The most common Spanish verb forms

Learning the whole range of Spanish verb forms can be daunting for beginners. But in much of the everyday Spanish that people generally read, a relatively small number of distinct verb forms account for a relatively large percentage of the verbs used. The table below contains the most frequent Spanish verb forms from a sample of 2,000 newspaper and magazine articles (totalling around half a million words). If you start learning these forms from the top of the list, then you are likely to be able to start reading and understanding written Spanish more quickly, which in turn will help you to acquire new vocabulary.

You can also test your knowledge of these forms by playing an on-line crossword puzzle containing verbs from the list below.

For convenience, this list has also been split semantically into a number of sublists: * Action * Aspectual * Auxiliary * Copular * Existential * Locative * Modal * Movement * Perception * Relationship * State * Utterance

Form typeCommon translationFrequency
hahaberPresent 3 Sing(he/she/it) has ...
Note: Used to form perfect tense 'has ...ed'; followed by 'de', means 'has to ...'
48.0 % of sources
esserPresent 3 Sing(he/she/it) is46.8 % of sources
hanhaberPresent 3 Plur(they) have ...
Note: Used to form perfect tense 'have ...ed'; followed by 'de', means 'have to ...'
29.0 % of sources
fueserPreterite 3 Sing(he/she/it) was/went
Note: Also used to fill in for the preterite of 'ir' meaning 'to go'.
26.5 % of sources
estáestarPresent 3 Sing(he/she/it) is20.9 % of sources
sonserPresent 3 Plur(they) are19.1 % of sources
tienetenerPresent 3 Sing(he/she/it) has ...
Note: Indicates 'has' as in possession.
19.0 % of sources
serserInfinitive(to) be18.9 % of sources
dijodecirPreterite 3 Sing(he/she/it) said17.5 % of sources
sidoserPast participlebeen17.4 % of sources
estadoestarPresent participlebeing
Note: As a noun, 'estado' means 'state'.
15.7 % of sources
hacehacerPresent 3 Sing(he/she/it) does/makes
Note: Can also mean '... ago'.
14.5 % of sources
hayhaberPresent Existentialthere is/are14.1 % of sources
habíahaberImperfect 3 Sing;Existentialthere was/were; (he/she/it) had...
Note: Used to form the pluperfect tense: 'he/she/it had ...ed'
12.5 % of sources
estánestarPresent 3 Plur(they) are12.1 % of sources
fueronserPreterite 3 Plur(they) were/went
Note: Also used to fill in for the preterite of 'ir' meaning 'to go'.
11.1 % of sources
puedepoderPresent 3 Sing(he/she/it) can/may10.9 % of sources
hacerhacerInfinitive(to) do/make10.4 % of sources
hechohacerPast participledone/made
Note: As a noun, 'hecho' means 'fact', 'deed'.
10.4 % of sources
seráserFuture 3 Sing(he/she/it) will be10.1 % of sources
haberhaberInfinitive(to) have ...
Note: Used to form a perfect infinitive, as in 'to have eaten'
8.2 % of sources
tienentenerPresent 3 Plur(they) have
Note: Indicates 'have' as in possession.
7.9 % of sources
tenertenerInfinitive(to) have
Note: Indicates 'have' as in possession.
7.8 % of sources
estarestarInfinitive(to) be7.1 % of sources
hizohacerPreterite 3 Sing(he/she/it) did/made6.9 % of sources
estabaestarImperfect 3 Sing(he/she/it) was6.6 % of sources
poderpoderInfinitive(to) be able, can
Note: As a noun, 'poder' means 'power'.
6.6 % of sources
podríapoderConditional 3 Sing(he/she/it) could/would be able to6.1 % of sources
hayahaberSubjunctive 3 Sing;Existentialthere will/should/might be; (he/she/it) will have etc6.1 % of sources
puestoponerPast participle(put)
Note: Usually used in the phrase 'puesto que ...' meaning 'given that ...'
5.9 % of sources
vairPresent 3 Sing(he/she/it) goes/is going to ...
Note: Followed by an infinitive, equivalent to English future construction 'is going to ...'
5.8 % of sources
dardarInfinitive(to) give5.8 % of sources
fueraserPast subjunctive 3 Sing(he/she/it) was/would have been
Note: As a preposition, also means 'outside'.
5.8 % of sources
dichodecirPast participlesaid5.6 % of sources
ververInfinitive(to) see5.6 % of sources
indicóindicarPreterite 3 Sing(he/she/it) indicated5.6 % of sources
tratatratarPresent 3 Sing(he/she/it) treats/attempts/deals with
Note: With 'de' plus infinitive, means 'attempts to ...'
5.5 % of sources
dadodarPast participlegiven5.4 % of sources
diodarPreterite 3 Sing(he/she/it) gave5.3 % of sources
teníatenerImperfect 3 Sing(he/she/it) had
Note: Followed by 'de' plus an infinitive, means 'had to ...'
5.2 % of sources
tenemostenerPresent 1 Plurwe have
Note: Followed by 'de' plus an infinitive, means 'we have to ...'
5.0 % of sources
encuentraencontrarPresent 3 Sing(he/she/it) finds/encounters4.9 % of sources
resultadoresultarPast participleresulted
Note: As a noun, 'resultado' means 'result'
4.8 % of sources
hemoshaberPresent 1 Plurwe have ...
Note: Used to form perfect tense 'we have ...ed'; followed by 'de', means 'we have to ...'
4.8 % of sources
seaserSubjunctive 1 Sing(he/she/it) will/might be4.7 % of sources
puedenpoderPresent 3 Plur(they) can/may4.7 % of sources
faltafaltarPresent 3 Sing... is missing/needed4.7 % of sources
esperaesperarPresent 3 Sing(he/she/it) hopes (to)
Note: Can also mean 'is waiting (to)'.
4.7 % of sources
llególlegarPreterite 3 Sing(he/she/it) arrived/reached4.7 % of sources
partirpartirInfinitive(to) leave; (to) share out4.6 % of sources
estamosestarPresent 1 Plurwe are4.6 % of sources
conocerconocerInfinitive(to) know4.6 % of sources
evitarevitarInfinitive(to) avoid4.5 % of sources
llegarllegarInfinitive(to) arrive/reach4.5 % of sources
dejódejarPreterite 3 Sing(he/she/it) left/let4.4 % of sources
seránserFuture 3 Plur(they) will be4.4 % of sources
tenidotenerPast participlehad/held4.3 % of sources
seguirseguirInfinitive(to) follow; (to) carry on ...ing4.3 % of sources
habíanhaberImperfect 3 Plur(they) had ...; there were ...
Note: Used to form the pluperfect tense: 'they had ...ed'; sometimes used instead of 'había' to mean 'there were ...'.
4.3 % of sources
ganarganarInfinitive(to) win/earn/gain4.2 % of sources
dadarPresent 3 Sing(he/she/it) gives4.1 % of sources
pesarpesarInfinitive(to) weigh (up), carry weight4.1 % of sources
dicedecirPresent 3 Sing(he/she/it) says4.1 % of sources
causacausarPresent 3 Sing(he/she/it) causes4.0 % of sources
pareceparecerPresent 3 Sing(he/she/it) appears4.0 % of sources
comentócomentarPreterite 3 Sing(he/she/it) commented4.0 % of sources
agregóagregarPreterite 3 Sing(he/she) added
Note: Both 'agregar' and 'añadir' can be used to mean 'add' as in 'say in addition'.
4.0 % of sources
añadióañadirPreterite 3 Sing(he/she) added
Note: Both 'agregar' and 'añadir' can be used to mean 'add' as in 'say in addition'.
4.0 % of sources
consideraconsiderarPresent 3 Sing(he/she/it) considers3.9 % of sources
anuncióanunciarPreterite 3 Sing(he/she/it) announced
Note: Anunciar' can also mean 'to advertise'
3.9 % of sources
tendrátenerFuture 3 Sing(he/she/it) will have
Note: Followed by 'de' plus an infinitive, means 'will have to ...'
3.8 % of sources
estabanestarImperfect 3 Plur(they) were3.8 % of sources
debendeberPresent 3 Plur(they) must/should
Note: Can mean 'must'/'should' as in either necessity, or speculation on the part of the speaker.
3.8 % of sources
seríaserConditional 3 Sing(he/she/it) would be3.7 % of sources
realizarrealizarInfinitive(to) fulfil/carry out3.5 % of sources
destacódestacarPreterite 3 Sing(he/she/it) highlighted/emphasised3.4 % of sources
recordórecordarPreterite 3 Sing(he/she/it) reminded3.4 % of sources
pasarpasarInfinitive(to) happen; (to) pass, go by/along etc3.4 % of sources
siendoserPresent participlebeing3.4 % of sources
decirdecirInfinitive(to) say3.3 % of sources
estuvoestarPreterite 3 Sing(he/she/it) was3.3 % of sources
puedapoderSubjunctive 3 Sing(he/she/it) might/could3.3 % of sources
pudopoderPreterite 3 Sing(he/she/it) was able to3.3 % of sources
sigueseguirPresent 3 Sing(he/she/it) follows; (he/she/it) goes on
Note: Followed by an infinitive, means 'continues to ...', 'goes on'
3.3 % of sources
comenzócomenzarPreterite 3 Sing(he/she/it) began (to)3.3 % of sources
declaródeclararPreterite 3 Sing(he/she/it) declared3.3 % of sources
previstopreverPast participleforseen, predicted, anticipated3.3 % of sources
eranserImperfect 3 Plur(they) were3.2 % of sources
anunciadoanunciarPast participleannounced3.0 % of sources
detenidodetenerPast participledetained, arrested
Note: Can also mean 'detailled', 'thorough'
3.0 % of sources
tomartomarInfinitive(to) take; (to) drink3.0 % of sources
salirsalirInfinitive(to) bring/come out3.0 % of sources
pusoponerPreterite 3 Sing(he/she/it) put3.0 % of sources
quedóquedarPreterite 3 Sing(he/she/it) remained2.9 % of sources
existeexistirPresent 3 Sing(he/she/it) exists; there exists ...2.9 % of sources
quierequererPresent 3 Sing(he/she/it) wants2.8 % of sources
aseguraasegurarPresent 3 Sing(he/she/it) assures, ensures2.8 % of sources
recibidorecibirInfinitivereceived2.8 % of sources
trabajartrabajarInfinitive(to) work2.8 % of sources
unidounirPast participleunited
Note: Used country names such as 'Reino Unido' (United Kingdom) and 'Estados Unidos' (United States)
2.7 % of sources
podidopoderPast participlebeen able (to)2.7 % of sources
creocreerPresent 1 Singi believe/think2.7 % of sources
consideróconsiderarPreterite 3 Sing(he/she/it) considered2.7 % of sources
habráhaberFuture Existentialthere will be ...
Note: habrá de ...' means 'will have to ...'
2.7 % of sources
hacenhacerPresent 3 Plur(they) do/make2.7 % of sources
pidiópedirPreterite 3 Sing(he/she/it) asked/requested2.7 % of sources
decidiódecidirPreterite 3 Sing(he/she/it) decided2.7 % of sources
siguenseguirPresent 3 Plur(they) follow; (they) go on ...ing2.6 % of sources
podíapoderImperfect 3 Sing(he/she/it) could, was able to, used to be able to2.6 % of sources
jugarjugarInfinitive(to) play2.5 % of sources
creecreerPresent 3 Sing(he/she/it) believes/thinks2.5 % of sources
conseguirconseguirInfinitive(to) obtain2.5 % of sources
llevallevarPresent 3 Sing(he/she/it) carries/bears2.5 % of sources
ganóganarPreterite 3 Sing(he/she/it) earned/won/gained2.5 % of sources
llegadollegarInfinitivearrived2.5 % of sources
manifestómanifestarPreterite 3 Sing(he/she/it) demonstrated
Note: Can mean 'demonstrated' as in 'displayed' or 'rallied'.
2.5 % of sources
mostrómostrarPreterite 3 Sing(he/she/it) showed2.5 % of sources
podríanpoderConditional 3 Plur(they) could/might/would be able to2.5 % of sources
presentadopresentarPast participlepresented2.5 % of sources
explicaexplicarPresent 3 Sing(he/she/it) explains2.5 % of sources
lograrlograrInfinitive(to) succeed/manage2.5 % of sources
podrápoderFuture 3 Sing(he/she/it) will be able (to)2.4 % of sources
podemospoderPresent 1 Singwe can2.4 % of sources

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