline:
Y algún día voy a ser la voz líder de mi banda, los Equis seis.
And someday, I'm going to be the lead singer of my band, the X6 [Ex Six].
Caption 11, X6 1 - La banda - Part 1Play Caption
For this reason, as the traditional future and near future tenses are virtually equivalent in terms of meaning, you should feel free to use this near future tense "hack" in virtually any situation in which you wish to describe an action in the future.
So, what if, rather than saying you "are going to" do something, you wish to say that, at a certain moment in the past, you "were going to" perform an action? You would do so by using the near future tense, but conjugating the infinitive ir in the Spanish imperfect tense. Let's take a look at it:
|Subject Pronoun||Imperfect Conjugation of Ir|
|él, ella, usted||iba|
Now, let's see some examples:
Llegué al examen muy contenta porque sabía que iba a aprobar.
I got to the exam very happy because I knew I was going to pass.
Captions 64-65, Los casos de Yabla El examen - Part 1Play Caption
Te dije que íbamos a hacer ejercicio.
I told you we were going to exercise.
Caption 67, Cleer y Lida Los númerosPlay Caption
1. Be aware that this same construction could be used to indicate something one "used to go do" in the past, for example, "En el verano, yo iba a nadar a la piscina" ("In summer, I'd go to swim at the pool"). Context will usually tell you which meaning is intended.
2. For the past version of the near future tense, remember to use the imperfect, or ongoing past tense, rather than the Spanish preterite tense, which would indicate that something already happened (E.g. Yo fui a nadar a la piscina = I went to swim at the pool).
Let's conclude today's lesson with a little quiz. Taking a few examples of the traditional future tense from our library, see if you can convert them to the present indicative form of the near future tense. Try to do them yourself prior to looking at the answers.
No, abuelito. ¡Hoy haré el salto más alto del mundo!
No, Grandpa. Today I'll do the world's highest jump!Play Caption
Near Future Tense:
No, abuelito. ¡Hoy voy a hacer el salto más alto del mundo!
No, Grandpa. Today I'm going to do the world's highest jump!)
Sin embargo de esto hablaremos en la próxima lección.
However, we will talk about this in the next lesson.Play Caption
Near Future Tense:
Sin embargo de esto vamos a hablar en la próxima lección
However, we're going to talk about this in the next lesson.
Verán que mañana el estadio estará lleno.
You guys will see that tomorrow the stadium will be full.Play Caption
Near Future Tense:
Van a ver que mañana el estadio va a estar lleno.
You guys are going to see that tomorrow the stadium is going to be full.
That's all for today. We hope that this lesson has helped you to feel more confident using the Spanish near future tense, which can come in quite handy when talking about your plans... and don't forget to write us with your suggestions and comments.
Let's talk about the passive voice in Spanish!
Let's start by understanding the concept of voz (voice) in a sentence- in English or Spanish. This refers to the relationship between a sentence's subject and verb. A sentence's voice can be active or passive. But what's the difference?
In the active voice, the subject performs a verb's action onto an object and is thus considered the sentence's actor or agent (the person or thing that carries out the action). Let's see some examples:
Pedro come galletas.
"Pedro come galletas" [Pedro eats cookies].Play Caption
In this caption, Pedro is the subject/agent who executes the action of "eating" the object (the cookies).
eh... pintábamos muchísimos fondos oscuros
um... we painted a ton of dark backgrounds
Caption 99, María Marí Su pasión por su arte - Part 1Play Caption
In this example, "we" is the subject/agent who carried out the action of "painting" the object, "a ton of dark backgrounds."
Gabriel García Márquez escribió muchos libros.
Gabriel García Márquez wrote a lot of books.Play Caption
And finally, here, Gabriel García Márquez is the subject, and agent, who performed the action of "writing" the object (a lot of books).
The Passive Voice
In the passive voice, on the other hand, what was previously the object in the active voice actually becomes the subject, but, this time, receives the action of the verb. At the same time, the previous subject becomes a "passive agent" who may or may not be mentioned at the end of the sentence. That said, before finding out how to convey sentences in the passive voice in Spanish, let's convert our previous English examples of the active voice to the passive voice:
Active: Pedro eats cookies
Passive: Cookies are eaten by Pedro
um... we painted a ton of dark backgrounds
um... a ton of dark backgrounds were painted by us
Active: Gabriel García Márquez wrote a lot of books.
Passive: A lot of books were written by Gabriel García Márquez.
Now that we have a better concept of the passive voice, how do we express it in Spanish? Let's learn two different formulas for doing so.
In this first formula, the verb ser (to be) is conjugated in accordance with the subject of the sentence and followed by a past participle (you may wish to consult this lesson that covers conjugating the past participle). In this construction, the participle (the equivalent of English words like "spoken," "eaten," "gone," etc.) must agree with the subject in terms of number and gender. Subsequently, por plus an agent may be optionally added to explain who or what completed the action. Let's take a look at some examples of this formula in Spanish:
y es escrito por mí personalmente.
and is personally written by me.
Caption 46, Los Tiempos de Pablo Escobar Capítulo 1 - Part 7Play Caption
En el Siglo dieciocho, las costas de San José en Almería eran asaltadas frecuentemente por piratas
In the eighteenth century, the coasts of San José in Almería were assaulted frequently by pirates
Captions 32-33, Club de las ideas Batería de breves - Part 1Play Caption
Las tarjetas fueron usadas
The cards were usedPlay Caption
Note that in accordance with las tarjetas, the third person plural of ser, fueron, is used along with the feminine plural participle usadas. However, in contrast to the other two examples where por is used to identify the person or people who carried out the action, here, the agent is unknown and thus unmentioned. Let's move on to our second formula.
This construction is formed with se and a verb in third person singular or plural, depending upon whether what is being spoken about (the subject) is singular or plural. Let's see a few examples:
Este vino se hace con una de las uvas más populares
This wine is made with one of the most popular grapes
Caption 21, Amaya Cata de vinosPlay Caption
las corridas se celebraban en la Plaza Mayor.
bullfights were held in the Plaza Mayor.
Caption 5, El Trip MadridPlay Caption
"Garr", no entiendo para qué se hicieron esos uniformes.
Garr, I don't understand why those uniforms were made.
Caption 53, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 2Play Caption
In the first caption, the verb hacer is conjugated in the third person singular to agree with el vino, while celebrar and hacer in the second and third examples are plural in agreement with las corridas and los uniformes. Notice that there is no mention of the entity who performed the action in any of these sentences since this second formula rarely mentions the action's agent.
The passive voice is more commonly encountered in the media or literature or when the agent that carried out the action is unknown or considered less relevant. It can only be used with transitive verbs, or verbs that are capable of transmitting some action onto a direct object. In terms of tenses, you may have noticed that our examples have included the present, imperfect, and preterite. While the passive voice formulas contain particular grammatical specifications, there is no mention of any of the specific Spanish verb tenses because active Spanish sentences in any verb tense can be converted to the passive voice. With this in mind, let's conclude this lesson with a present perfect tense example of the verb descubrir (to discover) in the active as well as both formats of the passive voice:
Científicos han descubierto que cuando un abrazo dura más de veinte segundos se produce un efecto terapéutico
Scientists have discovered that when a hug lasts more than twenty seconds, a therapeutic effect is produced
Captions 5-7, Aprendiendo con Silvia El abrazoPlay Caption
Ya que ellos, pues, han sido descubiertos en Inglaterra
Since they, well, have been discovered in England
Caption 40, Hugo Rodríguez Duendes artesanalesPlay Caption
porque se han descubierto muchas virtudes
because many virtues have been discovered
Caption 9, Cómetelo Crema de brócoli - Part 1Play Caption
That's all for today. For more information on the passive voice in Spanish, check out this four-part video series on La voz pasiva as well as this lesson on the passive vs. impersonal se constructions. And don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.
Like in English, the Spanish pluperfect tense describes something that happened before something else, for example, something that "had" already happened at a certain point in time or before another past action. Let's find out how to conjugate the Spanish pluperfect tense and hear several examples in action.
The Spanish pluperfect tense, which is sometimes referred to as the past perfect tense, is pretty easy to conjugate! It is very similar to the Spanish present perfect tense (the verb haber in the present tense + the participle) except that haber will be conjugated in the Spanish imperfect tense. So, the formula for the pluperfect tense in Spanish would be:
haber in the imperfect tense + the participle
Let's first take a look at the imperfect conjugation of haber:
|Personal Pronoun:||Conjugation of Haber:|
Now we need a Spanish participle. These correspond to English participles (which often but not always end in -ed or -en). Examples include regular -ar verbs like hablado (talked/spoken) and mirado (looked), regular -er verbs like comido (eaten) and aprendido (learned), regular -ir verbs like recibido (received) and dormido (slept), and irregular verbs like abierto (opened), visto (seen), and dicho (said). For a list of more irregular Spanish participles as well as a detailed explanation of how to conjugate participles in Spanish, we invite you to consult this lesson on the present perfect tense in Spanish.
Whereas the verb haber in the present tense can be translated as "have" in the context of the present perfect in examples like Yo he comido (I have eaten), Tú has comenzado (You have begun), or Nosotros/as hemos hablado (We have talked/spoken), the translation for the imperfect conjugation of haber within the pluperfect tense is "had." That said, let's look at those same verbs conjugated in the pluperfect, noting their translations:
Yo había comido: I had eaten
Tú habías comenzado: You had begun
Nosotros/as habíamos hablado: We had talked/spoken
Now that we know how to conjugate the Spanish pluperfect and how to translate it, let's view a few examples. You will note from the translations that the Spanish pluperfect is used in very similar situations as the pluperfect in English.
Cuando Cenicienta quiso dar las gracias, el hada ya había desaparecido.
When Cinderella tried to say thank you, the fairy had already disappeared.
Caption 1, Cuentos de hadas Cenicienta - Part 2Play Caption
Here, the pluperfect is used to indicate that the fairy "had disappeared" prior to the moment that Cinderella "tried" to say goodbye (as described by the preterite verb quiso). Let's see another one:
Pero es que nunca había visto una anguila.
But the thing is that I had never seen an eel.Play Caption
In this example, rather than expressing that "he'd" never "seen" an eel before some other past action, the speaker employs the pluperfect to explain that, at the moment in the past that he is describing, he "hadn't seen" an eel ever in his life. Let's look at one more:
decidieron regresar al lugar de donde habían venido.
they decided to return to the place where they had come from.Play Caption
In this final example, the preterite verb decidieron lets us know that in that moment in the past, "they decided" to go back to the location where they "had come from" (at some other moment in time prior to deciding to go back, of course!).
That's all for today. We hope that this lesson has helped you to understand how the Spanish pluperfect tense is conjugated and used... and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.
What would you do if you won the lottery? Spanish uses a type of conditional sentence known as the segunda condicional (second conditional) to describe these types of scenarios, which is formed with a simple formula that we will cover today.
There are many different types of Spanish conditionals, or conditional sentences. These are sentences that describe the result "if" a certain condition were in place. They are formed with a conditional si, or "if" clause, plus a main clause, and are classified according to the likelihood of the hypothetical situation. The second conditional typically focuses on scenarios that are unlikely or hypothetical, but can also be used to make an utterance extra polite.
Let's take a look at the formula for the second conditional in Spanish:
Si + imperfect subjunctive verb + conditional verb
If you need to learn or review these tenses or how to conjugate them, we recommend these lessons on the Spanish imperfect subjunctive tense, which describes the unlikely or hypothetical action, and the Spanish conditional tense which conveys the action(s) that "would" happen if some other condition "were" in place.
Let's take a look at several examples of the Spanish second conditional and some situations in which it could be employed. We'll start with some sentences that describe very unlikely situations:
Si me tocara la lotería, viajaría por todo el mundo, y me alojaría en los hoteles más lujosos.
If I won the lottery, I'd travel around the whole world, and I'd stay at the most luxurious hotels.
Captions 26-27, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: La segunda condicionalPlay Caption
Si tuvieras que morir, no podrías dejarme aquí
If you had to die, you couldn't leave me here
Caption 8, La Gusana Ciega No Me TientesPlay Caption
Si pudiera bajarte una estrella del cielo Lo haría sin pensarlo dos veces
If I could lower you down a star from the sky I'd do it without thinking twice
Captions 5-6, Enrique Iglesias Cuando me enamoroPlay Caption
Y si tuvieras hijos, ¿te gustaría que practicaran el surf también?
And if you had kids, would you like them to surf as well?
Captions 63-64, El Aula Azul Un día de surfPlay Caption
Si tuviera que definirla en una sola palabra, sería amor.
If I had to define her in just one word, it would be love.
Caption 22, Fermín y los gatos Mi gata PoeskaPlay Caption
Bueno, si yo fuera tú, hablaría con él.
Well, if I were you, I would speak with him.Play Caption
And finally, let's see an example where the second conditional is used in a likely scenario for the sake of politeness:
Pues, si pudiera venir a la oficina mañana a las nueve, la ubicaríamos en su puesto enseguida.
Well, if you could come to the office tomorrow at nine, we would get you acquainted with your position right away.
Captions 28-29, Negocios Empezar en un nuevo trabajo - Part 1Play Caption
Note that while the first conditional si puede venir a la oficina mañana a las nueve, la ubicaremos en su puesto enseguida (if you can come to the office tomorrow at nine, we will get you acquainted with your position right away) could also have been used in this situation, the second conditional in Spanish is sometimes chosen to infuse a sentence with extra formality.
In some cases, the order of the imperfect subjunctive and the conditional verbs can be flipped. Let's take a look at a couple of examples:
Pero, por eso, estamos imaginando qué pasaría si nos tocara la lotería,
But that's why we're imagining what would happen if we won the lottery,
Captions 34-35, Clase Aula Azul La segunda condicional - Part 2Play Caption
¿Qué harías si te encontraras un sobre con cincuenta mil euros?
What would you do if you found an envelope with fifty thousand euros?Play Caption
That's all for today. We hope that this lesson has helped you to understand a very common formula for talking about hypothetical situations in Spanish. For further information on this topic, we recommend this entertaining video entitled La Doctora Consejos: La segunda condicional (Doctor Advice: The Second Conditional) by El Aula Azul, or this more in-depth lesson called La Segunda Condicional by Clase El Aula Azul. And as always... don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.
What is the imperfect subjunctive tense in Spanish? It is basically the past version of the Spanish present subjunctive! That said, let's begin this lesson with a bit of background on the subjunctive, which is one of the three Spanish moods.
Most simply put, Spanish uses different verb tenses to distinguish between objective states and actions and subjective, uncertain, or emotional ones, for example, things we merely "hope" will happen. So, while there's no difference in verb form between "you come" and "I hope you come" in English, in the equivalent statement in Spanish, (usted) viene (you come) changes to the present subjunctive venga as we see here:
Espero que venga a ver nuestros productos,
I hope you come see our products,
Caption 70, Otavalo ArtesanosPlay Caption
To get a tad more technical, as we see in the example above, in Spanish sentences with a subjunctive verb, we often (but not always) see the following structure:
1. An independent clause with a verb in the indicative that "triggers" the use of the subjunctive (we'll learn more about these later!)
2. A conjunction, or connecting word, like que
3. A dependent clause with a subjunctive verb
And while a "triggering" present tense verb provokes the present subjunctive, a "triggering" verb in some form of the past tense (e.g. preterite, imperfect, or past perfect) will be followed by a verb in the Spanish imperfect subjunctive, as we see here:
La verdad esperaba que usted viniera con su apoderada.
Truthfully I was hoping that you'd come with your client.Play Caption
Now that you know a little bit about the Spanish imperfect subjunctive, let's learn how to conjugate it. If you know how to conjugate the third person plural of the preterite in Spanish, conjugating the imperfect subjunctive is relatively easy. You simply remove the -ron ending to get the imperfect subjunctive stem, then add one of two sets of endings (there are two distinct forms of the imperfect subjunctive in Spanish that are used interchangeably). Let's first take a look at these two ending sets:
|Subject Pronoun:||Ending 1:||Ending 2:|
Now, let's remove the -ron endings to come up with the imperfect stems for several common Spanish verbs:
|Verb||3rd Person Plural Preterite||Stem|
Now that we have the stems, let's add the endings to come up with the two versions of the Spanish imperfect subjunctive for all of these verbs, noting the addition of the accent in the nosotros/as (we) forms to maintain pronunciation. Although the first ending set is more commonly heard, while the second is the more "classic" form, there is no difference in meaning whatsoever.
And the good news is... there are no irregular verbs in the Spanish imperfect subjunctive!
So, what are some examples of Spanish verbs that trigger the subjunctive? The acronym W.E.I.R.D.O., which stands for Wishes, Emotions, Impersonal Expressions, Recommendations, Doubt/Denial, and Ojalá, can help you to remember many of them. Keep in mind that because today's lesson focuses on the imperfect subjunctive, all of said verbs will appear in one of the Spanish past tenses.
As you read the English translations, you might notice that while all of the Spanish sentences meet our aforementioned criteria for using the imperfect subjunctive, there is no "one size fits all" formula for translating this verb tense because it is used in a variety of different circumstances that call for varying verb tenses in English.
Verbs that describe our wishes, hopes, or desires call for the Spanish subjunctive and include desear (to want/wish/desire), esperar (to hope), exigir (to demand/require), insistir (to insist), mandar (to order), necesitar (to need), ordenar (to order), pedir (to ask), preferir (to prefer), and querer (to want). Let's take a look at two examples where said verbs in the Spanish imperfect tense prompt the use of the Spanish imperfect subjunctive:
que lo único que esperaba era que su madre pudiera acompañarlo a una presentación del colegio.
as the only thing he was hoping for was for his mother to be able to go with him to a school performance.
Captions 2-3, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 2 - Part 11Play Caption
Pero dijo que quería que fueran amigos.
But she said she wanted you guys to be friends.
Caption 55, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 11 - Part 4Play Caption
In these two examples, the English infinitives "to be" and "to be able" were used to translate the Spanish imperfect subjunctive because in English, we often say that we what we hoped was for something "to happen." However, in the first example "the only thing he was hoping for was that his mother could accompany him to a school performance" could be another viable/equivalent translation.
Emotional verbs like alegrarse (to be happy/glad), enojarse (to be/get angry), encantar (to delight), lamentar (to regret/be sorry), molestar (to bother), sentir (to be sorry), and sorprender (to surprise) also provoke the subjunctive. Let's see two examples of the imperfect subjunctive sparked by the imperfect and preterite tenses:
¿Y por eso te preocupaba tanto que él viniera a verme, que me contara algo?
And that's why it worried you so much that he'd come to see me, that he'd tell me something?
Caption 54, Yago 12 Fianza - Part 2Play Caption
No, me encantó que me llamaras, escucháme, eh...
No, I loved it that you called me; listen to me, um...
Caption 63, Muñeca Brava 2 Venganza - Part 3Play Caption
The first example describes one's past worry about what might happen (whether or not it did), and since in English, we often say we were worried about what "would happen," it was translated in this fashion. The second example, on the other hand, describes an action that actually took place: "you called". And yet, despite the necessary differences in the English translations, we see that in both cases, the use of an "emotional" verb in the first clause triggered the use of the Spanish imperfect subjunctive in the second.
Impersonal expressions are constructions that don't involve any particular person and typically begin with the third person singular of some form of ser (to be) plus almost any adjective. Examples include bueno (good), curioso (interesting), dudoso (doubtful), extraño (strange), importante (important), necesario (necessary), probable (probable), raro (strange), urgente (urgent), and many more (the exception being adjectives that indicate certainty, such as cierto (certain) or seguro (sure). Let's see some examples of impersonal expressions in the imperfect tense that call for an imperfect subjunctive verb in the second clause:
Es que era muy raro que no abrieran la puerta.
It's just that it was very strange that they weren't opening the door.
Caption 20, Tu Voz Estéreo Embalsamado - Part 10Play Caption
Y para mí era bien importante que el grupo tuviera letras...
And it was really important to me that the band had lyrics...
Caption 61, La Gusana Ciega Entrevista - Part 1Play Caption
Again, the first caption describes an action that was actually happening (they weren't opening the door), while the second describes someone's past preference (which may or may not have come to fruition). Regardless, an impersonal expression in the imperfect tense triggered the use of the imperfect subjunctive. Note that an alternative translation for the second example might be: "And it was really important to me for the band to have lyrics."
Verbs that either recommend or don't recommend other actions, such as aconsejar (to advise), decir (to tell), dejar (to allow), exigir (to demand), hacer (to make/force), insistir (to insist), mandar (to order), ordenar (to order), prohibir (to forbid), proponer (to suggest), recomendar (to recommend), rogar (to beg), sugerir (to suggest), and suplicar (to beg) call for the subjunctive mood. Let's look at some examples in the preterite:
Le propuse que hiciéramos un pequeño taller de artesanía,
I suggested to him that we open a small craft studio,
Caption 40, Playa Adícora Francisco - Part 2Play Caption
Yo sé que les dijimos que no vinieran por acá pero
I know we told them not to come here, butPlay Caption
Although we might find out later whether or not someone's advice was actually taken, in the moment it was given, the aforementioned "advising" verbs always trigger the Spanish imperfect subjunctive.
When conjugated in some form of the past, doubt verbs like dudar (to doubt), no creer (to not believe) or no poder creer (to not be able to believe), no parecer (to not seem), no pensar (to not think), and no suponer (to not suppose) call for the imperfect subjunctive:
Bueno, por un instante llegué a dudar de que estuvieras.
Well, for a moment, I even began to doubt that you would be [here].
Caption 41, Yago 4 El secreto - Part 11Play Caption
Yo no podía creer que me pasara que una chica así se me acercara
I couldn't believe this was happening to me that such a girl would approach me
Captions 7-8, Enanitos Verdes Cuánto PoderPlay Caption
In these examples, past "doubt" causes the Spanish imperfect subjunctive, regardless of whether the situations were actually unfolding. The second example is interesting because it has been translated with both the past progressive "was happening" and the conditional "would approach" in English to represent that the speaker still can't believe such a situation "would happen" to him, even as it was.
Although ojalá and ojalá que aren't technically verbs but rather conjunctions, they are roughly equivalent to such English expressions as "I hope," "let's hope," or "God willing" and require the subjunctive. When used with the imperfect subjunctive, these expressions are often to describe hypothetical situations that one wishes "were" true (interestingly, the change from "was" to "were" to represent a hypothetical situation is the only time we see a verb change in the subjunctive mood in English). Let's look at some examples:
No es crucial. Ojalá todos los problemas fueran estos.
It's not crucial. If only all problems were [like] these.
Caption 19, Cómetelo Crema de brócoli - Part 9Play Caption
Y ojalá todo el mundo estuviera lo suficientemente entusiasmado.
And I wish everyone were excited enough.
Caption 8, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 1Play Caption
We hope that these examples have helped you to understand how to conjugate the Spanish imperfect subjunctive tense, some scenarios in which to use it, and some of the many ways in which it might be translated to English. In future lessons, we hope to focus on some additional, common uses of this tense, but in the meantime... don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.
The present subjunctive in Spanish is one of the many verb tenses in the Spanish subjunctive mood. The subjunctive mood is one of three moods in Spanish (the indicative, the imperative, and the subjunctive) that indicates the presence of doubt, emotion, or subjectivity, in contrast to the indicative, which states facts. The focus of today's lesson will be the conjugation of the Spanish present subjunctive tense.
Before going on to conjugation, let's see an example of the present subjunctive in Spanish, which typically appears after the present indicative in dependent clauses connected by a coordinating conjunction such as que (that). As a simple example, if you say, "I hope [that] you practice at home" with ustedes (plural you) in Spanish, the correct manner of doing so would be:
espero que practiquen en su casa
I hope you guys practice at home
Caption 60, Lecciones de guitarra Con Cristhian - Part 3Play Caption
Rather than espero que practican en su casa because the verb tense changes from the indicative (practican) to the subjunctive (practiquen) due to the "hope" regarding whether the action will take place. In another lesson, we will explore the many scenarios in which the Spanish subjunctive mood comes into play.
The first step in conjugating most verbs in the present subjunctive is to recall the present indicative yo (I) form of the verb. We then remove the -o in order to get the stem and add the corresponding endings for -ar and -er/-ir verbs, which we can think of as the "opposite" of the endings for each verb class in the present indicative.
Let's use the aforementioned formula to get the stems for three of the most common regular verbs:
|hablar (to speak)||hablo||habl-|
|comer (to eat)||como||com-|
|subir (to go up)||subo||sub-|
Now, let's look at the present subjunctive endings for -ar vs. -er/-ir verbs:
|Personal Pronoun:||-ar Verbs:||-er/-ir Verbs:|
Armed with this information, we can easily conjugate these verbs in the present subjunctive in Spanish. You will note that in the present subjunctive, the yo form and the él/ella/usted form are exactly the same.
Now, let's see these Spanish present subjunctive verbs in action:
Porque quiero que hablemos de negocios.
Because I want us to talk about business.
Caption 3, Muñeca Brava 8 Trampas - Part 6Play Caption
¿'tas listo? -¿Qué querés que yo coma lo mismo?
You ready? -What, do you want me to eat the same thing?
Caption 43, Factor Fobia Cucarachas - Part 1Play Caption
Dígale que no suba.
Tell him not to come up.
Caption 43, Muñeca Brava 33 El partido - Part 6Play Caption
Note that the in the vast majority of cases, even verbs with spelling changes in the yo form will follow this very same formula for obtaining their stems/conjugations. Let's see several examples:
Present Subjunctive Conjugations:
caber (to fit): quepa, quepas, quepa, quepamos, quepáis, quepan
coger (to take): coja, cojas, coja, cojamos, cojáis, cojan
conocer (to know): conozca, conozcas, conozca, conozcamos, conozcáis, conozcan
decir (to say): diga, digas, diga, digamos, digáis, digan
hacer (to make/do): haga, hagas, haga, hagamos, hagáis, hagan
poner (to put): ponga, pongas, ponga, pongamos, pongáis, pongan
salir (to go out): salga, salgas, salga, salgamos, salgáis, salgan
tener (to have): tenga, tengas, tenga, tengamos, tengáis, tengan
traer (to bring): traiga, traigas, traiga, traigamos, traigáis, traigan
ver (to see): vea, veas, vea, veamos, veáis, vean
We will now hear a couple of these in context:
Lo mejor es que tengan sala de estudio
The best thing is for them to have a study room
Caption 45, Club de las ideas La bibliotecaPlay Caption
Bueno, te invito ahora a que conozcas el teatro.
Well, now I invite you to see the theater.
Caption 24, El teatro. Conversación con un doble de acción.Play Caption
Let's examine several categories of stem-changing verbs that behave slightly differently in the present subjunctive in Spanish:
An example of this category is querer (to want), for which the yo form is quiero. While the stem for this verb is indeed quier- as usual, the stem change does not take place in the nosotros/as and vosotros/as forms, which use the stem of the infinitive (removing the -ar or -er) as follows:
quiera, quieras, quiera, queramos, queráis, quieran.
Additional verbs that fall into this category include: cerrar (to close), entender (to understand), and perder (to lose).
One example is volver (to return), and the yo form is vuelvo. The stem for this verb is vuelv-, but as with the previous category, there is no stem change in the nosotros/as and vosotros/as forms, which also take the stem from the infinitive:
vuelva, vuelvas, vuelva, volvamos, volváis, vuelvan
Some other verbs in this category are: poder (to be able), contar (to tell), volver (to return), and encontrar (to find).
An example would be sentir (to feel). As in the first category, these verbs change stems in all forms except for nosotros/as and vosotros/as. With -ir verbs, however, the -ie changes to an -i, as follows:
sienta, sientas, sienta, sintamos, sintáis, sientan
Verbs that work similarly include repetir (to repeat) and preferir (to prefer).
The verb dormir (to sleep) falls into this category in which verbs change stems in all forms except nosotros/as and vosotros/as, where the -o changes to a -u:
duerma, duermas, duerma, durmamos, durmáis, duerman
The verb morir (to die) also belongs to this class of verbs.
Let's listen to a couple of examples of such stem-changing verbs in the present subjunctive in Spanish:
lo mejor sería que vuelvas al convento.
the best thing would be for you to return to the convent.
Caption 15, Muñeca Brava 33 El partido - Part 7Play Caption
Espero que ahora entiendan mejor
I hope that you now understand betterPlay Caption
To make matters a bit more complicated, some verbs in the Spanish present subjunctive change spelling in order to maintain their pronunciation, and some verbs change both stems and spelling! Let's take a look at these additional verb categories.
It is worth noting that the g in verbs ending in -ger and -gir changes to a j in the Spanish present subjunctive, for example, in the aforementioned verb coger (to get). However, this doesn't really deviate from our formula since the present indicative yo form of coger is cojo. Other verbs that follow this pattern in Spanish include corregir (to correct), elegir (to choose), and recoger (to pick up).
corregir: corrija, corrijas, corrija, corrijamos, corrijáis, corrijan
elegir: elija, elijas, elija, elijamos, elijáis, elijan
recoger: recoja, recojas, recoja, recojamos, recojáis, recojan
In the Spanish present subjunctive, verbs ending in -car change their final consonant to -qu, verbs ending in -gar change to -gu, and -zar verbs' z changes to a c. Let's take a look at verbs in each of these categories:
sacar (to take out): saque, saques, saque, saquemos, saquéis, saquen
tocar (to take): toque, toques, toque, toquemos, toquéis, toquen
cargar (to charge): cargue, cargues, cargue, carguemos, carguéis, carguen
pagar (to pay): pague, pagues, pague, paguemos, paguéis, paguen
lanzar (to throw): lance, lances, lance, lancemos, lancéis, lancen
empezar (to start): empiece, empieces, empiece, empecemos, empecéis, empiecen
Let's hear some examples of verbs with spelling changes in the Spanish present subjunctive:
Es que no necesito que me recojas hoy.
It's just that I don't need you to pick me up today.
Caption 52, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 9 - Part 6Play Caption
Bueno, ¿tú me aconsejas que comience a escribir ya con todas estas inquietudes que tengo?
Well, do you advise me to start writing now with all these concerns that I have?Play Caption
Although you have seen that there are a lot of nuances to conjugating verbs in the present subjunctive in Spanish, there are only six verbs that are considered truly irregular. We have provided their conjugations here:
Note that the yo and él/ella/usted conjugations of the verb dar, dé, has an accent on the e to distinguish it from the preposition de (of/from).
Let's conclude by hearing a couple of these irregular verbs in the Spanish present subjunctive in action:
Espero que sea una bonita sorpresa.
I hope that it's a nice surprise.
Caption 11, NPS No puede ser 1 - El concurso - Part 8Play Caption
Dígame algo que no sepa.
Tell me something I don't know.
Caption 3, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 7 - Part 4Play Caption
And speaking of learning new things, we hope you've found this lesson on conjugating verbs in the Spanish present subjunctive helpful! To hear a bunch more verbs conjugated in the Spanish present subjunctive, we recommend this video on Subjunctivo y sentimientos (Subjuntive and Feelings), and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.
What is the present perfect tense in Spanish? Despite its name in English, the Spanish present perfect tense is actually one of the past tenses in Spanish, which indicates that one "has done" some action within some specific period of time. This lesson will examine how to conjugate this useful Spanish tense as well as providing examples of when to use it.
The present perfect tense in Spanish is relatively easy to conjugate. To do so, we should remember a simple formula: haber in present tense + participle. Let's first take a look at the present conjugation of the verb haber, which corresponds to the English "has" or "have" in the present perfect:
|Personal Pronoun:||Conjugation of Haber:|
Now, let's examine how to conjugate the participle form of verbs in Spanish, which corresponds to English words with endings like -ed or -en, such as "taken," "looked," "baked," etc.
Conjugating the participle with -ar verbs:
Take the infinitive, remove the -ar, and add the suffix -ado:
hablar: hablado (to talk/speak: talked/spoken)
mirar: mirado (to watch: watched)
comenzar: comenzado (to start/begin: started/begun)
bailar: bailado (to dance: danced)
Conjugating the participle with -er and -ir verbs:
Take the infinitive, remove the -er or -ir, and add the suffix -ido:
comer: comido (to eat: eaten)
aprender: aprendido (to learn: learned)
recibir: recibido (to receive: received)
subir: subido (to rise/go up: risen/gone up)
Ahora que hemos aprendido (Now that we've learned) how to conjugate verbs in the present perfect tense in Spanish, we should think about when to use it. Just like the present perfect in English, we use the Spanish present perfect to describe actions that have been completed within a certain period of time. As previously mentioned, because these actions were completed in the past, however recent, the present perfect is considered a past tense in Spanish, in which it is known as el pretérito perfecto (literally the "past" or "preterite perfect"). With this in mind, let's take a look at some examples:
Ya hemos visto que reciclar contribuye de forma importante,
We have already seen that recycling contributes in an important way,
Caption 23, 3R Campaña de reciclaje - Part 3Play Caption
¿Pero se han preguntado alguna vez cómo se cultivan y se comercializan?
But have you ever wondered how they are grown and sold?
Captions 75-76, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 16Play Caption
Hoy ha llovido todo el día.
"Hoy ha llovido todo el día" [Today it has rained the whole day].Play Caption
Sometimes, Spanish speakers from Spain in particular use the present perfect to talk about actions in the recent past in situations in which English speakers would most likely use the past tense and Latin Americans would probably use the Spanish preterite. Let's look at an example:
Hola, soy Ariana Moreno y he dormido fatal. He pasado una mala noche.
Hello, I'm Ariana Moreno, and I've slept horribly. I've had a bad night.
Captions 1-3, Ariana Cita médicaPlay Caption
Pues nada, que ha empezado el día superbién, se ha levantado a las ocho, ha desayunado en la cafetería al lado de la escuela como siempre, ha venido a clase, hemos tenido la clase como todos los lunes.
Well, she's started the day very well, she's gotten up at eight, she's had breakfast in the cafeteria next to the school as always, she's come to class, we've had the class like every Monday.
Captions 6-10, El Aula Azul Conversación: Un día de mala suertePlay Caption
What are grammatical "moods"? Many definitions of grammatical moods in linguistics explain them as features of verbs that describe "modality." But, what is "modality"?
In a nutshell, "modality" refers to a speaker's attitude toward what he or she is saying, which might entail such concepts as possibility, probability, certainty or doubt. "Moods" are not the same as tenses, which convey when things happen, and each of the sixteen Spanish tenses fall into one of the three mood categories. That said, let's delve deeper into the three grammatical moods in Spanish: the indicative, the subjunctive, and the imperative.
Most simply put, the indicative mood describes facts, things about which the speaker is certain, or "the objective truth." Let's take a look at some examples of sentences with verbs in the indicative mood.
Estoy seguro que voy a poder ayudarla en algo.
I'm sure that I am going to be able to help you with something.
Caption 7, Yago 9 Recuperación - Part 7Play Caption
This speaker says in the Spanish present indicative tense that he's seguro (sure) that he will be able to help the person to whom he's speaking. Such phrases referring to certainty like Estoy seguro que (I'm sure that) or even Yo creo que (I believe that) are tip-offs that the verb(s) that follow(s) will be in the indicative because they indicate conviction. However, many examples of verbs in the indicative mood in Spanish won't be quite so straightforward.
Hablaremos sobre el candombe.
We'll talk about candombe.
Caption 11, Sonido Babel El candombe de UruguayPlay Caption
In this example of the future indicative tense in Spanish, the speaker states (with certainty) what it is he will talk about. Let's take a look at an additional example.
¡Sí! Fuimos a buscar conchas pero no fue fácil encontrarlas.
Yes! We went to look for shells but it wasn't easy to find them.
Caption 13, Guillermina y Candelario El ManglarPlay Caption
In this final example in the Spanish preterite tense, the speaker clearly states the objective truth about what happened in the past: Fuimos a buscar (We went to look for) seashells, and no fue (it wasn't) easy. Although whether or not something is easy is a subjective concept, it is important to remember that it is the speaker's attitude or belief about what he or she is stating that determines the mood.
There are ten verb tenses in the Spanish indicative mood: the present, the imperfect, the preterite, the future, the simple conditional, the present perfect, the pluperfect, the past anterior, the conditional perfect, and the future perfect. For a closer look at each of these tenses with examples, we recommend this lesson on the Spanish indicative tenses.
While the indicative conveys certainty and objectivity, the subjunctive conveys such opposing concepts as subjectivity, doubt, wishful thinking, hypothetical situations, and more. Let's take a look at some examples:
No, no, no. No creo que sea muy peligroso
No, no, no. I don't think he's very dangerous,Play Caption
Just like the expression Creo que (I believe that) lets you know that the following verb will be conjugated in the indicative, the phrase No creo que (I don't believe that) is an indicator for the subjunctive. Although we won't enter into verb conjugation in this lesson, we will say that verbs in the subjunctive mood are conjugated differently than in the indicative: for example, sea is the subjunctive conjugation of ser (to be) in third person singular and is thus used in place of the indicative form es. Let's take a look at another example:
de verdad, esperamos que te hayamos podido devolver la alegría.
we really hope that we've been able to give you back your joy.
Caption 58, Tu Voz Estéreo Laura - Part 17Play Caption
Here, the indicative present perfect form hemos podido (we've been able) has been replaced with the subjunctive present perfect, hayamos podido, because the speaker is expressing a hope that something has happened rather than stating that it actually has. Let's look at another example of the subjunctive mood in Spanish:
Si yo fuera un hombre, yo pensaría que las mujeres son complicadas.
If I were a man, I would think that women are complicated.
Caption 28, Conjugación El verbo 'pensar'Play Caption
This sentence employs a common construction that combines the imperfect subjunctive with the Spanish conditional tense to talk about what "would" happen "were" a hypothetical situation in place.
Learning all of the situations and/or constructions that require the subjunctive mood in Spanish can be quite challenging for native English speakers since verbs in the subjunctive mood in English rarely change. As a guideline, statements in which the second verb in a construction changes to the subjunctive include wishes like deseo que (I wish that...), emotions like me alegro de que (I'm happy that...), impersonal expressions like es importante que (it's important that...), recommendations like sugiero que (I suggest that...), and doubts like dudo que (I doubt that...), just to name a few.
The Spanish subjunctive mood encompasses six tenses: the present subjunctive, the imperfect subjunctive, the future subjunctive, the present perfect subjunctive, the pluperfect subjunctive, and the future perfect subjunctive, which are explained in greater detail in this lesson on the subjunctive tenses in Spanish that also touches on our third and final Spanish mood.
Understanding the speaker's "attitude" in the imperative mood is less nuanced: one is "ordering" or "commanding" someone else to do something:
¡Hazlo todo de nuevo!
Do it all over again!
Caption 32, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 3 - Part 7Play Caption
This is an example of a positive, informal command (with tú, or the singular, informal "you") in Spanish. Let's see another example:
Chicos, no me hagan esta broma tan pesada.
Guys, don't play this very annoying joke on me.
Caption 49, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 1Play Caption
Here, we see the negative command that corresponds to the pronoun ustedes (plural "you"). Let's check out one more:
Empecemos por la forma, luego iremos al contenido.
Let's start with the form, then we'll go on to the content.
Caption 6, Ana Carolina CondicionalesPlay Caption
This "less commanding" sentence reflects the imperative form that goes with nosotros/as, or "we," which you can learn more about in the lesson Let's Learn Spanish Commands with Nosotros/as.
We can group Spanish commands into eight categories: positive commands with tú, negative commands with tú, (positive or negative) commands with usted (formal "you"), (positive or negative) commands with ustedes (plural "you"), positive commands with vos (informal "you" in certain regions), positive commands with vosotros/as (informal plural "you" in Spain), negative commands with vosotros/as, and (positive or negative) commands with nosotros/as (we). For a more in-depth look at the various types of commands in Spanish, we recommend the following four-part series on El modo imperativo.
We hope that this lesson has shed some light on the concept of the three grammatical "moods" in Spanish and would like to conclude it with an imperative sentence: No te olvides de dejarnos tus sugerencias y comentarios (Don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments).
The Spanish future tense is one of the most straightforward tenses in Spanish, both in terms of knowing when to use it and how to conjugate it. Let's take a closer look at this tense.
The future tense in Spanish corresponds to the English construction with "will" plus a verb and is used to talk about actions that are slated to happen in the future or that someone has the intention to carry out. Simple English examples of this concept include: "Tomorrow, I will go to the store," or "Next week, it will rain." With this in mind, let's examine several examples of the future tense in Spanish:
y hoy les hablaré de una de mis pasiones:
and today, I'll talk to you about one of my passions:
Caption 4, Ana Carolina La meditaciónPlay Caption
Yo creo que esto lo venderemos súper bien.
I think we'll sell this one really well.
Caption 44, Santuario para burros Tienda solidariaPlay Caption
El botón [sic] la ayudará con su equipaje y lo subirá en un par de minutos a la habitación.
The porter will help you with your luggage and will take it up to the room in a couple of minutes.
Captions 61-62, Cleer y Lida Recepción de hotelPlay Caption
Note that as English "will" constructions are often expressed with contractions (the personal pronoun plus apostrophe double l, such as "I'll," "we'll," etc.), many Spanish future tense verbs can be translated to English in this less formal fashion.
Conjugating most verbs in the future tense in Spanish is quite simple. You just take the verb's infinitive ("to" form) in its entirety and add the corresponding future tense ending. So, using the verbs in our previous examples, we'd start with their infinitive forms: hablar (to talk), vender (to sell), ayudar (to help), and subir (to take up). You will note that these infinitive verbs fall into all three infinitive verb categories: -ar, -er, and -ir.
Step two of the process of conjugating Spanish future tense verbs is to memorize the quite simple endings that correspond to their personal pronouns, which are as follows:
Armed with this information, let's conjugate some future tense verbs using different verbs and personal pronouns than the examples above.
1. Suppose we want to say that more than one person "will see" something (with the personal pronoun ustedes, or plural "you"). We would take the infinitive verb ver (to see) and add the appropriate ending (-án) to get verán:
Mañana ustedes verán si nos... si nos medimos a ese, a ese reto.
Tomorrow you guys will see if we... if we measure up to that, to that challenge.
Captions 36-37, Festivaliando Mono Núñez - Part 13Play Caption
2. Now, let's imagine that you want to tell more than one person in a familiar environment what they'll "need." Oh— and you're in Spain, where the personal pronouns vosotros/as are the way to address more than one person as "you" informally. We'd take the verb for "to need" (necesitar) and the corresponding ending -éis to get necesitaréis:
Para empezar a hacer la tortilla española, necesitaréis los siguientes ingredientes:
To start to make the Spanish tortilla, you'll need the following ingredients:
Captions 8-9, Clara cocina Una tortilla españolaPlay Caption
3. And finally, what if you would like to say with the tú (informal "you") form to someone what he or she "will discover"? You'd start with the verb descubrir (to discover) and add the -ás ending that goes with tú to get descubrirás:
Pronto lo descubrirás
Soon you'll discover it
Caption 68, X6 1 - La banda - Part 2Play Caption
As with all Spanish verb tenses, there are some irregular verbs in the future tense in Spanish, many of which are extremely common. That said, it would behoove you to memorize the following stems, which are used in lieu of these verbs' infinitives to conjugate the "top twelve" irregular future tense verbs in Spanish:
|caber (to fit):||cabr-|
|decir (to tell):||dir-|
|haber (to have/be):||habr-|
|hacer (to make/do):||har-|
|poder (to be able):||podr-|
|poner (to put):||pondr-|
|querer (to want):||querr-|
|saber (to know):||sabr-|
|salir (to leave):||saldr-|
|tener (to have):||tendr-|
|valer (to be worth):||valdr-|
|venir (to come):||vendr-|
Now, let's conjugate a few of these irregular Spanish future tense verbs:
1. How would we express "I'll say" in Spanish? Rather than the infinitive, we'd take the aforementioned stem for the Spanish verb decir, -dir, and add the ending that corresponds with yo (I), or -é, to get diré:
Primero, diré el verbo en infinitivo,
First, I'll say the verb in the infinitive,
Caption 38, Carlos explica El modo imperativo 1: Tú + vosPlay Caption
2. How would we say "you'll have" in Spanish? Take the stem of the irregular verb tener (to have), tendr-, and add the ending for tú (you), -ás, to get: tendrás.
Sí, después de las clases en grupo, tendrás media hora de descanso
Yes, after the group classes, you'll have a half hour breakPlay Caption
3. And finally, what if want to express that "we'll be able" to do something? We'll take podr-, the stem for the verb for "to be able" (poder), and add the ending for nosotros/as, -emos, to come up with podremos:
Con un poco de práctica, podremos aprender estas reglas muy fácilmente.
With a bit of practice, we will be able to learn these rules very easily.Play Caption
Although the translations for Spanish verbs conjugated in the Spanish future tense almost always involve the word "will," the future tense in Spanish can occasionally be used to express doubt or disbelief, and, in such cases, corresponds more closely with the English concepts of "would," "could," "might," or "may." Such cases are typically quite clear from their contexts as inserting the word "will" would seem nonsensical. Let's take a look at a couple of examples:
¿No tendrás unos pesitos para mí?
You wouldn't have a few pesos for me?
Caption 23, Muñeca Brava 8 Trampas - Part 14Play Caption
Favio, ¿dónde estarás?
Favio, where could you be?
Caption 44, Yago 1 La llegada - Part 7Play Caption
Having said that, in the vast majority of the cases you will come across, the future tense in Spanish can be translated with "will."
We hope you've enjoyed this lesson on the future tense in Spanish. If you are interested in verb tenses, we recommend you check out our lessons on all of the Spanish verb tenses, beginning with the indicative verb tenses in Spanish and moving on to the Spanish subjunctive tenses. And, for an even deeper look into the future tense in Spanish with a plethora of example sentences, we recommend you check out this extended lesson by Javi on the future tense in Spanish as well as this lesson on an alternative to the Spanish future tense.
That's all for today! Don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments, and estaremos en contacto (we'll be in touch).
Just when you thought you'd memorized the meanings of a bunch of infinitive verbs (their "to" forms, like saber (to know), poder (to be able), etc.), you find out that there are some verbs that actually change meanings from one tense to another! Verbs that mean one thing in tenses like the Spanish present indicative tense and the imperfect tense in Spanish but change meaning in the Spanish preterite tense will be the focus of today's lesson.
In a nutshell, there are two "main" past tenses in Spanish: the imperfect tense in Spanish, which is used to describe past actions that were ongoing, in progress, or interrupted, and the Spanish preterite tense, which describes completed past actions. As we mentioned, as the meaning of some Spanish verbs actually changes in the preterite tense in Spanish, let's take a look at some examples of several of these verbs and their translations in the present, the imperfect, and, finally, the preterite, via examples from Yabla Spanish's video library.
Let's take a look at some examples of the Spanish verb conocer in the present and imperfect tenses:
porque conozco un sitio muy bueno y podemos ir.
because I know a very good place and we can go.
Caption 67, Cleer Entrevista a GiluancarPlay Caption
Pablo Escobar conocía La Catedral como la palma de la mano,
Pablo Escobar knew La Cathedral like the back of his hand
Caption 42, Los Tiempos de Pablo Escobar Capítulo 2 - Part 6Play Caption
In both the Spanish present indicative and the imperfect tense, the Spanish verb conocer means "to know" in the sense of "being familiar with." However, in the preterite tense, the Spanish verb conocer has a different meaning. Let's take a look:
Cuando yo conocí a mi esposa, hace nueve años, la primera cosa yo le dije a ella, te... tú vas a ser la mamá de mis hijas.
When I met my wife, nine years ago, the first thing I said to her, you... you are going to be the mom of my daughters.
Captions 52-54, La Sub30 Familias - Part 4Play Caption
As you can see in this example, as the preterite tense in Spanish limits an action to a specific moment in time, the meaning of the Spanish verb conocer changes to "to meet" in the Spanish preterite tense.
Detrás de mí podemos observar la ciudad antigua
Behind me, we can observe the old city
Caption 11, Ciudad de Panamá Denisse introduce la ciudadPlay Caption
Yo pensé que podía saltar muy alto.
I thought I could jump really high.Play Caption
So, how does the meaning of the Spanish verb poder transform in the preterite?
Es que no entiendo cómo pudo entrar aquí.
It's just that I don't understand how he managed to get in here.Play Caption
Although "It's just that I don't understand how he was able to get in here" could also be a viable translation, in some contexts, this English rendition would not make it clear whether someone actually did something or merely had the ability to do so. Hence, the important thing to remember when the Spanish verb poder is conjugated in the Spanish preterite tense is that it ceases to describe merely the potential for something to happen and states that it actually did. "To manage" (to do something) is thus a common translation for the Spanish verb poder in the preterite tense that makes this distinction clear.
The meaning of no poder in both the present and imperfect tenses in Spanish is pretty straightforward: "to not be able to," in other words, "can't" in the present and "couldn't" in the (imperfect) past:
¿Cómo que no pueden hacer nada? ¿Cómo que no pueden hacer nada más?
What do you mean you can't do anything? What do you mean you can't do anything else?
Caption 17, Yago 3 La foto - Part 2Play Caption
Y no podía estudiar.
And I couldn't study.
Caption 1, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 5 - Part 3Play Caption
So, what about the preterite? If we know that the preterite form of the Spanish verb poder means "to manage to" do something, it follows that the preterite form of no poder can mean "to not manage to," or, better yet, "to fail to" to do something.
Si usted no pudo controlar su matrimonio ¿cómo va a controlar y dirigir y manejar el interés público?
If you failed to control your marriage, how are you going to control and direct and manage public interest?
Captions 58-59, Muñeca Brava 43 La reunión - Part 3Play Caption
While we might alternatively translate "si usted no pudo controlar su matrimonio" as "you couldn't control your marriage" or "you weren't able to control your marriage," the important thing to remember is that the verb poder in the preterite means that something in the past was attempted but did not come to fruition.
The Spanish verb saber typically means "to know" (in the sense of facts or information) in the present, imperfect, etc.:
No es información nueva, y ellas lo saben.
It's not new information, and they know it.Play Caption
Sí. Si algo sabíamos era que la plata no crece en los árboles.
Yes. If we knew anything, it was that money didn't grow on trees.
Caption 28, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 10 - Part 2Play Caption
However, because the preterite tense in Spanish narrows the timeline of such "knowing" down to a specific moment, the meaning of the Spanish verb saber transforms, in the preterite tense, from "to know" to "to find out":
A tal punto que yo me alegré mucho, mucho, cuando supe que ibas a pasar veinticinco años en la cárcel.
To the point that I was very happy, very, when I found out you were going to spend twenty-five years in prison.
Captions 56-57, Yago 14 La peruana - Part 1Play Caption
The verb tener in Spanish means "to have" in most tenses, as in the following excerpts:
Todas las estaciones tienen sus ventajas.
All of the seasons have their advantages.
Caption 42, Clara explica El tiempo - Part 2Play Caption
Tenía una casa pues, amueblada de cuatrocientos metros
I had a, well, furnished, four-hundred meter house,
Caption 79, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 8Play Caption
And, although the meaning of the Spanish verb tener doesn't always change in the preterite, it sometimes takes on the meaning of "to receive" or "to get," as in the case of: Tuve una carta (I got a letter). Let's look at an additional example:
Y bueno, ahí tuve otras proposiciones, que no eran tampoco un sueño, pero eran mucho más interesantes que lo que tenía en Cuba,
And well, there, I got other proposals, which weren't a dream either, but they were much more interesting than what I had in Cuba,
Captions 49-51, Orishas Entrevista Canal PlusPlay Caption
6. Querer (to want)
The verb querer in Spanish most often means "to want." Let's see it in action:
Amigos de Yabla, hoy los queremos invitar a aprender español
Friends of Yabla, today we want to invite you to learn Spanish
Captions 1-2, El Hatillo, Caracas, Venezuela El cuatroPlay Caption
Yo de niña pensaba que quería ser bailarina. ¿Qué pensabas tú?
As a little girl I thought that I wanted to be a dancer. What did you think?
Caption 20, Conjugación El verbo 'pensar'Play Caption
In the preterite tense, however, the Spanish verb querer "puts a limit" on this past "wanting" and becomes a manner of saying that someone "tried" to do something:
Yo quise ser su amiga, pero no me dejó.
I tried to be his friend, but he didn't let me.Play Caption
In our first two tenses, the Spanish verb phrase no querer means exactly what it sounds like: "to not want." Let's examine some clips that demonstrate this construction in the present and imperfect:
Es que yo no quiero vivir en el centro.
The thing is, I don't want to live in the downtown area.Play Caption
y en un principio le dije que no quería tener un gato en casa.
and at first, I told her I didn't want to have a cat in my home.
Caption 32, Fermín y los gatos Mi gata PoeskaPlay Caption
The preterite form of the Spanish verb querer, on the other hand, means that someone not only "didn't want" to do something at a specific point in the past, they actually didn't (or "wouldn't"):
mi otra hermana, Zoraida Zárraga, mi sobrino, Harold Blanco, que no quisieron presentarse por temor a cámara.
my other sister, Zoraida Zarraga, my nephew, Harold Blanco, who refused to appear due to camera shyness.
Captions 11-13, Coro, Venezuela Relaciones familiaresPlay Caption
So, we see that the meaning of the verb no querer in Spanish can sometimes become to "to refuse" in the preterite tense.
We hope that this lesson has edified you regarding the alternative meanings of some Spanish verbs when they are conjugated in the preterite tense. Can you think of any we missed? Don't forget to tell us with your suggestions and comments.
Welcome to the second part of this lesson where we touch on all the different Spanish verb tenses! So... how many tenses in Spanish did we say there were? Sixteen! In the first part, we covered the ten "official" tenses of the indicative mood, which deals more with concrete facts, in addition to some "bonus" (non-official) tenses. Now, we'll move on to the other two Spanish moods: the subjunctive, where we will cover tenses eleven through sixteen of the Spanish verb paradigm, and the imperative. If you didn't already, we definitely recommend checking out Part 1 of this lesson.
While the indicative mood deals with facts, the subjunctive mood in Spanish, in a nutshell, deals with more abstract notions like wishes, desires, emotions, opinions, and more, which require a whole different set of tenses in Spanish. Although it would be impossible to delve too deeply into the multipronged usage of the subjunctive Spanish mood, we will try to illustrate several cases in which you might come across it. Let's get started!
The present subjunctive is the subjunctive equivalent of the simple present tense. Let's take a look at an example from the Yabla Spanish library:
Si queremos que una persona no nos hable de usted, tenemos que pedir a la persona que nos tutee.
If we want a person to not talk to us in an formal way, we have to ask the person to use "tú" with us.
Captions 24-25, Karla e Isabel Tú y UstedPlay Caption
Note that the reason the subjunctive form is employed here (we can tell it is subjunctive due to its conjugation, hable, which differs from its indicative form, habla) is because the sentence conveys that we want (queremos) for someone not to talk to us in a particular way, which doesn't mean that that person will actually respect our desire. Let's take a look at one more example:
Mejor hablemos de ella.
It's better we talk about her.
Caption 17, NPS No puede ser 1 - El concurso - Part 1Play Caption
Here, the word mejor (better) tips us off that the subjunctive form (hablemos instead of hablamos) is in order due to the expression of someone's opinion about what should happen, which doesn't necessarily mean that it will.
The imperfect subjunctive is the past equivalent of the present subjunctive. We see in the following example that the verb hablar has been conjugated in the imperfect subjunctive (habláramos) instead of in the indicative (hablábamos) due to the expression of desire, once again with the verb querer:
No, no te dije que quería hablar con vos, quería que habláramos los dos.
No, I didn't tell you that I wanted to talk to you; I wanted for us to talk, the two [of us].
Caption 46, Muñeca Brava 43 La reunión - Part 6Play Caption
Another very common use of the imperfect subjunctive is to talk about hypothetical situations. In this case, the imperfect subjunctive is often incorporated into a "si (if) clause" in conjunction with the conditional tense to communicate that "if" something were the case, then something else "would" happen, as in the following clip:
Eh... Si... ¿hablaríamos?... -Hablara. Hablara ruso, me... vi'... ¿vivía?... Viviría. -Viviría en Rusia.
Um... "Si... ¿hablaríamos" [If... we would speak]? -"Hablara" [I spoke]. "Hablara ruso [I spoke Russian], me... vi'... ¿vivía" [I... I'd li'... I used to live]? "Viviría" [I'd live]. -"Viviría en Rusia" [I'd live in Russia].
Captions 22-25, Clase Aula Azul La segunda condicional - Part 7Play Caption
The hypothetical situation the teacher is going for here is: Si hablara ruso, viviría en Rusia (If I spoke Russian, I'd live in Russia). To learn more about this type of construction, we highly recommend the entire series of which this video is a part.
We definitely couldn't come up with any examples of the future subjunctive tense in our Yabla Spanish library because this tense is all but obsolete and is almost never even taught in modern Spanish. For that reason, you may not recognize it due to its different and little-seen conjugations, although you may occasionally come across it in legal documents or literature. We came up with this example:
El que hablare fuerte se echará de lo biblioteca.
Whoever talks loudly will be thrown out of the library.
The future subjunctive could conceivably be used here because the sentence refers to "whoever," rather than known individuals, as well as alluding to a possible future event. However, in modern Spanish, this very same idea would be conveyed with the present subjunctive:
El que hable fuerte se echará de lo biblioteca.
Whoever talks loudly will be thrown out of the library.
The present perfect subjunctive is the equivalent of the present perfect indicative in situations that require the subjunctive, and the verb haber is thus conjugated in its subjunctive form. That said, we'll take this opportunity to mention another case that requires subjunctive: when expressing that something will happen "when" something else happens that hasn't yet, as in the following example:
Cuando se hayan hablado, se van a entender mejor.
When they've talked to each other, they are going to understand each other better.
And, here's an additional example of the present perfect subjunctive from our Spanish video library with different verbs:
Espero que os haya gustado este vídeo sobre esta maravillosa planta y hayáis aprendido algo nuevo.
I hope you've liked this video about this wonderful plant and have learned something new.
Captions 80-81, Fermín La plumeria - Part 1Play Caption
The pluperfect subjunctive is the subjunctive equivalent of the pluperfect tense and is also used to talk about hypothetical situations. It is formed with the pluperfect form of haber plus the participle, and, like the imperfect subjunctive, it is often used in conjunction with the conditional or conditional perfect to describe what "would have" happened if something else "had been" done. Let's see an example:
Si yo hubiera hablado con mi jefe antes, habría evitado cualquier malentendido.
If I had spoken with my boss previously, I would have avoided any misunderstanding.
Let's look an additional example of the pluperfect subjunctive tense, which does not include the conditional:
Es como si nunca hubiéramos hablado.
It's as if we had never talked.
Caption 28, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 8 - Part 6Play Caption
The Spanish phrase como si (as if) quite often precedes verbs in the pluperfect subjunctive tense.
Like the future subjunctive, the future perfect subjunctive is rarely encountered and might only be employed in literary or legal contexts to talk about what will happen in the future if a hypothetical situation "has not" yet occurred. It involves the future subjunctive form of the verb haber plus the participle, as follows:
Si el demandante todavía no hubiere hablado ante el tribunal para la fecha especificada, se desestimará su caso.
If the plaintiff still hasn't spoken before the court by the specified date, his case will be dismissed.
However, the present perfect subjunctive would take the place of the future perfect subjunctive in order to say this today:
Si el demandante todavía no haya hablado ante el tribunal para la fecha especificada, se desestimará su caso.
If the plaintiff still hasn't spoken before the court by the specified date, his case will be dismissed.
Since different verb conjugations are rarely required in English to talk about emotions, desires, or hypotheticals, the subjunctive mood can initially feel quite confusing for English speakers, and we hope that this lesson has this shed some light on some of the possible subjunctive scenarios in Spanish. For more information about the subjunctive in Spanish, the following link with take you to several additional lessons on different aspects of this topic.
Let's conclude our rundown of all Spanish tenses by talking about the "bonus" tenses in the imperative mood (modo imperativo), which are not included in the official classification of the different tenses in Spanish. Also called commands, these Spanish verb tenses are those that tell someone to do something, and they fall into several categories:
Habla con la gente de laboratorio.
Talk to the people from the lab.Play Caption
A ver. Sebas, mi amor, no le hables así a tu papá.
Let's see. Sebas, my love, don't talk to your dad like that.
Caption 30, La Familia Cheveroni Capítulo 1 - Part 2Play Caption
por favor hablá con Andrea; necesito encontrar a mi nieto.
please talk to Andrea; I need to find my grandson.
Caption 59, Muñeca Brava 48 - Soluciones - Part 9Play Caption
Hable más despacio.
"Hable más despacio" [Speak more slowly].Play Caption
Pues no me hablen de costumbre porque luego en vez de ganar, pierdo.
Well don't talk to me about habits because then instead of earning, I lose.Play Caption
Con vosotros o vosotras: Hablad más despacio.
With "vosotros" or "vosotras" ["you" plural informal masculine/feminine]: "Hablad más despacio" [Talk more slowly].
Caption 25, Carlos explica El modo imperativo 1: Tú + vosPlay Caption
No nos habléis de esa forma.
Don't speak to us in that way.
Hablemos de otra palabra.
Let's talk about another word.Play Caption
While we won't get into the norms for conjugating all of these types of commands with -ar, -er, and -ir verbs, we recommend Yabla's four-part video series entitled El modo imperativo (The Imperative Mode), beginning here, which explores this topic.
And that wraps up our lesson on all of the verb tenses in Spanish. We hope you've enjoyed it (and learned a lot)! And don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.
Today, we will embark on a brief journey that encompasses all the Spanish verb tenses. However, rather than focusing on how to conjugate the verb tenses in Spanish, which you may or may not have already learned, we'll take a closer look at when to use each one, using the extremely common verb hablar ("to talk" or "to speak") to illustrate them whenever possible, as well as plenty of examples from the Yabla Spanish video library.
How many different tenses in Spanish are there in total? According to the Real Academia Española, there are sixteen Spanish verb tenses. There are also some "bonus tenses," which aren't officially included in their classification, which we will also cover in this lesson. Let's get started.
To make matters just a bit more complicated, Spanish verb tenses fall into three categories called "moods," which are the indicative, the subjunctive, and the imperative. Generally speaking, the indicative verb tenses in Spanish are the first Spanish verb tenses learned, and, in contrast to the Spanish verb tenses in the other moods (subjunctive and imperative), they tend to deal with facts and objective reality. Let's take a look:
Let's start with the present tense in Spanish, also known as the "simple present." This tense is primarily used in two ways, the first being to talk about a present action that is habitual, repeated, or ongoing. Let's take a look:
Aunque soy extranjero, yo hablo español muy bien.
Although I'm a foreigner, I speak Spanish very well.Play Caption
Since it is an ongoing fact that the speaker speaks Spanish very well, it is appropriate to use the present tense. We can also use this tense to talk about an action that is actually in progress at the moment:
¿Hablo con la Señora Pepa Flores, la manager de Amalia Durango?
Am I speaking with Mrs. Pepa Flores, Amalia Durango's manager?
Captions 37-38, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 1 - Part 5Play Caption
Notice that the second example of the present tense was translated to the English present progressive tense. This is the tense with a form of the word "to be" and the gerund, or -ing form of a verb ("I'm eating," "He's swimming," etc.). The present progressive tense in Spanish, which is similarly formed with a present conjugation of the verb estar (to be) and a verb's gerundio (gerund, which usually ends in -ando or -iendo in Spanish), is always translated in this fashion and really emphasizes that an action is in progress at this very moment. Let's take a look:
OK. Xavi, ahora que estamos hablando de... de comida, de alimentos, quisiera hacerte una pregunta.
OK. Xavi, now that we're talking about... about food, about foods, I'd like to ask you a question.Play Caption
For more information about and examples of the present progressive tense in Spanish, check out this lesson as well as this video that contrasts the use of the simple present with the present progressive. Now that we've seen a couple of the present verb tenses in Spanish, let's check out some of the Spanish past tenses.
The imperfect is one of the Spanish past tenses and talks about an action that was ongoing or habitual in the past or that was in progress and/or interrupted in the moment described. Translations for the imperfect in Spanish for the verb hablar could thus include "used to talk," "would talk," or "was talking." Let's take a look at couple of examples:
Bueno, cuando yo era pequeña hablaba con la ficha de Einstein.
Well, when I was little, I used to talk to the Einstein card.
Caption 36, La Familia Cheveroni Capítulo 1 - Part 3Play Caption
Ya que estás, contanos a los dos... ¿De qué hablaban?
Now that you're here, tell us both... What were you talking about?
Caption 2, Muñeca Brava 45 El secreto - Part 6Play Caption
To learn more about the imperfect tense in Spanish, check out this lesson entitled: The Imperfect Tense in Spanish: The Past That Just Won't Quit.
The past equivalent of the present progressive tense is the past progressive tense, which emphasizes that an action in the past was in progress. As with the present and present progressive tenses, while the imperfect tense in Spanish can sometimes be translated with the past progressive in English ("I was eating," "You were running," etc.), the past progressive tense in Spanish is always translated in this fashion, with "was" or "were" plus a verb's gerund. It is formed in the same way as the present progressive except that the verb estar is conjugated in the imperfect tense:
Le hemos despistado. -Porque estaba hablando.
We've confused her. -Because she was talking.
Caption 59, Jugando a la Brisca En la callePlay Caption
The preterite is another one of the Spanish past tenses. In contrast to the imperfect tense, the preterite tense in Spanish describes past actions that have been completed. It could be compared with verbs ending in -ed in English (e.g. "He fished," "We traveled," etc.). Let's see an example:
Pero claro, en Televisión Española me hablaron de Gastón Almanza
But of course, at Spanish Television they talked to me about Gaston AlmanzaPlay Caption
The preterite is also used for past actions that interrupted other actions in progress, which would often be conjugated in the imperfect, as in the following example:
Yo hablaba por teléfono cuando mi novio me habló con una voz muy alta.
I was talking on the phone when my boyfriend talked to me in a very loud voice.
To find out more about the preterite tense, we recommend this lesson from our Yabla lesson archives.
The future tense in Spanish is pretty straightforward; it talks about something we "will" do in the future. Let's take a look:
Hoy hablaremos de las preposiciones de lugar.
Today, we will talk about prepositions of place.
Caption 9, Ana Carolina Preposiciones de lugarPlay Caption
Interestingly, sometimes the Spanish future tense is used in situations where English speakers would employ "would" to imply disbelief:
¿Y tú me hablarás de esta manera?
And you'd talk to me like that?
So, what about the Spanish conditional tenses? The simple conditional tense is the typical Spanish equivalent of saying one "would" do something in English, often in a hypothetical situation:
Bueno, si yo fuera tú, hablaría con él.
Well, if I were you, I would speak with him.Play Caption
This tense is often, but not always, seen in conjunction with the imperfect subjunctive tense (fuera, or "I were" in the example above), which we will cover in part two of this lesson, to specify that if some hypothetical situation "were" in place, something else "would" happen.
Although this tense is called the present perfect in English, its Spanish name is préterito perfecto ("preterite perfect" or "past perfect"), and it is the Spanish past tense used to say that one "has done" something within a specific time period, which could be anything from that day to one's life. It is formed with the verb haber, which is translated as "has" or "have" in English, along with the participle form of the verb (which will typically have the suffix -ado or -ido in Spanish and -ed or -en in English). Let's take a look:
El día de hoy, hemos hablado de artículos que utilizamos al día a día
Today, we've talked about items we use every day
Caption 41, Ana Carolina Artículos de aseo personalPlay Caption
Interestingly, in Spain, the present perfect is often used to describe things that happened in the recent past in situations in which English speakers would use the simple past and Latin Americans would more likely use the preterite. This usage can be seen quite clearly throughout this video from El Aula Azul. Let's take a look at an excerpt:
Pero cuando ha salido de clase, cuando hemos terminado la clase, ha ido a coger el coche, y resulta que la ventanilla estaba rota.
But when she's left class, when we've finished the class, she's gone to get her car, and it turns out that the window was broken.
Captions 12-14, El Aula Azul Conversación: Un día de mala suertePlay Caption
Although the translators at Yabla chose to translate this tense literally in this video to facilitate the learning of the present perfect tense, this sounds quite awkward in English, where a native speaker would probably say: "But when she left class, when we finished the class, she went to get her car, and it turns out that the window was broken."
In this video, Carlos provides an even more thorough explanation about when to use this tense as part of a useful four-part series on the different past tenses in Spanish.
The pluperfect is the past equivalent of the present perfect tense. It is formed with the imperfect conjugation of the verb haber and the participle form of the infinitive. It is often used to describe things we "had" already done when something else occurred.
que no era tan escandalosa como... como la gente había hab'... había hablado al principio.
That it wasn't as scandalous as... as the people had sa'... had said in the beginning.
Captions 41-42, Los Juegos Olímpicos Pablo HerreraPlay Caption
Also known as the preterite perfect, the past anterior tense is extremely similar to the pluperfect tense but employs the preterite conjugation of the verb haber plus the participle. It is used more commonly in literature and less in everyday speech. While we couldn't find an example of this tense with the verb hablar, we did find one with the verb coger (to grab):
Apenas lo hubo cogido, el niño se despertó.
He'd barely grabbed it, the little boy woke up.
Captions 46-47, Chus recita poemas Antonio MachadoPlay Caption
Just in case you were wondering, an example sentence with the verb hablar might be: Yo ya hube hablado con mi maestra antes del examen (I had already spoken to my teacher before the test), and there would be no difference in translation between this sentence and the same sentence with the verb conjugated in its pluperfect form (Yo ya había hablado con mi maestra antes del examen).
If one said, Yo ya habré hablado con el chico por teléfono antes de conocerlo cara a cara (I will have already spoken to the guy on the phone before meeting him face to face), he or she would be employing the future perfect tense, which includes the future tense conjugation of the verb haber plus the participle. This conveys the English construction "will have." Let's take a look at an example of this tense from the Yabla Spanish library:
Ay, ¿por qué se me habrá ocurrido comer bandeja paisa antes de que me encerraran, ah?
Oh, why would it have occurred to me to eat "bandeja paisa" [a Colombian dish] before they locked me up, huh?
Captions 27-28, La Familia Cheveroni Capítulo 1 - Part 3Play Caption
In this example, we see that, similarly to the future tense, the future perfect tense can also be used to express disbelief, and it is translated with the English word "would" (rather than "will") in such cases.
The conditional perfect tense in Spanish is the equivalent of saying "would have" in English. It utilizes the conditional form of the verb haber plus the participle to talk about what one "would have" done or what "would have" happened in a hypothetical situation:
Seguro que a él sí le habrían aceptado las invitaciones.
Surely they would have accepted his invitations.
Caption 24, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 6 - Part 5Play Caption
An example with the verb hablar would be: Si lo pudiera hacer otra vez, habría hablado con el chico que me gustaba (If I could do it again, I'd have spoken to the guy I liked). Yabla's lesson, "Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda," expands upon the conditional perfect tense and more.
Once you know all Spanish tenses in the indicative mood, you could also conjugate the verb estar in its many tenses to come up with additional progressive tenses, as follows:
Preterite Progressive (Pretérito continuo): Yo estuve hablando (I was talking)
Conditional Progressive (Condicional continuo): Yo estaría hablando (I would be talking)
Future Progressive (Futuro continuo): Yo estaré hablando (I will be talking)
We could even apply this to the compound tenses we learned:
Present Perfect Progressive (Pretérito perfecto continuo): Yo he estado hablando (I have been talking)
Pluperfect Progressive (Pretérito pluscuamperfecto continuo): Yo había estado hablando (I had been talking)
Conditional Perfect Progressive (Condicional compuesto continuo): Yo habría estado hablando (I would have been talking)
Future Perfect Progressive (Futuro compuesto continuo): Yo habré estado hablando (I will have been talking)
That was a lot of Spanish verb tenses!!! And that was just the first ten verb tenses in Spanish! Part two of this lesson will deal with the verb tenses in Spanish in the other two "moods," subjunctive and imperative. In the meantime, we hope you enjoyed part one of this lesson on Spanish verb tenses... and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.
How do we talk about an action in progress in Spanish? We use the Spanish present progressive tense, which we'll explore in this lesson.
What is present progressive in Spanish? Simply put, the present progressive tense in Spanish describes actions that are unfolding as we speak, at this moment. Also called the present progressive, its English equivalent includes some form of the verb "to be" in present tense along with the gerund, or -ing form, of a verb. Some examples include: "I'm reading," "You are watching TV," or "We are eating dinner." The Spanish present progressive, which we'll learn to conjugate, takes a very similar form.
So, when exactly do we use the present progressive tense in Spanish? And, what's the difference between the simple present and the Spanish present progressive? This can be a bit confusing since there is some overlap in terms of their English translations at times. Let's take a look:
¿Qué hacés vos acá?
What are you doing here?
-¿Cómo qué hago? Corro.
-What do you mean, what am I doing? I'm running.
Captions 65-66, Cuatro Amigas - PilotoPlay Caption
Although, much like the present progressive, the simple present tense in Spanish can sometimes be translated into English using the -ing form to say that one "is doing" something in the present, the Spanish simple present tense is also used to describe actions one does on a habitual basis:
¿Y los sábados y domingos, qué haces?
And on Saturdays and Sundays, what do you do?Play Caption
That said, if you really want to emphasize and/or remove any doubt that an action is in progress or happening at this moment, it's necessary to use the Spanish present progressive:
Silvia, ¿qué estás haciendo?
Silvia, what are you doing?
Captions 31-32, El Aula Azul - Actividades diarias: En casa con SilviaPlay Caption
In fact, this last caption is from a video by El Aula Azul that simply and clearly demonstrates the difference between the simple present tense and the present progressive tense in Spanish.
Now that you know when to use the present progressive in Spanish, let's learn how to conjugate present progressive verbs in Spanish. To start, let's review (or learn!) the simple present conjugation of the verb estar (to be), which will convey the idea of "am" or "are":
Yo estoy (I am)
Tú estás (You are)
Él/ella/usted está (He, she is/you are)
Nosotros/nosotras estamos (We are)
Vosotros/vosotras estáis (You are [plural])
Ellos/ellas/ustedes están (They/you [plural] are)
Next, we'll need to break up infinitive Spanish verbs into two categories, verbs that end in -ar and verbs that end in either -er or -ir, in order to form their gerunds (gerundios).
To form the gerund for regular -ar verbs, we'll take the verb's stem (the part before the -ar) and add the suffix -ando. For example, for hablar (to talk), we take the stem habl- and add -ando to get hablando. Let's take a look at a few examples of regular -ar verbs in the present progressive tense in Spanish:
Entonces, en este momento, ¿veis?,
So, right now, you see?
está hablando con su madre por teléfono.
He's talking to his mom on the phone.
Captions 60-61, Clase Aula Azul - Información con subjuntivo e indicativoPlay Caption
Eh... estoy buscando a Milagros.
Um... I am looking for Milagros.
Caption 6, Muñeca Brava - 39 VerdadesPlay Caption
Estamos caminando aquí en Bleeker Street
We are walking here on Bleeker Street
Caption 72, Eljuri - "Fuerte" EPKPlay Caption
Conjugating regular -er and -ir verbs in the present progressive Spanish tense is just as easy! Simply take the stem (remove the -er or -ir) and add the suffix -iendo. Thus, for correr (to run), we have corr- plus -iendo to get corriendo, and for vivir (to live), we take viv- plus -iendo for viviendo. Let's look at a few more examples:
¿Por qué estás comiendo basura?
Why are you eating garbage?
Caption 9, Kikirikí - AguaPlay Caption
Está subiendo, está subiendo la rama.
He's climbing, he's climbing the branch.
Caption 98, Animales en familia - Un día en Bioparc: CoatísPlay Caption
¿Dónde estáis vendiendo aceite?
Where are you selling oil?
Caption 1, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesaPlay Caption
Although the Spanish present progressive tense is arguably one of the easier verbs to learn to conjugate in Spanish, there are some irregular verbs, of course, which fall into a few categories. Let's examine those categories of verbs with irregular conjugations in the Spanish present progressive.
Verbs with the endings -aer, -eer, -oir, and -uir change from -iendo to -yendo in the Spanish present progressive. Here are some examples:
traer: trayendo (to bring/bringing)
caer: cayendo (to fall/falling)
leer: leyendo (to read/reading)
creer: creyendo (to believe/believing)
construir: construyendo (to build/building)
huir: huyendo (to escape/escaping)
oír: oyendo (to hear/hearing)
Interestingly, the present progressive form of the verb ir (to go) is also yendo:
Sí, me venía a despedir porque ya me estoy yendo.
Yes, I came to say goodbye because I'm leaving now.
Caption 90, Muñeca Brava - 39 VerdadesPlay Caption
Some verbs that change stems in the Spanish simple present tense also have an irregular form in the Spanish present progressive. Verbs whose stems change from -e to -ie (e.g. sentir becomes yo siento, tú sientes, etc.) or -e to -i (vestir changes to yo visto, tú vistes, etc.) tend to change stems from an -e to an -i in the Spanish present progressive as well, while maintaining the suffix -iendo. Let's take a look at some common examples:
sentir: sintiendo (to feel/feeling)
preferir: prefiriendo (to prefer/preferring)
mentir: mintiendo (to lie/lying)
vestir: vistiendo (to dress/dressing)
seguir: siguiendo (to follow/following)
conseguir: consiguiendo (to get/getting)
On the other hand, verbs that change from an -o to a -ue in the simple present often change from an -o to a -u in the Spanish present progressive while maintaining their regular ending (-iendo). Examples include poder ("to be able," which morphs into yo puedo, tú puedes, etc.), dormir ("to sleep," which becomes yo duermo, tú duermes, etc.), and morir ("to die," which transforms to yo muero, tú mueres, etc.). Let's look:
poder: pudiendo (to be able/being able)
dormir: durmiendo (to sleep/sleeping)
morir: muriendo (to die/dying)
Verbs in this fourth category also change from -e to -i in the simple present (e.g. reír, or "to laugh," becomes yo río, tú ríes, etc.) but also have an -e before the -ir ending. In this case, the -e is dropped, while the ending -iendo is maintained, as follows:
reír: riendo (to laugh/laughing)
sonreír: sonriendo (to smile/smiling)
freír: friendo (to fry/frying)
The aforementioned irregular verbs in the present progressive in Spanish by no means constitute an exhaustive list, and although the rules that dictate which verbs are irregular might seem daunting, with increased exposure to Spanish, conjugating such irregular verbs in the present progressive in Spanish should become intuitive in no time!
Let's conclude today's lesson by looking at an example from each of the aforementioned categories of irregular present progressive verbs in Spanish:
Ellos están construyendo la puerta de entrada al santuario de burros.
They're building the entry gate to the donkey sanctuary.
Caption 25, Amaya - VoluntariosPlay Caption
Esa mujer nos está mintiendo y quiero saber por qué.
That woman is lying to us and I want to know why.
Caption 42, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 4Play Caption
¡Aldo, tu hermano se está muriendo
Aldo, your brother is dying,
y a vos lo único que te interesa es la herencia!
and the only thing that interests you is the inheritance!
Caption 63, Yago - 3 La fotoPlay Caption
Se está riendo de todos nosotros.
He's laughing at all of us.
Caption 28, Los casos de Yabla - Problemas de convivenciaPlay Caption
That's all for today. For more information on the present progressive Spanish tense, check out our latest video from El Aula Azul on that very topic! And don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.
What is the imperfect tense in Spanish? In contrast to the Spanish preterite, or simple past tense, which typically describes completed actions in the past, the imperfect tense in Spanish depicts past actions that were carried out regularly, over a longer period of time, or were in progress at a specified point. In addition to these uses of the imperfect tense in Spanish, there are other specific contexts in which it is necessary to use this tense, many of which we hope to illuminate for you today.
Let's take a look at some situations in which it is necessary to use the Spanish imperfect tense.
The imperfect tense in Spanish distinguishes actions that occurred on a habitual basis in the past from isolated incidents. Let's begin to understand this by examining how this idea might be expressed in English:
When I was young, I used to visit my grandparents every summer.
When I was young, I would visit my grandparents every summer.
When I was young, I visited my grandparents every summer.
Interestingly, all of these English sentences could be translated to Spanish using the same sentence in the imperfect tense: "Cuando yo era joven, visitaba a mis abuelos todos los veranos." This is because, despite their structural differences, they all mean the same thing: that the speaker would regularly visit his or her grandparents in the past.
Armed with this idea that the imperfect tense in Spanish can encompass various English constructions, let's take a look at some additional examples of sentences with verbs in the imperfect tense:
Cuentan los cronistas que veían desfilar a las tropas
The chroniclers tell that they would see the troops parading,
bajando desde lo que era el Cuartel de San Telmo
coming down from what used to be the San Telmo Barracks
hasta lo que hoy es conocido como el Bulevar donostiarra,
to what is known today as the "Bulevar donostiarra"
Captions 26-28, Días festivos - La Tamborrada de San SebastiánPlay Caption
eh... -Sí. -... practicaba fútbol.
um... -Yes. -...I used to play soccer.
Caption 27, Club 10 - Capítulo 2Play Caption
In this second example, although an English speaker might say either, "Oh! I used to play soccer too!" or "Oh! I played soccer too!" to talk about something he or she did regularly at a previous juncture, the Spanish language would always employ the imperfect tense to distinguish this as a habitual action in the past. In contrast, if the speaker had just completed a game of soccer yesterday, he would instead use the preterite tense:
Ayer practiqué fútbol.
I played soccer yesterday.
All that said, at the moment of constructing a sentence, in order to decide when to use the imperfect tense in Spanish, an English speaker must consider whether a past action took place just once or over an extended period, in which case it will be necessary to choose the imperfect tense.
The imperfect tense in Spanish is also used to describe past actions that were incomplete or interrupted at the depicted moment. Let's take a look:
Vi que me acompañaba, mientras yo cantaba. -Sí.
I saw that you were accompanying me while I was singing. -Yes.
Caption 28, Yago - 1 La llegadaPlay Caption
Notice that imperfect verbs that describe past actions in progress are most commonly (but again, not always) expressed in English in the past progressive tense, e.g., "You were accompanying," "I was singing," etc. The same can be said of interrupted past actions, where the action in progress is conjugated in the imperfect tense in Spanish, while the interrupting action is in the preterite tense:
OK, o sea que vos pensás
OK, in other words, you think
que yo iba por la calle y de repente
that I was going down the street and suddenly,
conocí a una chica y la llevé a una obra en construcción
I met a girl and took her to a construction site
to seduce her.
Captions 22-23, Muñeca Brava - 45 El secretoPlay Caption
Me sentía perdido hasta que un día me llegó un email.
I was feeling lost until, one day, I got an email.
Caption 24, Con ánimo de lucro - CortometrajePlay Caption
Notably, although the Spanish past progressive tense can also be used to describe incomplete or interrupted actions in some cases (e.g. Yo cocinaba cuando mi marido llegó a casa and Yo estaba cocinando cuando mi marido llegó a casa both mean "I was cooking when my husband got home"), in our examples above, the imperfect tense in Spanish would be the more likely choice.
Since they tend to be ongoing, rather than having a definite beginning or end, the imperfect tense in Spanish is additionally used to describe physical and other characteristics of people or things in the past.
Tenía una barba blanca que le llegaba hasta la cintura
He had a white beard that went down to his waist
y una larga cabellera.
and long hair.
Tenía además una corona dorada y vestía un manto blanco.
He also had a golden crown and wore a white robe.Play Caption
Pero no era la... mi... la Connie, mi esposa,
But it wasn't the... my... Connie, my wife,
sino era la otra, la rubia,
but rather it was the other one, the blonde,
que era muy bonita de ojos azules.
who was very pretty with blue eyes.
Captions 29-30, Gonzalo el Pintor - VidaPlay Caption
In this second example, it is notable that, even though the third person singular form of the verb ser (to be) in its preterite form (fue) can also be translated as "was" in some cases, the imperfect tense in Spanish is the correct manner of talking about traits in the past. The imperfect is also the preferred tense for describing past states of being, as in the following example:
Tenía su pata rota.
His leg was broken.
Esta pata de aquí, la tenía rota.
This leg here, it was broken.
Captions 17-18, Amaya - La historia de LukasPlay Caption
Desde cuando tenía doce años, más o menos.
Since I was twelve years old, more or less.Play Caption
Additionally, since "setting the scene" might entail recounting what day or time it "was," dates and times must be described in the Spanish imperfect tense:
Eran las cinco de la tarde.
It was five o'clock in the evening.
ya que recuerdo que hacía un calor terrible,
as I remember that it was terribly hot,
aunque todavía era el mes de junio,
despite the fact that it was still the month of June,
Captions 38-39, Fermín y los gatos - Mi gata PoeskaPlay Caption
The imperfect tense in Spanish is also utilized to speak about emotions in the past:
Un poquito y ajá, y estaba triste porque dejaba
A little bit, and uh-huh, and I was sad because I was leaving
mi familia y eso y ya.
my family and all that and that's it.
Caption 70, Cleer - Entrevista a LilaPlay Caption
Todos en la casa estaban muy emocionados
Everyone in the house was very excited,
Caption 17, Cuentos de hadas - CenicientaPlay Caption
So... when do you use the imperfect tense in Spanish? We hope that this lesson has made it more clear that, in contrast to the Spanish preterite tense, the Spanish imperfect is reserved for past events that "kept on going" for an extended period. For more examples of imperfect tense in Spanish, we recommend Carlos' video on this topic, where he explores not only when to use imperfect tense in Spanish, but also how to conjugate its regular and some of its most common irregular forms.
That's all for today, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.
What are reflexive verbs in Spanish? A reflexive verb is a verb in which the subject (person or thing that completes the action) and object (person or thing that receives the action) are one in the same. In other words, the action "reflects back" onto the subject, or entails something one does to or for him or herself. It is no wonder then, that many of the things we "do to ourselves" in our daily routines (e.g. shaving ourselves, washing ourselves, etc.) fall into the category of reflexive Spanish verbs.
How can we recognize Spanish reflexive verbs? The main way to distinguish reflexive verbs in Spanish is by the fact that they all end in the pronoun se in their infinitive form. To take a very simple example, while the verb hablar means "to talk," hablarse is a reflexive verb meaning "to talk to oneself." However, the translations for reflexive verbs in Spanish aren't always so straightforward.
As we often say just "I shave" or "I wash" in lieu of "I shave/wash myself," the English translations of Spanish reflexive verbs won't always include pronouns like "myself," "yourself," etc. In other cases, the meanings of verbs like parecer (to seem) completely change in their reflexive forms (parecerse means "to look like"). And so, as there are a lot more reflexive verbs in Spanish than in English, many of which may not "seem" reflexive, with increased exposure to Spanish, we will learn which English concepts are expressed with Spanish reflexive verbs.
To conjugate reflexive verbs in Spanish, we must memorize the reflexive pronouns that correspond to each personal pronoun: yo (I), tú (you), etc.. Reflexive pronouns are most often placed before the verb, which is conjugated "as usual" (in the same way as its non-reflexive form). To demonstrate this, let's take a look at the reflexive pronouns and the simple present conjugation of the regular verb hablar. We will then show you the conjugation of its reflexive form (hablarse).
|Personal Pronoun||Reflexive Pronoun||Hablar||Hablarse|
|él, ella, usted||se||habla||se habla|
|ellos/as, ustedes||se||hablar||se hablan|
Now that you know the Spanish reflexive pronouns and how to conjugate reflexive Spanish verbs, let's take a look at some examples of reflexive verbs in Spanish for describing things that many of us do on a daily basis, with lots of instances from our Yabla video library as always! Here is our list of Spanish reflexive verbs for your daily routine:
The Spanish reflexive verb despertarse means "to wake up":
y por la mañana me despierto entre seis y cuarenta y cinco a siete y cuarto.
and in the morning I wake up between six forty-five and seven fifteen.Play Caption
After waking up, the next step might be levantarse ("to get up" or "get out of bed"):
Se levanta muy temprano.
She gets up very early.
Caption 51, El Aula Azul - Las ProfesionesPlay Caption
In other contexts, the reflexive Spanish verb levantarse could also mean, among other things, "to stand up" or "get up," as from a seat, or even "to rise up against," as in a rebellion.
The Spanish noun baño means "bath," and the verb bañarse can mean "to take a bath" as well. However, as bañarse can also be the more general "to bathe," a person might even use this verb to express the fact that they are taking a shower! Let's look at an example of this reflexive Spanish verb:
Uno se baña todos los días, mijita.
One bathes every day, my girl.
Caption 41, Muñeca Brava - 33 El partidoPlay Caption
On the other hand, if a person at the beach expresses their desire to bañarse, rather than wanting to wash the sand off of themselves, they are letting you know they would like to take a dip! The Spanish reflexive verb bañarse can also mean "to go swimming," a translation that often comes as a surprise to English speakers:
No hay muchas olas grandes como en Atacames.
There aren't many big waves like in Atacames.
Es más tranquilo para bañarse.
It's more peaceful to go swimming.
Captions 62-63, Pipo - Un paseo por la playa de AtacamesPlay Caption
In the morning, at night, or after the beach, indeed, one might need to ducharse (to take a shower):
¿Qué está haciendo Silvia?
What is Silvia doing?
Silvia se está duchando.
Silvia is taking a shower.
Captions 11-12, El Aula Azul - Actividades diarias: En casa con SilviaPlay Caption
Note that, in this example, the verb ducharse is conjugated in the present progressive tense. As with the present indicative and all other tenses, verbs are conjugated in the exact same way as they would be were they non-reflexive, with the addition of the appropriate reflexive pronoun.
The reflexive verb in Spanish lavarse generally means "to wash (oneself)." Let's look at an example:
Por ejemplo, "Yo me lavo".
For example, "Yo me lavo" [I wash myself].
La acción recae sobre la persona
The action falls back upon the person
que realiza la acción.
who carries out the action.
Pero, "Yo lavo los platos".
But, "Yo lavo los platos" [I wash the dishes].
Captions 45-48, Lecciones con Carolina - Verbos reflexivosPlay Caption
In this informative video about Spanish reflexive verbs, Yabla fan favorite Carolina explains the difference between reflexive and non-reflexive verbs, in this case the verbs lavar (to wash) and lavarse (to wash oneself). Let's look at an additional example:
Yo me lavo las manos. Tú te lavas las manos.
I wash my hands. You wash your hands.
Captions 19-20, Fundamentos del Español - 9 - Verbos ReflexivosPlay Caption
Unlike in English, where we express the idea of washing one's hands or some other body part with a possessive pronoun (my, your, etc.), this is not the case in Spanish. Instead, we use the definite article for the noun in question, manos (hands), in this case, las (the). Because the reflexive pronoun already indicates that the action is something we do to ourselves, it would be redundant in Spanish to say: Yo me lavo mis manos. As the correct way to express this is "Yo me lavo las manos," it might help you to remember the literal but non-sensical translation: "I wash myself the hands."
That said, let's move on to something else that's expressed with the notion of "washing" in Spanish: lavarse los dientes (to brush one's teeth).
Lavarse los dientes (literally "to wash one's teeth") is one of saying "to brush one's teeth" in Spanish:
Después, ehm... suelo lavarme los dientes en el baño,
After that, um... I usually brush my teeth in the bathroom,
Caption 3, El Aula Azul - Actividades DiariasPlay Caption
Different countries, regions, or individuals might instead use cepillarse los dientes, which also means "to brush one's teeth." Let's check out an example in the preterite tense:
Se cepilló los dientes,
He brushed his teeth,
Caption 20, Aprendiendo con Carlos - El microrrelatoPlay Caption
By extension, the noun el cepillo means "the brush," and we might have a cepillo de dientes (toothbrush) as well as a cepillo de pelo/cabello (hair brush), as in the following caption:
Sí... -¿Qué necesitamos para ir allí?
Yes... -What do we need to go there?
El cepillo de dientes.
El cepillo del pelo.
A hair brush.
Captions 49-51, Un Viaje a Mallorca - Planificando el viajePlay Caption
So, you've probably surmised by now that the verb cepillarse el pelo/cabello means "to brush one's hair."
The verb peinarse can mean "to comb one's hair" with a comb (un peine), "to brush one's hair," or "to do" or "style" one's hair in general:
Por eso paró en la playa
That's why she stopped on the beach
para mirarse en el espejo y peinarse.
to look at herself in the mirror and comb her hair.
Captions 21-22, Guillermina y Candelario - Mi Amiga la SirenaPlay Caption
Afeitarse is the verb for "to shave" (oneself, of course)!
Vos sabés lo que es todas las mañanas...
Do you know what it's like every morning...
mirarse en el espejo cuando uno se afeita
to look at oneself in the mirror when one's shaving,
Captions 30-31, Muñeca Brava - 8 TrampasPlay Caption
The next step in one's morning routine might be maquillarse (to put on makeup):
Aquí, siempre me maquillo para mis conciertos.
Here, I always put on makeup for my concerts.
Caption 47, Ariana - Mi CasaPlay Caption
Alternatively, one might say Aquí, siempre me pinto para mis conciertos, as pintarse (literally "to paint oneself") also means "to put on makeup."
Vestirse is the way to say "to get dressed" in Spanish.
Yo salgo y... y te vistes.
I'll leave and... and you get dressed.
Caption 30, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 2Play Caption
Another way to say this might be ponerse la ropa (to put on one's clothes).
Although sacarse la ropa is one manner of saying "to get undressed" or "take off one's clothes," there are many other examples of reflexive verbs in Spanish that mean the same thing, including: quitarse la ropa, desvestirse, and desnudarse. Let's look at a couple of examples:
Si "Libertinaje" te saca...
If "Libertinaje" takes off your.....
te invita a sacarte la ropa,
invites you to take off your clothes,
Captions 4-5, Bersuit Vergarabat - EPKPlay Caption
Y se desnuda poco a poco y se convierte en tu piel
And she gets naked little by little and she becomes your skin
Caption 6, Reik - InolvidablePlay Caption
As you can see, the more literal "to get naked" might be an alternate translation for desnudarse.
We're finally getting to the end of our daily routine, when it's time for us to acostarnos (go to bed):
Tranquilícese, vaya a acostarse y deje de pensar en imposibles.
Calm down, go to bed, and stop thinking about impossible things.
Caption 31, Muñeca Brava - 48 - SolucionesPlay Caption
And finally, once in bed, it's time to fall asleep! While the non-reflexive dormir means "to sleep," dormirse means "to fall asleep."
Me dormí pensando en ti; pensando en ti, me desperté
I fell asleep thinking about you; thinking about you, I woke up
Caption 10, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesaPlay Caption
Of course, this is just a partial list of reflexive verbs in Spanish that might be applicable to our daily routines. There are a lot more common reflexive verbs in Spanish that describe things one might do on a daily basis, including secarse (to dry oneself off), sentarse (to sit down), sentirse (to feel), emocionarse (to get excited), encontrarse con alguien (to meet with someone), acordarse de (to remember), olvidarse (to forget), sonreírse (to smile), reírse (to laugh), despedirse (to say goodbye), irse (to leave), and many, many more!
Let's talk about the Spanish conjugation of regular verbs. In particular, let's see how to form the preterite conjugation of regular verbs ending in -ar, -er, and -ir. But first, let's review the main idea behind the preterite tense in Spanish.
In very simple terms, when we talk about the Spanish preterite tense, we are talking about the simple past, in other words, a completed action that took place at a determined point in the past. Let's look at an example from the series where our friend Carlos talks about this tense:
Ayer trabajé hasta las ocho de la noche.
Yesterday I worked until eight at night.Play Caption
In this example, trabajé is the preterite conjugation of the regular verb trabajar for the first-person singular yo (I). Note that the only change necessary to form the preterite in this example is removing the -ar ending of the infinitive verb and replacing it with the ending -é.
There are a couple of things we want to mention about the conjugations you will find throughout this tutorial.
1. While usted (the formal, second-person singular "you") does not appear in our conjugation lists, keep in mind that when using that pronoun, the verb is conjugated in the exact same way as verbs in the third-person singular forms with él (he) and ella (she). Let's take a look at this in action with the preterite conjugation of the verb hablar (to speak/talk):
Usted habló de Fabio Sirenio.
You talked about Fabio Sirenio.
Caption 83, Yago - 7 Encuentros - Part 14Play Caption
Entonces él habló con...
So, he spoke with...
con los pescadores y los pescadores aceptaron.
with the fishermen and the fishermen accepted.
Caption 17, Instinto de conservación - Parque TayronaPlay Caption
2. In order to offer a more simplistic verb conjugation snapshot, in this article, we only employ the masculine versions of the plural forms nosotros (we), vosotros (you), and ellos (they). That said, keep in mind that the conjugations are the same for the feminine forms nosotras, vosotras, and ellas.
3. Just like usted, ustedes (the standard second person plural "you" in Latin America and the formal second person plural in Spain) does not appear among the conjugations shared here. However, keep in mind that the conjugations of verbs with "ustedes" are the exact same as the third-person plural forms utilized with ellos and ellas (they). Let's look at an example of this with the preterite conjugation of the verb cantar (to sing):
Ustedes cantaron muy bien (You guys sang very well).
Ellos/Ellas cantaron muy bien (They sang very well).
Having said all this, let's explore the preterite conjugations of some regular verbs in Spanish.
Let's take a look at the preterite conjugation of the verb hablar (to speak).
Yo hablé (I spoke).
Tú hablaste (You spoke).
Él/Ella habló (He/She spoke).
Nosotros hablamos (We spoke).*
Vosotros hablasteis (You spoke).
Ellos hablaron (They spoke).
* It's important to note that because the verb conjugation for the first person plural "nosotros" (we) is the same for both the simple present and simple past tenses, the speaker's intention must be determined by context as follows:
Nosotros estudiamos mucho todos los días (We study a lot every day).
Ayer nosotros estudiamos mucho (Yesterday, we studied a lot).
Example 1.: The verb comprar (to buy)
¡Y compraste melones en vez de limones!*
And you bought melons instead of lemons!Play Caption
* Remember that pronouns are frequently omitted in Spanish. Thus, in the example above and without changing the meaning, one could say: "¡Y tú compraste melones en vez de limones!" However, despite the fact that the speaker does not use the pronoun here, the -aste verb ending lets the listener know that the person referred to is "tú" (you).
Example 2.: The verb escuchar (to listen/hear)
La canción que escuchamos
The song that we heard
introduce la quinta parte del primer episodio.
introduces the fifth part of the first episode.Play Caption
Let's take a look at the preterite conjugation of the regular verb comer (to eat).
Yo comí (I ate).
Tú comiste (You ate).
Él/Ella comió (He/She ate).
Nosotros comimos (We ate).
Vosotros comisteis (You ate).
Ellos comieron (They ate).
Example 1.: The verb aprender (to learn)
...y aprendí que los pulpos pueden cambiar de color.
...and I learned that octopi can change color.
Caption 45, Guillermina y Candelario - La Señora PulpoPlay Caption
Example 2.: The verb vender (to sell)
Creo que vendimos unos quinientos dólares en unas...
I think we sold about five hundred dollars (worth) in about...
tres horas, dos horas.
three hours, two hours.
Captions 25-26, Un café con Julia - Año nuevoPlay Caption
Let's take a look at the preterite conjugation of the verb vivir (to live).
Yo viví (I lived).
Tú viviste (You lived).
Él/Ella vivió (He/She lived).
Nosotros vivimos (We lived).
Vosotros vivisteis (You lived).
Ellos vivieron (They lived).
Example 1.: The verb escribir (to write)
¿Por qué dices eso?
Why do you say that?
Porque una vez me escribiste
Because once you wrote to me
contándome que te casabas en Nueva York.
telling me that you were getting married in New York.
Captions 61-62, Yago - 6 Mentiras - Part 5Play Caption
Example 2.: The verb abrir (to open)
Primero, Lisa Bernal abrió la herida.
First, Lisa Bernal opened the wound.
Caption 61, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 6 - Part 4Play Caption
And with this example, we have reached the end of this lesson. But before we go, a little homework for you: go ahead and choose some other regular verbs and practice the Spanish conjugation of the preterite tense. Sooner or later, you will be able to master those preterite endings! We hope you enjoyed this lesson, and don't forget to leave us your comments and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!
Generally speaking, we use the present indicative in Spanish to talk about actions that are taking place at the moment (now). However, that's not the only use of it. Let's take a look at the following list so you can understand how to use the present indicative in Spanish.
Actions that are taking place right at the moment (now):
¿Dónde están las chicas?
Where are the girls?
¿Las chicas? -Ajá.
The girls? -Uh-huh.
Lola y Ana. -Uh...
Lola and Ana. -Uh...
Lola y Ana viven aquí.
Lola and Ana live here.
Captions 26-29, Extr@: Extra en español - Ep. 1 - La llegada de SamPlay Caption
In the above sentence, you can see how the verbs estar (to be) and vivir (to live) are conjugated in the present indicative for the third person plural (las chicas/Lola y Ana/ellas... están/viven).
You can also talk about actions that take place over time:
Trabajo en un colegio.
I work at a school.
Soy maestra de música y de ciencias.
I'm a music and science teacher.
Captions 6-7, Ariana - Mi CasaPlay Caption
In this example, you can see the verbs trabajar (to work) and ser (to be) conjugated in the present indicative for the first person singular (yo trabajo/soy).
IMPORTANT! Remember that in Spanish it is very common to drop the pronouns from the sentences. As you can see in the sentence above, Ariana doesn't say "yo trabajo" but rather only "trabajo".
En agosto, vamos a la playa.
In August, we go to the beach.
En septiembre, empieza el otoño.
In September, the fall begins.
Captions 21-22, El Aula Azul - Estaciones y MesesPlay Caption
In the example above, we can see the present indicative of the verb ir (to go) in the first person plural (nosotros vamos) and the present indicative of the verb empezar (to begin) in the third person singular (el otoño empieza).
La Laguna de San Pablo está a los pies del imponente
The San Pablo Lagoon is at the foot of the imposing
Caption 13, Otavalo - Un día en la ciudad de los lagosPlay Caption
In the example above, Natalia uses the present indicative of the verb estar for the third person singular (está) to state a fact.
You can talk about daily activities and habitual actions using the present indicative:
De lunes a viernes, me levanto a las siete de la mañana.
From Monday to Friday, I get up at seven in the morning.
Caption 2, GoSpanish - La rutina diaria de SolPlay Caption
In the above clip, you can see how Sol uses the present indicative of the verb levantarse (yo me levanto) to express one of her habitual actions.
Dante y Mika vienen todos los días a trabajar conmigo
Dante and Mika come work with me every day
aquí al Refugio del Burrito.
here at the Little Donkey Shelter.
Caption 62, Rosa - La perrita MikaPlay Caption
Similarly, Rosa uses the present indicative of the verb venir (to come) to describe something habitual. In this case, the verb is conjugated in the third person plural (Dante y Mika/ellos... vienen).
Did you know that the present indicative can be used for things happening in the near future? Let's see some examples.
Le prometo que termino de morfar y... y salgo a laburar. Va a ver.
I promise you that I'll finish eating and... and go out to work. You'll see.
Caption 63, Yago - 8 DescubrimientoPlay Caption
In this sentence, the speaker is using the present indicative of the verb salir (to go out) in order to express an action that will take place in the near future. Once he's done with his lunch, he will go out to work. The verb is conjugated in the first person singular (yo salgo).
Bueno, pues entonces, no hay que pensarlo más.
OK, well then, we don't have to think about it anymore.
Mañana hablamos con el jefe y desde la oficina
Tomorrow we'll talk to the boss and from the office
Captions 11-12, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 2Play Caption
In the previous example, you can fully appreciate how the present indicative of the verb hablar (to talk) is used to indicate an action that will take place tomorrow! This may be a bit weird for English speakers but it is a very common formula used by Spanish speakers. The verb is conjugated in the first person plural (nosotros hablamos).
Finally, it is worth mentioning that in journalism and the academic field, some people like to use the present indicative when referring to historical facts. Let's see the following example:
El Imperio romano cae en el año 476
The Roman Empire falls in the year 476
And that's it for today. We hope this lesson helped you to understand how to use the present indicative in Spanish. And don't forget to send us your comments and questions.