Present tense

The Spanish present tense is generally used:

  • to state generalities about the present, e.g. tengo un perro = I have a dog;
  • to describe an ongoing action in the present, although continuous forms may be more common for this purpose;
  • to make simple statements about planned events in the future, e.g. nos vemos mañana = see you tomorrow, we'll see each other tomorrow;
  • to make a request, where English tends to use will or can (¿me ayudas? = will/can you help me?).

Future-oriented subordinate clauses that use a present tense in English (e.g. "when the sun comes out") generally require the present subjunctive in Spanish.


The present tense of regulr verbs is fored by replacing the ending of the infinitive (-ar, -er, -ir) with the following endings:

Present tense endings of regular Spanish verbs
Person-ar verb ending-er verb ending-ir verb ending

Certain verbs of all three conjugations have stem changes before endings with an unstressed vowel (i.e. endings with a single vowel). For example, various common verbs with an -e- vowel in the stem change this to -ie-: pensar (to think) gives piennso (I think), piensas (you think) etc.

Page written by Neil Coffey. Copyright © Javamex UK 2008.