How to unlock the Spanish present tense
In order to unlock the present Spanish tense we should first understand the different types of verbs you need to recognise in order to conjugate the verbs correctly in any tense. You can read the types of verbs post (click here) where we explain the types of verbs you need to know before start learning any Spanish tense.
The present tense: regular and irregular verbs
Most of the Spanish verbs are regular verbs. As you know, regular verbs follow a pattern.
We can not detect if a verb is regular or irregular, we can only know if it is or isn’t regular for the tense we are about to conjugate. Please note, a regular verb in the present verb may not be regular in other tenses.
In order to conjugate the present tense, we also need to know if the verb is an “-ar”, “-er” or “-ir” verb. How do we know? only if we know how the infinitive tense ends (“-ar”, “-er” or “ír”).
Regular conjugation of the Spanish present tense
See our online free lesson on how to conjugate the present irregular verbs:
If we want to conjugate a verb, like “Hablar”, for example, you only need to remove the ending of the infinitive and add the correct ending as shown in the picture on the left.
For example, if you want to say “you talk” you have to conjugate the verb “hablar” (to talk). First, you have to remove “-ar” from the infinitive “hablar”, we will get “habl-“. Then we have to add the correct ending, which is “+as”. Therefore, “you talk” will be “tú hablas”.
Herewith you can see three regular verbs conjugated in the present tense. You may try to work them out yourself following the endings pattern.
How to learn the pattern of the Spanish regular present verbs
There are certain tricks that may help you learn the pattern. Ask yourself:
- Which person shares the ending for the three sets (ar,er,ir)?
- Which are the two persons that do not share the ending of any of the three sets?
- What is the difference between the “you informal” and the “he” endings?
- What is the difference between the “he” endings and the “they” endings?
- Which endings are common to the “er” and “ir”?
You may have noticed:
- The “yo” person always use the “o” ending.
- Only “nosotros/as” and “vosotros/as” have three different endings.
- “Tú” always ends in “s”. The “él” ending will allways be the “tú” ending minos “s”. The “they” ending will always be the “él” ending plus “n”.
- “er” and “ir” endings share the endings for “yo”, “tú”, “he…” and “they”.
Irregular present Spanish verbs
Unfortunatelly, there are many irregulars in the present tense. Dividing the irregular verbs in different sets helps to learn them.
- Type 1: They behave as regular verbs, but all the persons excepting “nosotros” and “vosotros” change one of the vowels when they conjugate. There are 4 different tipical changes as stated in the exhibit.
- Type 2: They behave as regular verbs, but the first person is irregular.
- Type 3: They behave as regular verbs, but all the persons excepting “nosotros” and “vosotros” change one of the vowels when they conjugate. There are 4 different tipical changes. The first person is also irregular.
- Type 4: They are totally irregular.
Please read the following post (click here) to study each irregular type in detail.
As detailed in our post about types of verbs (clic here to read it), regular and irregular verbs can also be reflexive or no reflexive. Please go to the reflexive verbs section (click here) in order to learn more about them.
There are many exercises, summary charts and flashcards about reflexive verbs and the present tense in general in our book, which you can order through amazon here (paperback) or here (online version) or read it for free in Amazon. It is very affordable in order to offer a good resource to practice already printed and organised. This is the link to the paperback version:
And the link to the ebook is the following: