Present Simple Tense

The Spanish Present Tenses made easy! (I)

If you’re planning to start learning Spanish grammar, we recommend you start with the present tenses! There are several present tenses, and in this lesson we’ll start by explaining the Simple Present Tense (or in Spanish “el presente simple” or “el presente del indicativo”).

When do we use it?

In general we use it:

  • To talk about habits and routine.
  • To talk about universal truths and facts.
  • To talk about permanent things.

For example:

  • Los lunes voy a clases de piano. On Mondays I go to piano lessons.
  • El sol nace en el este. The sun rises in the East.
  • Yo soy uruguaya. I’m Uruguayan.

How do we form the verbs in the present simple tense?

Let’s start by taking a look at the regular ones. There are three types of regular verbs, according to their endings: ar, er and ir.

This chart will help you to form the AR verbs:

Subject Pronoun

Verb in the infinitive HABLAR – to speak (The stem is “habl” and the ending is “ar” – What we modify is the ending, but we keep the stem).

Yo (I) Hablo
Tú (you-singular, informal) Hablas
Él (he) , Ella (she), Usted (you-formal) Habla
Nosotros/as (we) Hablamos
Vosotros/as (you-plural, informal – Only used in Spain) Habláis
Ellos/as (They), Ustedes (You-plural, formal in Spain and both formal and informal in Latin America). Hablan

Now let’s see the “ER” verbs:

Subject Pronoun

Verb in the infinitive COMER – to eat (The stem is “com” and the ending is “er” – What we modify is the ending, but we keep the stem).

Yo (I) Como
Tú (you-singular, informal) Comes
Él (he) , Ella (she), Usted (you-formal) Come
Nosotros/as (we) Comemos
Vosotros/as (you-plural, informal – Only used in Spain) Coméis
Ellos/as (They), Ustedes (You-plural, formal in Spain and both formal and informal in Latin America). Comen

and finally, the “IR” verbs:

Subject Pronoun

Verb in the infinitive VIVIR – to live (The stem is “viv” and the ending is “ir” – What we modify is the ending, but we keep the stem).

Yo (I) Vivo
Tú (you-singular, informal) Vives
Él (he) , Ella (she), Usted (you-formal) Vive
Nosotros/as (we) Vivimos
Vosotros/as (you-plural, informal – Only used in Spain) Vivís
Ellos/as (They), Ustedes (You-plural, formal in Spain and both formal and informal in Latin America). Viven

Take a look at these examples and get ready to take our quiz!

AR verbs:

  • Juan llora cuando mira un drama. Juan cries when he watches a drama.
    • The infinitive form of “to cry” is “llorar”. The stem is “llor” and the ending “ar”. Can you see the rule being applied in this example? The same happens with “mirar” (to look/watch). The stem is “mir” and the ending “ar”. The right ending for “He” is “a” = llora, mira.

ER verbs:

  • Nosotras siempre entendemos la clase. We always understand the lesson. 
    • The infinitive form of “to understand” is “entender”. The stem is “entend” and the ending “er”. The right ending for “we” (nosotros) is “emos” = entendemos.

IR verbs:

  • Nosotros partimos al trabajo todas las mañanas a las ocho. We leave to work every morning at eight.
    • As you’ve noticed, most of the “er” forms are the same as the “ir” forms, except for “nosotros” and “vosotros”. The infinitive verb “to leave” in Spanish is “partir”. The stem is “part” and the ending “ir”. So the right ending for “we” (nosotros) is “imos” = partimos.

We hope this first introduction to the Present Simple Tense has been helpful for you, stay tuned for the next lesson, in which we’ll introduce the irregular “yo” forms of present simple verbs.

And if you’re ready, take this quiz to test your understanding of this lesson!

Yo ___________ (caminar/to walk) al trabajo todos los días

¿Tú ____________ (vivir/to live) con tus padres?

Jorge ___________ (aprender/to learn) español en el colegio.

Nosotras ____________ (asistir) a todos los conciertos de Axel.

¿Vosotros __________ (entender/to undersand) el presente simple?

Ana y María ____________ (mirar/to watch) telenovelas por la noche.