Chapter 12   --   Talking About the Present Time

We use present time to describe events which are happening now, or which are continuous.   The Present Tense is the most complex of the Spanish tenses, with many irregular forms.   There are three sets of endings which are added to the verb stems, one set for each verb group.

 

The endings for group 1 are -o, -as, -a, -amos, áis, -an.

Group 1 - regular verbs example: pagar = to pay   (the stem is pag-)

                                             Stem Ending        Spanish                                    English

pag o yo pago I pay, do pay, am paying
pag as pagas You (familiar, singular) pay, do pay, are paying
pag a él paga He pays, does pay, is paying
pag a ella paga She pays, does pay, is paying
pag a usted paga You (polite, singular) pay, do pay, are paying
pag a quién paga Who pays, does pay, is paying
pag amos nosotras, -os pagamos We pay, do pay, are paying
pag áis vosotras, -os pagáis You (familiar, plural) pay, do pay, are paying
pag an ellas, -os pagan They pay, do pay, are paying
pag an ustedes pagan You (polite, plural) pay, do pay, are paying
pag an quienes pagan Who pay, do pay, are paying

 In group 1, the following verbs are irregular in the present tense

          continuar, to continue: continúo, continúas, continúa, continuamos, continuáis, continúan           like continuar :                                                                       actuar, to act     graduar, to measure     graduarse, to graduate     situar, to place, situate

          dar, to give: doy, das, da, damos, dáis, dan

          errar, to err: yerro, yerras, yerra, erramos, erráis, yerran

          estar, to be: estoy, estás, está, estamos, estáis, están

          enviar, to send:   envío, envías, envía, enviamos, enviáis, envían           like enviar :                                                                                                                         confiar, to confide         espiar, to spy                     fiar, to buy or sell on credit      fiarse, to trust someone     guiar, to guide                                                 resfriar, to cool, chill     resfriarse, to catch cold     variar, to vary

          jugar, to play: juego, juegas, juega, jugamos, jugáis, juegan

          mostrar, to show: muestro, muestras, muestra, mostramos, mostráis, muestran           like mostrar :

  aclocar, to stretch out acollar, to caulk acordar, to agree acordarse, to remember
  acornar, to gore acostar, to lay s.t. down acostarse, to lie down, rest aforar, to gauge
  agorar, to guess almorzar, to eat, have lunch amoblar, to furnish apercollar, to seize by the neck
  alongar, to elongate amolar, to grind, sharpen apostar, to bet, wager aprobar, to approve
  asolar, to raze, destroy atronar, to deafen avergonzar, to embarrass clocar, to cluck
  colar, to strain, filter colgar, to hang, in, on, out concordar, to reconcile consolar, to console
  contar, to count costar, to cost degollar, to butcher demostrar, to demonstrate
  denostar, to insult derrocar, to overthrow descollar, to stand out descornar, to dehorn, poll
  desolar, to plunder desollar, to skin, flay desovar, to spawn desvergonzarse, to be shameless
  discordar, to be out of tune emporcar, to soil, be a pig encontrar, to find, meet, encounter encorar, to cover with leather
  encorvar, to bend down, over engrosar, to increase forzar, to force holgar, to relax
  jugar, to play mancornar, to hobble poblar, to people probar, to prove, test, taste, try
  recontar, to recount recordar, to remember recostar, to lie back, recline rescontrar, to offset
  resollar, to pant, breathe heavily renovar, to renew revolcar, to knock down rodar, to go round, turn
  rogar, to beg solar, to pave, floor soldar, to solder soltar, to loosen or untie
  sonar, to sound soñar, to dream tostar, to toast trascordar, to forget totally
  trocar, to barter, exchange tronar, to thunder volar, to fly  

          pensar, to think: pienso, piensas, piensa, pensamos, pensáis, piensan           like pensar :

  acertar, to hit the mark acrecentar, to increase adestrar, to guide aferrar, to grapple
  alebrarse, to cower alentar, to cheer apacentar, to graze cattle apretar, to tighten
  arrendar, to rent aserrar, to saw asosegar, to appease aterrar, to terrify
  asentar, to sit atestar, to cram, stuff atravesar, to cross over aventar, to ventilate, fan
  calentar, to heat cegar, to blind, make or grow blind cerrar, to close, lock comenzar, to commence
  confesar, to confess denegar, to deny dentar, to roughen derrengar, to bend, twist
  desertar, to desert desherbar, to weed desmembrar, to dismember despertar, to awaken
  desterrar, to exile  emparentar, to marry into empedrar, to pave empellar, to shove
  empezar, to begin encerrar, to lock up encomendar, to commend enhestar, to set upright
  enmendar, to emend enmendarse, to mend one’s ways ensangrentar, to bloody enterrar, to bury
  entesar, to make taut escarmentar, to teach a lesson to estregar, to scrub, scour fregar, to mop, wash
  gobernar, to govern helar, to freeze incensar, to incense invernar, to winter
  manifestar, to manifest merendar, to picnic negar, to negate, refuse, deny nevar, to snow
  plegar, to fold quebrar, to break regar, to water plants or animals regimentar, to regiment 
  remendar, to mend requebrar, to flatter restregar, to rub, scour reventar, to burst, shatter
  salpimentar, to season with spice sentar, to sit down serrar, to saw, ~ up, ~ off sosegar, to calm down, to quiet
  temblar, to tremble, shake tentar, to tempt trasegar, to shuffle, move around tropezar, to trip, stumble

 

The regular endings for group 2 are -o, -es, -e, -emos, -éis, -en

Group 2 - regular verbs example: beber = to drink   (the stem is beb-)

                                             Stem Ending        Spanish                                    English

beb o yo bebo I drink, do drink, am drinking
beb es bebes You (familiar, singular) drink, do drink, are drinking
beb e él bebe He drinks, does drink, is drinking
beb e ella bebe She drinks, does drink, is drinking
beb e usted bebe You (polite, singular) drink, do drink, are drinking
beb e quién bebe Who drinks, does drink, is drinking
beb emos nosotras, -os bebemos We drink, do drink, are drinking
beb éis vosotras, -os bebéis You (familiar, plural) drink, do drink, are drinking
beb en ellas, -os beben They drink, do drink, are drinking
beb en ustedes beben You (polite, plural) drink, do drink, are drinking
beb en quienes beben Who drink, do drink, are drinking

In group 2, the following verbs are irregular in the present tense

          caber, to fit: quepo, cabes, cabe, cabemos, cabéis, caben

          caer, to fall : caigo, caes, cae, caemos, caéis, caen                         like caer :     decaer, to decay     recaer, to fall back, relapse

          cocer, to cook:   cuezo, cueces, cuece, cocemos, coceis, cuecen              like cocer :     escocer, to smart, sting     torcer, to twist

          coger, to grab or take hold of something, cojo, coges, coge, cogemos, cogéis, cogen                                                                                                                       like coger :     descoger, to spread out     encoger, to shrink     escoger, to choose     proteger, to protect     recoger, to gather, collect

          conocer, to know, to be acquainted with: conozco, conoces, conoce, conocemos, conocéis, conocen            like conocer :

aborrecer, to hate adolecer, to suffer from adormecer, to become drowsy agradecer, to thank
amarillecer, to turn yellow amortecer, to quiet, muffle anochecer, to get, become night apetecer, to crave, long for
aparecer, to appear aridecer, to dry , make arid carecer, to lack complacer, to be pleased, to humor
convalecer, to convalesce crecer, to grow desaparecer, to disappear desconocer, to be unaware
embebecer, to fascinate embebecerse, to daydream embellecer, to embellish emblandecer, to soften
embobecer, to become silly embrutecer, to dull the senses empequeñecer, to make smaller emplumecer, to grow feathers
empobrecer, to impoverish enaltecer, to extol enardecer, to inflame, excite encandecer, to incandesce
endentecer, to teethe endurecer, to harden enflaquecer, to make thin enfurecer, to infuriate
engrandecer, to agrandize enloquecer, to drive mad enmohecer, to rust enmudercer, to become mute
ennegrecer, to blacken ennoblecer, to ennoble enorgullecer, to make proud enrarecer, to rarefy, strain
enriquecer, to enrich enrojecer, to blush enronquecer, to make hoarse ensombrecer, to overshadow
ensordecer, to become deaf entenebrecer, to darken enternecer, to pity entontecer, to be a foolish
entorpecer, to become slower entumecer, to numb envanecer, to become vain envejecer, to age
enverdecer, to turn green envilecer, to be, become vile escarnecer, to scoff, ridicule esclarecer, to clarify
establecer, to establish estremecer, to shudder fallecer, to pass away favorecer, to favor
fenecer, to finish, end florecer, to flower, bloom fortalecer, to fortify guarecer, to shelter
guarnecer, to garnish, adorn languidecer, to languish mecer, to rock, swing merecer, to merit
nacer, to be born obedecer, to obey obscurecer, to obscure ofrecer, to offer
pacer, to graze padecer, to suffer palidecer, to become pale parecer, to seem
perecer, to perish permanecer, to remain pertenecer, to belong prevalecer, to prevail
recrudecer, to worsen reconocer, to recognize rejuvenecer, to rejuvenate resplandecer, to sparkle
restablecer, to re-establish tallecer, to sprout verdecer , to turn green  

            descender, to descend: desciendo, desciendes, desciende, descendemos, descendéis, descienden          like descender :

ascender, to ascend atender, to attend to condescender, to condescend defender, to defend
 entender, to understand encender, to light, to ignite extender, to extend heder, to reek, stink
hender, to crack, split perder, to lose querer, to want, to love tender, to lay, spread
transcender, to transcend      

           haber, to have: he, has, ha, hemos, habéis, han

          hacer, to make, to do: hago, haces, hace, hacemos, hacéis, hacen                                                                                                                                              like hacer:                                 contrahacer, to counterfeit       deshacer, to undo;                satisfacer, to satisfy

          poder, to be able, can: puedo, puedes, puede, podemos, podéis, pueden

          poner, to place, put, set: pongo, pones, pone, ponemos, ponéis, ponen           like poner :

componer, to compose disponer, to dispose exponer, to expose imponer, to impose
oponer, to oppose ponerse, to become proponer, to propose reponer, to replace
suponer, to suppose transponer, to transpose    

          saber, to know: , sabes, sabe, sabemos, sabéis, saben

          ser, to be: soy, eres, es, somos, sois, son

          tener, to have: tengo, tienes, tiene, tenemos, tenéis, tienen          like tener :

contener, to contain detener, to detain mantener, to maintain obtener, to obtain
retener, to retain sostener, to sustain    

          traer, to bring: traigo, traes, trae, traemos, traéis, traen          like traer :

abstraer, to abstract atraer, to attract contraer, to contract distraer, to distract
retraer, to retract retrotraer, to make retroactive substraer, to subtract  

          valer, to be worth: valgo, vales, vale, valemos, valéis, valen          like valer :      equivaler, to be equivalent       prevaler, to prevail

          vencer, to defeat, conquer: venzo, vences, vence, vencemos, vencéis, vencen          like vencer :          mecer, to sway, rock

          ver, to see: veo, ves, ve, vemos, véis, ven          like ver :          prever, to preview, foresee      rever, to review

          volver, to turn: vuelvo, vuelves, vuelve, volvemos, volvéis, vuelven          like volver:

conmover, to emote  devolver, to return doler, to pain, to ache llover, to rain
moler, to grind, mill mover, to move oler (o to hue), to smell  poder, to be able (can)
remover, to remove resolver, to resolve soler, to be in the habit of solver, to solve

 

The regular endings for group 3 are -o, -es, -e, -imos, -ís, -en

Group 3 - regular verbs example: dividir = to divide   (the stem is divid-)

                                             Stem Ending        Spanish                                    English

divid o yo divido I divide, do divide, am dividing
divid es divides You (familiar, singular) divide, do divide, are dividing
divid e él divide He divides, does divide, is dividing
divid e ella divide She divides, does divide, is dividing
divid e usted divide You (polite, singular) divide, do divide, are dividing
divid e quién divide Who divides, does divide, is dividing
divid imos nosotras, -os dividimos We divide, do divide, are dividing
divid ís vosotras, -os dividís You (familiar, plural) divide, do divide, are dividing
divid en ellas, -os dividen They divide, do divide, are dividing
divid en ustedes dividen You (polite, plural) divide, do divide, are dividing
divid en quienes dividen Who divide, do divide, are dividing

In group 3, the following verbs are irregular in the present tense

          asir, to sieze: asgo, ases, ase, asimos, asís, asen

          conseguir, to get, achieve: consigo, consigues, consigue, conseguimos, conseguís, consiguen                                                                                                like conseguir :                            perseguir, to persue                seguir, to follow

          consentir, to consent: consiento, consientes, consiente, consentimos, consentís, consienten           like consentir :

adherir, to adhere adquirir, to acquire advertir, to advertise arrepentir, to repent
asentir, to assent, agree concernir, to concern conferir, to confer, award consentir, to consent, allow
controvertir, to dispute convertir, to convert deferir, to defer diferir, to differ, disagree
digerir, to digest discernir, to discern divertir, to enjoy hervir, to boil
inferir, to infer ingerir, to ingest inquirir, to inquire invertir, to invert or invest
mentir, to lie, speak falsely pervertir, to pervert preferir, to prefer preterir, to leave out
proferir, to profer referir, to refer rendir, to yield    rendirse, to surrender
requerir, to require resentir, to resent sentir, to regret, be or feel sorry sentirse, to feel well or ill
sugerir, to suggest transferir, to transfer    

          corregir, to correct: corrijo, corriges, corrige, corregimos, corregís, corrigen          like corregir : 

 afligir, to afflict colegir, to gather, understand dirigir, to direct elegir, to choose, elect
exigir, to demand fingir, to pretend mugir, to moo, bellow regir, to rule, reign
urgir, to be urgent      

          decir, to say, to tell: digo, dices, dice, decimos, decís, dicen          like decir :

bendecir, to bless contradecir,to contradict desdecir, to disagree interdecir, to forbid, prohibit
maldecir , to curse predecir, to predict    

          distinguir, to distinguish:   distingo, distingues, distingue, distinguimos, distinguís, distinguen     like distinguir :     extinguir, to extinguish

          dormir, to sleep: duermo, duermes, duerme, dormimos, dormís, duermen                                                                                                                                     like dormir :                               dormirse, to fall asleep             morir, to die (thing or animal)      morirse, to die (a person)

          huir, to flee: huyo, huyes, huye, huimos, huís, huyen            like huir :                                           

afluir, to flow into argüir, to argue atribuir, to attribute circuir, to encircle
concluir, to conclude confluir, to flow together constituir, to constitute construir, to construct
contribuir, to contribute derruir, to demolish destruir, to destroy difluir, to flow out
diluir, to dilute disminuir, to diminish distribuir, to distribute estatuir, to enact
excluir, to exclude fluir, to flow imbuir, to imbue incluir, to include
influir, to influence instituir, to institute instruir, to instruct luir, to rumple
obstruir, to obstruct prostituir, to prostitute retribuir, to pay, repay restituir, to restitute, restore
sustituir , to substitute      

          ir, to go: voy, vas, va, vamos, vais, van

          oir, to hear: oigo, oyes, oye, oimos, oís, oyen

          pedir, to ask a favor or a price:   pido, pide, pide, pedimos, pedís, piden          like pedir :

ceñir, to wear tight clothing comedirse, to restrain oneself competir, to compete concebir, to conceive
derretir, to melt desleir, to dilute despedir, to say goodbye embestir, to assault, attack
engreir, to make vain expedir, to send off gemir, to groan   heñir, to knead
impedir, to impede medir, to measure rendir, to yield rendirse, to surrender
reñir, to quarrel repetir, to repeat revestir, to cover revestirse, to face someone
servir, to serve teñir, to tint, dye vestir, to dress vestirse, to dress oneself

          reírse, to laugh: río, ríes, ríe, reímos, reís, ríen          like reir :          freír, to fry          refreír, to refry          sonreír, to smile

          salir, to go out: salgo, sales, sale, salimos, salís, salen

          traducir, to translate: traduzco, traduces, traduce, traducimos, traducís, traducen          like traducir :

aducir, to adduce conducir, to conduct deducir, to deduce inducir, to induce
introducir, to introduce lucir, to shine, excel producir, to produce reducir, to reduce
seducir, to seduce      

          venir, to come: vengo, vienes, viene, venimos, venís, vienen         like venir:

circunvenir, to circumvent convenir, to convene  intervenir, to intervene prevenir, to prevent
reconvenir, to reconvene revenirse, to change one’s mind    

 

Because of the fact that the “we” form of the present tense has very few irregularities, it is commonly used in ordinary speech. In Spain, the vosotros form is used frequently, for the same reason.

Stem changes in Spanish verbs
Except for irregular verbs, all of the stem changes in Spanish verbs are based on the pronunciation of the verb, with an emphasis on preserving the original sound. With very few exceptions, verbs are regular in the nosotros and vosotros forms, and there are no spelling changes.

1. spelling changes to preserve the original sound
If the regular suffix of a verb will produce a sound which is different from the original verb, the spelling will be changed to preserve the original sound.  For example, in the "yo" form of the past tense of the verb "pagar", the regular suffix will be the letter "é".  So, the stem is changed to "pagu" and the verb will become "pagué", thus preserving the hard sound of the letter "g" in the stem.

Such changes will occur when:
A. the verb stem ends in "c", and the suffix is either "a" or "o", the letter "c" will be replaced by the letter "z"
    Example: vencer; the stem "venc" will become "venz" before "a" or "o"
          EXCEPTIONS: decir and its compounds are irregular


B. the verb stem ends in "ec", "oc" or "uc" and the suffix is either "a" or "o", the letter "z" will be inserted before the letter "c" of the stem
    Example: agradecer; the stem will become "agradezc" before "a" or "o"
                  conocer; the stem will become "conozc" before "a" or "o"
                  traducir, the stem will become "traduzc" before "a" or "o"


C. the verb stem ends in "g", and the suffix is "a" or "o", the letter "g" will be replaced with the letter "j"
    Example: coger; the stem will become "coj" before "a" or "o"

2. stem changes            All stem changes are based on the accent of the stem.
A. when the accent falls on the letter "e" of the stem, that letter will be replaced by "ie"
    Example: pensar; the stem is "pens" which will be changed to "piens" when the accent falls on the letter "e"
                         Yo pienso                                 Nosotros pensamos
                        Tú piensas                               Vosotros pensáis
                        Ella piensa                              Ellas piensan
Included in this group are the verbs tener and venir and their compounds except for the "yo" form

          EXCEPTIONS: beber and deber (both regular)


In Group 3 there are 24 verbs with the letter "e" in the stem, that letter will be replaced only by the letter "i" not "ie"   (see page 36 of my book for a list)
Example: pedir; the stem is"ped" which will be changed to "pid" when the accent falls on the letter "e"
                         Yo pido                                    Nosotros pedimos
                        Tú pides                                   Vosotros pedís
                        Ella pide                                  Ellas piden

B. when the accent falls on the letter "o" of the stem, that letter will be replaced by "ue"
    Example: acordar; the stem is "acord" which will be changed to "acuerd" when the accent falls on the letter "o"
                        Yo acuerdo                              Nosotros acordamos
                        Tú acuerdas                            Vosotros acordáis
                        Ella acuerda                           Ellas acuerdan


          EXCEPTIONS: poner and its compounds


C. in the case of verbs which end with "uir", the stem is changed to "uy-"
    Example: huir; the stem is "hu" which is changed to "huy"
                         Yo huyo                                   Nosotros huimos
                        Tú huyes                                  Vosotros huís
                        Ella huye                                 Ellas huyen

This book is available from lulu.com under item number 3352644. Books purchased from Lulu are accompanied by a complete list of irregular verbs and all of their forms.

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