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 the list above)
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. generally, 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            (also the other pronouns)


This generalization holds true when   the letter “o” is followed by a single consonant (except “r”), “lc”, “ld”, “lg”, “lt”, “lv”, “nt”, “rc”, “rd”, “rn”, “rz”, “st” plus the group ending.

Examples: amolar, revolcar, soldar, colgar, soltar, solver, contar, recordar, encornar, almorzar. The verb rogar belongs to this group, but its compounds are regular.


            EXCEPTIONS: poner and its compounds; tomar, and verbs which end in "ormar" or "ortar".

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 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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