How do we talk about an action in progress in Spanish? We use the Spanish present progressive tense, which we'll explore in this lesson.
What is present progressive in Spanish? Simply put, the present progressive tense in Spanish describes actions that are unfolding as we speak, at this moment. Also called the present progressive, its English equivalent includes some form of the verb "to be" in present tense along with the gerund, or -ing form, of a verb. Some examples include: "I'm reading," "You are watching TV," or "We are eating dinner." The Spanish present progressive, which we'll learn to conjugate, takes a very similar form.
So, when exactly do we use the present progressive tense in Spanish? And, what's the difference between the simple present and the Spanish present progressive? This can be a bit confusing since there is some overlap in terms of their English translations at times. Let's take a look:
¿Qué hacés vos acá? -¿Cómo qué hago? Corro.
What are you doing here? -What do you mean, what am I doing? I'm running.
Captions 65-66, Cuatro Amigas Piloto - Part 1Play Caption
Although, much like the present progressive, the simple present tense in Spanish can sometimes be translated into English using the -ing form to say that one "is doing" something in the present, the Spanish simple present tense is also used to describe actions one does on a habitual basis:
¿Y los sábados y domingos, qué haces?
And on Saturdays and Sundays, what do you do?
Caption 19, Español para principiantes Los días de la semanaPlay Caption
That said, if you really want to emphasize and/or remove any doubt that an action is in progress or happening at this moment, it's necessary to use the Spanish present progressive:
Silvia, ¿qué estás haciendo? -Estoy cocinando.
Silvia, what are you doing? -I'm cooking.
Captions 31-32, El Aula Azul Actividades diarias: En casa con SilviaPlay Caption
In fact, this last caption is from a video by El Aula Azul that simply and clearly demonstrates the difference between the simple present tense and the present progressive tense in Spanish.
Now that you know when to use the present progressive in Spanish, let's learn how to conjugate present progressive verbs in Spanish. To start, let's review (or learn!) the simple present conjugation of the verb estar (to be), which will convey the idea of "am" or "are":
Yo estoy (I am)
Tú estás (You are)
Él/ella/usted está (He, she is/you are)
Nosotros/nosotras estamos (We are)
Vosotros/vosotras estáis (You are [plural])
Ellos/ellas/ustedes están (They/you [plural] are)
Next, we'll need to break up infinitive Spanish verbs into two categories, verbs that end in -ar and verbs that end in either -er or -ir, in order to form their gerunds (gerundios).
To form the gerund for regular -ar verbs, we'll take the verb's stem (the part before the -ar) and add the suffix -ando. For example, for hablar (to talk), we take the stem habl- and add -ando to get hablando. Let's take a look at a few examples of regular -ar verbs in the present progressive tense in Spanish:
Entonces, en este momento, ¿veis?, está hablando con su madre por teléfono.
So, right now, you see? He's talking to his mom on the phone.
Captions 60-61, Clase Aula Azul Información con subjuntivo e indicativo - Part 1Play Caption
Eh... estoy buscando a Milagros.
Um... I am looking for Milagros.
Caption 6, Muñeca Brava 39 Verdades - Part 1Play Caption
Estamos caminando aquí en Bleeker Street
We are walking here on Bleeker Street
Caption 72, Eljuri "Fuerte" EPKPlay Caption
Conjugating regular -er and -ir verbs in the present progressive Spanish tense is just as easy! Simply take the stem (remove the -er or -ir) and add the suffix -iendo. Thus, for correr (to run), we have corr- plus -iendo to get corriendo, and for vivir (to live), we take viv- plus -iendo for viviendo. Let's look at a few more examples:
¿Por qué estás comiendo basura?
Why are you eating garbage?
Caption 9, Kikirikí Agua - Part 4Play Caption
Está subiendo, está subiendo la rama.
He's climbing, he's climbing the branch.
Caption 98, Animales en familia Un día en Bioparc: CoatísPlay Caption
¿Dónde estáis vendiendo aceite?
Where are you selling oil?
Caption 1, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 14Play Caption
Although the Spanish present progressive tense is arguably one of the easier verbs to learn to conjugate in Spanish, there are some irregular verbs, of course, which fall into a few categories. Let's examine those categories of verbs with irregular conjugations in the Spanish present progressive.
Verbs with the endings -aer, -eer, -oir, and -uir change from -iendo to -yendo in the Spanish present progressive. Here are some examples:
traer: trayendo (to bring/bringing)
caer: cayendo (to fall/falling)
leer: leyendo (to read/reading)
creer: creyendo (to believe/believing)
construir: construyendo (to build/building)
huir: huyendo (to escape/escaping)
oír: oyendo (to hear/hearing)
Interestingly, the present progressive form of the verb ir (to go) is also yendo:
Sí, me venía a despedir porque ya me estoy yendo.
Yes, I came to say goodbye because I'm leaving now.
Caption 90, Muñeca Brava 39 Verdades - Part 5Play Caption
Some verbs that change stems in the Spanish simple present tense also have an irregular form in the Spanish present progressive. Verbs whose stems change from -e to -ie (e.g. sentir becomes yo siento, tú sientes, etc.) or -e to -i (vestir changes to yo visto, tú vistes, etc.) tend to change stems from an -e to an -i in the Spanish present progressive as well, while maintaining the suffix -iendo. Let's take a look at some common examples:
sentir: sintiendo (to feel/feeling)
preferir: prefiriendo (to prefer/preferring)
mentir: mintiendo (to lie/lying)
vestir: vistiendo (to dress/dressing)
seguir: siguiendo (to follow/following)
conseguir: consiguiendo (to get/getting)
On the other hand, verbs that change from an -o to a -ue in the simple present often change from an -o to a -u in the Spanish present progressive while maintaining their regular ending (-iendo). Examples include poder ("to be able," which morphs into yo puedo, tú puedes, etc.), dormir (to sleep," which becomes yo duermo, tú duermes, etc.), and morir ("to die," which transforms to yo muero, tú mueres, etc.). Let's look:
poder: pudiendo (to be able/being able)
dormir: durmiendo (to sleep/sleeping)
morir: muriendo (to die/dying)
Verbs in this fourth category also change from -e to -i in the simple present (e.g. reír, or "to laugh," becomes yo río, tú ríes, etc.) but also have an -e before the -ir ending. In this case, the -e is dropped, while the ending -iendo is maintained, as follows:
reír: riendo (to laugh/laughing)
sonreír: sonriendo (to smile/smiling)
freír: friendo (to fry/frying)
The aforementioned irregular verbs in the present progressive in Spanish by no means constitute an exhaustive list, and although the rules that dictate which verbs are irregular might seem daunting, with increased exposure to Spanish, conjugating such irregular verbs in the present progressive in Spanish should become intuitive in no time!
Let's conclude today's lesson by looking at an example from each of the aforementioned categories of irregular present progressive verbs in Spanish:
Ellos están construyendo la puerta de entrada al santuario de burros.
They're building the entry gate to the donkey sanctuary.
Caption 25, Amaya VoluntariosPlay Caption
Esa mujer nos está mintiendo y quiero saber por qué.
That woman is lying to us and I want to know why.Play Caption
¡Aldo, tu hermano se está muriendo y a vos lo único que te interesa es la herencia!
Aldo, your brother is dying, and the only thing that interests you is the inheritance!
Caption 63, Yago 3 La foto - Part 5Play Caption
Se está riendo de todos nosotros.
He's laughing at all of us.Play Caption
That's all for today. For more information on the present progressive Spanish tense, check out our latest video from El Aula Azul on that very topic! And don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.
What are reflexive verbs in Spanish? A reflexive verb is a verb in which the subject (person or thing that completes the action) and object (person or thing that receives the action) are one in the same. In other words, the action "reflects back" onto the subject, or entails something one does to or for him or herself. It is no wonder then, that many of the things we "do to ourselves" in our daily routines (e.g. shaving ourselves, washing ourselves, etc.) fall into the category of reflexive Spanish verbs.
How can we recognize Spanish reflexive verbs? The main way to distinguish reflexive verbs in Spanish is by the fact that they all end in the pronoun se in their infinitive form. To take a very simple example, while the verb hablar means "to talk," hablarse is a reflexive verb meaning "to talk to oneself." However, the translations for reflexive verbs in Spanish aren't always so straight-forward.
As we often say just "I shave" or "I wash" in lieu of "I shave/wash myself," the English translations of Spanish reflexive verbs won't always include pronouns like "myself," "yourself," etc. In other cases, the meanings of verbs like parecer (to seem) completely change in their reflexive forms (parecerse means "to look like"). And so, as there are a lot more reflexive verbs in Spanish than in English, many of which may not "seem" reflexive, with increased exposure to Spanish, we will learn which English concepts are expressed with Spanish reflexive verbs.
To conjugate reflexive verbs in Spanish, we must memorize the reflexive pronouns that correspond to each personal pronoun: yo (I), tú (you), etc.). Reflexive pronouns are most often placed before the verb, which is conjugated "as usual" (in the same way as its non-reflexive form). To demonstrate this, let's take a look at the reflexive pronouns and the simple present conjugation of the regular verb hablar. We will then show you the conjugation of its reflexive form (hablarse).
|Personal Pronoun||Reflexive Pronoun||Hablar||Hablarse|
|él, ella, usted||se||habla||se habla|
|ellos/as, ustedes||se||hablar||se hablan|
Now that you know the Spanish reflexive pronouns and how to conjugate reflexive Spanish verbs, let's take a look at some examples of reflexive verbs in Spanish for describing things that many of us do on a daily basis, with lots of instances from our Yabla video library as always! Here is our list of Spanish reflexive verbs for your daily routine:
The Spanish reflexive verb despertarse means "to wake up":
y por la mañana me despierto entre seis y cuarenta y cinco a siete y cuarto.
and in the morning I wake up between six forty-five and seven fifteen.Play Caption
After waking up, the next step might be levantarse ("to get up" or "get out of bed"):
Se levanta muy temprano.
She gets up very early.
Caption 51, El Aula Azul Las Profesiones - Part 1Play Caption
In other contexts, the reflexive Spanish verb levantarse could also mean, among other things, "to stand up" or "get up," as from a seat, or even "to rise up against," as in a rebellion.
The Spanish noun baño means "bath," and the verb bañarse can mean "to take a bath" as well. However, as bañarse can also be the more general "to bathe," a person might even use this verb to express the fact that they are taking a shower! Let's look at an example of this reflexive Spanish verb:
Uno se baña todos los días, mijita.
One bathes every day, my girl.
Caption 41, Muñeca Brava 33 El partido - Part 2Play Caption
On the other hand, if a person at the beach expresses their desire to bañarse, rather than wanting to wash the sand off of themselves, they are letting you know they would like to take a dip! The Spanish reflexive verb bañarse can also mean "to go swimming," a translation that often comes as a surprise to English speakers:
No hay muchas olas grandes como en Atacames. Es más tranquilo para bañarse.
There aren't many big waves like in Atacames. It's more peaceful to go swimming.
Captions 62-63, Pipo Un paseo por la playa de AtacamesPlay Caption
In the morning, at night, or after the beach, indeed, one might need to ducharse (to take a shower):
¿Qué está haciendo Silvia? Silvia se está duchando.
What is Silvia doing? Silvia is taking a shower.
Captions 11-12, El Aula Azul Actividades diarias: En casa con SilviaPlay Caption
Note that, in this example, the verb ducharse is conjugated in the present progressive tense. As with the present indicative and all other tenses, verbs are conjugated in the exact same way as they would be were they non-reflexive, with the addition of the appropriate reflexive pronoun.
The reflexive verb in Spanish lavarse generally means "to wash (oneself)." Let's look at an example:
Por ejemplo, "Yo me lavo". La acción recae sobre la persona que realiza la acción. Pero, "Yo lavo los platos".
For example, "Yo me lavo" [I wash myself]. The action falls back upon the person who carries out the action. But, "Yo lavo los platos" [I wash the dishes].
Captions 45-48, Lecciones con Carolina Verbos reflexivosPlay Caption
In this informative video about Spanish reflexive verbs, Yabla fan favorite Carolina explains the difference between reflexive and non-reflexive verbs, in this case the verbs lavar (to wash) and lavarse (to wash oneself). Let's look at an additional example:
Yo me lavo las manos. Tú te lavas las manos.
I wash my hands. You wash your hands.
Captions 19-20, Fundamentos del Español 9 - Verbos ReflexivosPlay Caption
Unlike in English, where we express the idea of washing one's hands or some other body part with a possessive pronoun (my, your, etc.), this is not the case in Spanish. Instead, we use the definite article for the noun in question, manos (hands), in this case, las (the). Because the reflexive pronoun already indicates that the action is something we do to ourselves, it would be redundant in Spanish to say: Yo me lavo mis manos. As the correct way to express this is "Yo me lavo las manos," it might help you to remember the literal but non-sensical translation: "I wash myself the hands."
That said, let's move on to something else that's expressed with the notion of "washing" in Spanish: lavarse los dientes (to brush one's teeth).
Lavarse los dientes (literally "to wash one's teeth") is one of saying "to brush one's teeth" in Spanish:
Después, ehm... suelo lavarme los dientes en el baño,
After that, um... I usually brush my teeth in the bathroom,
Caption 3, El Aula Azul Actividades DiariasPlay Caption
Different countries, regions, or individuals might instead use cepillarse los dientes, which also means "to brush one's teeth." Let's check out an example in the preterite tense:
Se cepilló los dientes,
He brushed his teeth,
Caption 20, Aprendiendo con Carlos El microrrelato - Part 2Play Caption
By extension, the noun el cepillo means "the brush," and we might have a cepillo de dientes (toothbrush) as well as a cepillo de pelo/cabello (hair brush), as in the following caption:
Sí... -¿Qué necesitamos para ir allí? El cepillo de dientes. El cepillo del pelo.
Yes... -What do we need to go there? A toothbrush. A hair brush.
Captions 49-51, Un Viaje a Mallorca Planificando el viajePlay Caption
So, you've probably surmised by now that the verb cepillarse el pelo/cabello means "to brush one's hair."
The verb peinarse can mean "to comb one's hair" with a comb (un peine), "to brush one's hair," or "to do" or "style" one's hair in general:
Por eso paró en la playa para mirarse en el espejo y peinarse.
That's why she stopped on the beach to look at herself in the mirror and comb her hair.
Captions 21-22, Guillermina y Candelario Mi Amiga la SirenaPlay Caption
Afeitarse is the verb for "to shave" (oneself, of course)!
Vos sabés lo que es todas las mañanas... mirarse en el espejo cuando uno se afeita
Do you know what it's like every morning... to look at oneself in the mirror when one's shaving,
Captions 30-31, Muñeca Brava 8 Trampas - Part 13Play Caption
The next step in one's morning routine might be maquillarse (to put on makeup):
Aquí, siempre me maquillo para mis conciertos.
Here, I always put on makeup for my concerts.
Caption 47, Ariana Mi CasaPlay Caption
Alternatively, one might say Aquí, siempre me pinto para mis conciertos, as pintarse (literally "to paint oneself") also means "to put on makeup."
Vestirse is the way to say "to get dressed" in Spanish.
Yo salgo y... y te vistes.
I'll leave and... and you get dressed.Play Caption
Another way to say this might be ponerse la ropa (to put on one's clothes).
Although sacarse la ropa is one manner of saying "to get undressed" or "take off one's clothes," there are many other examples of reflexive verbs in Spanish that mean the same thing, including: quitarse la ropa, desvestirse, and desnudarse. Let's look at a couple of examples:
Si "Libertinaje" te saca... te invita a sacarte la ropa,
If "Libertinaje" takes off your..... invites you to take off your clothes,
Captions 4-5, Bersuit Vergarabat EPK - Part 1Play Caption
Y se desnuda poco a poco y se convierte en tu piel
And she gets naked little by little and she becomes your skin
Caption 6, Reik InolvidablePlay Caption
As you can see, the more literal "to get naked" might be an alternate translation for desnudarse.
We're finally getting to the end of our daily routine, when it's time for us to acostarnos (go to bed):
Tranquilícese, vaya a acostarse y deje de pensar en imposibles.
Calm down, go to bed, and stop thinking about impossible things.
Caption 31, Muñeca Brava 48 - Soluciones - Part 5Play Caption
And finally, once in bed, it's time to fall asleep! While the non-reflexive dormir means "to sleep," dormirse means "to fall asleep."
Me dormí pensando en ti; pensando en ti, me desperté
I fell asleep thinking about you; thinking about you, I woke up
Caption 10, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 13Play Caption
Of course, this is just a partial list of reflexive verbs in Spanish that might be applicable to our daily routines. There are a lot more common reflexive verbs in Spanish that describe things one might do on a daily basis, including secarse (to dry oneself off), sentarse (to sit down), sentirse (to feel), emocionarse (to get excited), encontrarse con alguien (to meet with someone), acordarse de (to remember), olvidarse (to forget), sonreírse (to smile), reírse (to laugh), despedirse (to say goodbye), irse (to leave), and many, many more!
Let's start today's lesson with a quote from the Argentinean telenovela, Yago:
Pero si no te casás, no tenés nada para aportar a la sociedad. No sos nadie, Melina. No sos nada.
But if you don't get married, you don't have anything to contribute to the company. You're nobody, Melina. You're nothing.
Captions 27-29, Yago 9 Recuperación - Part 9Play Caption
What's going on here (aside from a seemingly very dramatic situation)? Since the speaker is addressing this character as "you," shouldn't these verbs be conjugated as (tú) te casas, tienes, and eres?
What's going on here, grammatically speaking, is that in Argentina, Uruguay, and many other regions (including parts of Paraguay, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Mexico, and Venezuela) vos is used in place of tú as the informal second person singular pronoun ("you"), causing some of the verb conjugations to vary slightly.
"Do I really have to learn another verb tense?!" you might be saying. However, even though el voseo (the use of vos instead of tú) might seem intimidating at first, there is a lot of "good news" regarding vos, particularly if you are already familiar with el tuteo (the use of tú):
1. The verb conjugations for vos only differ from those with tú in two tenses: the present indicative and the informal imperative (command). All of the other verb tenses (preterite, imperfect, etc.) are exactly the same as with tú, as are many of its pronouns (e.g. direct object, indirect object, reflexive, and possessive).
2. The formulas for conjugating verbs with vos in both present indicative and imperative are extremely simple.
3. With the voseo, there are a lot less irregular verbs than with tú. In fact, in the present indicative of vos, there are only three irregular verbs, while in the present indicative of tú, there are over one hundred irregular/stem changing verbs to memorize.
Let's start with how to conjugate -ar, -er, and -ir verbs with vos in the present indicative: Simply take the infinitive, replace the "r" with an "s," and add an accent to the final vowel. Let's look at some examples with the infinitives escuchar (to listen), saber (to know), and subir (to go up).
Qu'... Vos no me escuchás ni cuando yo te estoy contando una cosa que para mí es importante.
Wh'... You don't listen to me, not even when I'm telling you something that is important to me.
Caption 50, Yago 2 El puma - Part 3Play Caption
Si vos sabés muy bien que yo me sé adaptar.
You know very well that I know how to adapt.
Caption 43, Cuatro Amigas Piloto - Part 2Play Caption
En el segundo piso, de ahí subís y ahí es tu salón.
On the second floor, you go up there and there's your classroom.
Caption 49, La Sucursal del Cielo Capítulo 1 - Part 6Play Caption
In the case of these regular -ar and -er verbs, you will note that their conjugations with vos are virtually identical to their tú forms (escuchas and sabes) with the addition of their written (and spoken) accents. Howeber, regular -ir verbs like subir, which are typically conjugated with -es in their tú form (subes), retain their-i vowel plus an accent.
As previously mentioned, verbs that are irregular or stem-changing with tú are regular with vos. To get an idea, let's take the common verbs comenzar (to begin), tener (to have), and decir (to say), all of which have irregular forms when conjugated with tú. With vos, on the other hand, these verbs follow our regular pattern of replacing the "r" with "s" and adding an accent to the final noun:
|Verb in Infinitive:||Present Indicative with Tú:||Present Indicative with Vos:|
Let's look at a couple of these in action:
y decís: "Bueno, pará que mañana tenés que seguir
and you say, "Hey, hold on 'cause tomorrow you have to continue
Caption 66, Biografía Natalia Oreiro - Part 10Play Caption
There are only three irregular verbs in the vos form of the present indicative, one of which we already saw (ser) and two of which share their forms with tú (haber and ir). All three of these appear in the following clip:
Además, vos ni vas al colegio, has perdido un montón de años. Vos no sos nadie.
Besides, you don't even go to school, you have missed a ton of years. You're [a] nobody.
Captions 33-34, La Sucursal del Cielo Capítulo 1 - Part 3Play Caption
Now, let's take a look at these captions again, substituting the verb tú for vos:
Además, tú ni vas al colegio, has perdido un montón de años. Tú no eres nadie.
Besides, you don't even go to school, you have missed a ton of years. You're [a] nobody.
While the vos form of ser, sos, does differ from the tú form (eres), the verb conjugations for ir (vas) and haber (has) are exactly the same for both tú and vos.
Conjugating verbs with vos in the imperative (command) form is even easier: Simply take the infinitive, remove the r, and add an accent over the final vowel. Let's look at some examples of the vos command forms for each type of verb ending, utilizing the verbs tomar (to drink), tener (to have), and venir (to come).
Sabés que no tomo whisky. -¡Pero tomá!
You know that I don't drink whiskey. -But, drink it!
Caption 22, Muñeca Brava 2 Venganza - Part 3Play Caption
Este... tené un poquito de paciencia.
Umm... have a little bit of patience.
Caption 7, Muñeca Brava 45 El secreto - Part 9Play Caption
Vení, vamos a bailar.
Come, let's go dance.
Caption 33, Muñeca Brava 7 El poema - Part 6Play Caption
Once again, verbs like tener and venir that are irregular in the imperative form with tú (ten and ven, respectively) are regular in the imperative form with vos. While ir (to go) is the only irregular verb in this category, its formal conjugations, id or ite, are almost never heard, and the command form of andar (to walk/go), andá, is often used in its place.
Keep in mind that, due to the Spanish accent rules, the addition of a pronoun to a command form with vos may lead to the omission of the written accent:
Olvidate, divertite, hacé algo. -No quiero,
Forget about it, have fun, do something. -I don't want to,
Caption 8, Muñeca Brava 46 Recuperación - Part 7Play Caption
To conclude, remember that in all of the other tenses besides the present indicative and informal imperative, vos is conjugated in exactly the same way as tú. In the following example, we see the preterite form of ser (to be) fuiste as well as the imperfect form of estar (to be), taking into account that the indirect object pronoun te is also identical for both vos and tú:
porque a vos no te hice absolutamente nada. Todo lo contrario. Fuiste la protagonista de la fiesta, estabas maravillosa
because I've done absolutely nothing to you. On the contrary. You were the star of the party, you were looking wonderful
Captions 15-17, Muñeca Brava 41 La Fiesta - Part 7Play Caption
We hope that this lesson has made conjugating verbs with the informal second person pronoun vos seem a bit less daunting. For more information on this topic, we recommend this Yabla series on the Voseo, ustedeo, and tuteo as well as this video on the use of vos in Argentina— and don't hesitate to contact us with your comments and suggestions.
Let's talk about the Spanish conjugation of regular verbs. In particular, let's see how to form the preterite conjugation of regular verbs ending in -ar, -er, and -ir. But first, let's review the main idea behind the preterite tense in Spanish.
In very simple terms, when we talk about the Spanish preterite tense, we are talking about the simple past, in other words, a completed action that took place at a determined point in the past. Let's look at an example from the series where our friend Carlos talks about this tense:
Ayer trabajé hasta las ocho de la noche.
Yesterday I worked until eight at night.Play Caption
In this example, trabajé is the preterite conjugation of the regular verb trabajar for the first-person singular yo (I). Note that the only change necessary to form the preterite in this example is removing the -ar ending of the infinitive verb and replacing it with the ending -é.
There are a couple of things we want to mention about the conjugations you will find throughout this tutorial.
1. While usted (the formal, second-person singular "you") does not appear in our conjugation lists, keep in mind that when using that pronoun, the verb is conjugated in the exact same way as verbs in the third-person singular forms with él (he) and ella (she). Let's take a look at this in action with the preterite conjugation of the verb hablar (to speak/talk):
Usted habló de Fabio Sirenio.
You talked about Fabio Sirenio.
Caption 83, Yago 7 Encuentros - Part 14Play Caption
Entonces él habló con... con los pescadores y los pescadores aceptaron.
So, he spoke with... with the fishermen and the fishermen accepted.
Caption 17, Instinto de conservación Parque Tayrona - Part 6Play Caption
2. In order to offer a more simplistic verb conjugation snapshot, in this article, we only employ the masculine versions of the plural forms nosotros (we), vosotros (you), and ellos (they). That said, keep in mind that the conjugations are the same for the feminine forms nosotras, vosotras, and ellas.
3. Just like usted, ustedes (the standard second person plural "you" in Latin America and the formal second person plural in Spain) does not appear among the conjugations shared here. However, keep in mind that the conjugations of verbs with "ustedes" are the exact same as the third-person plural forms utilized with ellos and ellas (they). Let's look at an example of this with the preterite conjugation of the verb cantar (to sing):
Ustedes cantaron muy bien (You guys sang very well).
Ellos/Ellas cantaron muy bien (They sang very well).
Having said all this, let's explore the preterite conjugations of some regular verbs in Spanish.
Let's take a look at the preterite conjugation of the verb hablar (to speak).
Yo hablé (I spoke).
Tú hablaste (You spoke).
Él/Ella habló (He/She spoke).
Nosotros hablamos (We spoke).*
Vosotros hablasteis (You spoke).
Ellos hablaron (They spoke).
* It's important to note that because the verb conjugation for the first person plural "nosotros" (we) is the same for both the simple present and simple past tenses, the speaker's intention must be determined by context as follows:
Nosotros estudiamos mucho todos los días (We study a lot every day).
Ayer nosotros estudiamos mucho (Yesterday, we studied a lot).
Example 1.: The verb comprar (to buy)
¡Y compraste melones en vez de limones!*
And you bought melons instead of lemons!Play Caption
* Remember that pronouns are frequently omitted in Spanish. Thus, in the example above and without changing the meaning, one could say: "¡Y tú compraste melones en vez de limones!" However, despite the fact that the speaker does not use the pronoun here, the -aste verb ending lets the listener know that the person referred to is "tú" (you).
Example 2.: The verb escuchar (to listen/hear)
La canción que escuchamos introduce la quinta parte del primer episodio
The song that we heard introduces the fifth part of the first episodePlay Caption
Let's take a look at the preterite conjugation of the regular verb comer (to eat).
Yo comí (I ate).
Tú comiste (You ate).
Él/Ella comió (He/She ate).
Nosotros comimos (We ate).
Vosotros comisteis (You ate).
Ellos comieron (They ate).
Example 1.: The verb aprender (to learn)
y aprendí que los pulpos pueden cambiar de color.
and I learned that octopi can change color.
Caption 45, Guillermina y Candelario La Señora PulpoPlay Caption
Example 2.: The verb vender (to sell)
creo que vendimos unos quinientos dólares en unas... tres horas, dos horas.
I think we sold about five hundred dollars (worth) in about... three hours, two hours.
Captions 25-26, Un café con Julia Año nuevoPlay Caption
Let's take a look at the preterite conjugation of the verb vivir (to live).
Yo viví (I lived).
Tú viviste (You lived).
Él/Ella vivió (He/She lived).
Nosotros vivimos (We lived).
Vosotros vivisteis (You lived).
Ellos vivieron (They lived).
Example 1.: The verb escribir (to write)
¿Por qué dices eso? Porque una vez me escribiste contándome que te casabas en Nueva York.
Why do you say that? Because once you wrote to me telling me that you were getting married in New York.
Captions 61-62, Yago 6 Mentiras - Part 5Play Caption
Example 2.: The verb abrir (to open)
Primero, Lisa Bernal abrió la herida,
First, Lisa Bernal opened the wound,
Caption 61, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 6 - Part 4Play Caption
And with this example, we have reached the end of this lesson. But before we go, a little homework for you: go ahead and choose some other regular verbs and practice the Spanish conjugation of the preterite tense. Sooner or later, you will be able to master those preterite endings! We hope you enjoyed this lesson, and don't forget to leave us your comments and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!
Today's lesson will examine Yabla's "Top 12" picks for the most useful verbs for having a conversation in Spanish. This time, we'll focus on the meanings of those verbs as well as giving you a lot of simple, conversational examples from Yabla's Spanish video library. Additionally, we'll provide you with conjugation tables for the "Top 3" most useful Spanish tenses: the simple present, the imperfect (which describes ongoing or continuous past actions), and the preterite (which describes completed past actions).
In addition to the aforementioned links, you can consult this lesson entitled Spanish Verb Tenses Explained if you need to brush up on those tenses and more! Although memorizing all of these conjugations might seem a bit intimidating, it could really help your ability to converse in Spanish.
The fact that there are two verbs that mean "to be" in Spanish, ser and estar, can feel quite confusing for non-native speakers. Generally speaking, the verb ser is employed to describe more permanent characteristics. The acronym DOCTOR (description, occupation, condition, time, origin, relationship) is very useful for helping us to remember some of the many situations in which this verb is used. Let's take a look at how this verb is conjugated as well as some examples:
|Él, ella, usted||es||era||fue|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||son||eran||fueron|
Soy profesor de fotografía.
I'm a photography teacher.
Caption 13, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 5Play Caption
Sus cuadros eran muy extraños.
His paintings were very strange.Play Caption
también fuimos parte de todas estas, eh... mega empresas, pero...
we were also part of all these, um... mega companies, but...
Caption 22, Doctor Krápula EntrevistaPlay Caption
Notably, although ser usually denotes permanence, while the preterite tense denotes that something had a definite ending point, the verb ser is used in the preterite to describe something that "was" in the past, but did come to a conclusive end.
The verb estar also means "to be" for traits that are variable/less permanent. The acronym PLACE (position, location, action, condition, emotion) might help you to remember some contexts in which the verb estar should be chosen. Let's take a look:
|Él, ella, usted||está||estaba||estuvo|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||están||estaban||estuverion|
Sí... Vale, entonces, estamos aquí.
Yes... OK, then, we're here.Play Caption
Un poquito y ajá, y estaba triste porque dejaba mi familia y eso y ya.
A little bit, and uh-huh, and I was sad because I was leaving my family and all that and that's it.
Caption 70, Cleer Entrevista a LilaPlay Caption
Los árabes estuvieron en España más de seiscientos años
The Arabs were in Spain for more than six hundred years
Caption 23, Rosa Antequera, Málaga - Part 2Play Caption
Be sure to check out this lesson if you want to learn more about the difference between ser and estar.
The verb tener means "to have" in Spanish. Let's take a closer look:
|Él, ella, usted||tiene||tenía||tuvo|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||tienen||tenían||tuvieron|
¿Tienes plumones y tijeras? Sí, tengo plumones y tijeras, pero no tengo mi teléfono.
You have markers and scissors? Yes, I have markers and scissors, but I don't have my phone.
Captions 20-22, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 1: No tengo mi teléfono.Play Caption
Tenían mi mochila en la Oficina de Objetos Perdidos.
They had my backpack in the Lost and Found.
Caption 44, Raquel Oficina de objetos perdidosPlay Caption
La noche anterior a la rumba, tuve otro sueño.
The night before going out on the town, I had another dream.
Caption 1, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 7 - Part 5Play Caption
Additionally, we invite you to explore some of the many idiomatic expressions with the verb tener.
And, we'll just take a second to mention that if you throw in the word que after the verb tener plus a verb's infinitive ("to" form), you'll have the very useful Spanish construction tener que that means, "to have to" (do something):
Hoy tengo que trabajar.
Today I have to work.
Caption 74, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 14Play Caption
tuvimos que trasladarnos a esta nueva ciudad.
we had to move to this new city.
Caption 39, Ciudad de Panamá Denisse introduce la ciudadPlay Caption
|Él, ella, usted||hace||hacía||hizo|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||hacen||hacían||hicieron|
Y ¿tú qué haces?
And what are you doing?
Caption 24, Guillermina y Candelario Un pez mágico - Part 1Play Caption
Y yo no hacía esto. Yo hago otro acto, que es con las motos.
And I didn't do this. I do another act, which is with motorcycles.
Caption 35, Rueda de la muerte Parte 1Play Caption
También hizo alguna película.
He also made a movie.Play Caption
|Él, ella, usted||va||iba||fue|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||van||iban||fueron|
Voy a la piscina los lunes y los miércoles.
I go to the pool on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Caption 7, Ariana Mi SemanaPlay Caption
iba mucho con mi padre al campo.
I used to go with my father to the countryside a lot.
Caption 56, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 10Play Caption
¿Por qué fuiste al cine?
Why did you go to the movies?Play Caption
You might have noticed that the preterite form of the verb ir is conjugated in the exact same way as the verb ser. However, in most cases, context should help you to easily identify which verb is in use.
Another great "trick" to be aware of is that adding an a plus a verb's infinitive to the verb ir is a very simple way of expressing what we are "going to" do and is, thus, an alternative to the future tense. Let's take a look:
Vamos a hablar de mi familia, ¿sí?
We are going to talk about my family, OK?Play Caption
porque las chicas iban a salir, para no dejarte sola.
because the girls were going to go out, so you wouldn't be alone.
Caption 11, Muñeca Brava 18 - La Apuesta - Part 2Play Caption
If we're going to talk about ir (to go), we'd better mention venir (to come)! Let's look:
|Él, ella, usted||viene||venía||vino|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||vienen||venían||vinieron|
yo vengo del sur de España
I come from the South of Spain
Caption 10, Carolina AcentosPlay Caption
¿Qué venía después?
What came next?
Caption 23, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 8 - Part 6Play Caption
Los otros cisnes vinieron hacia él
The other swans came toward him
Caption 50, Cleer El patito feoPlay Caption
The Spanish verb decir means "to say" or "to tell."
|Él, ella, usted||dice||decía||dijo|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||dicen||decían||dijeron|
Yo digo que Playa Balandra es el paraíso oficial;
I say that Balandra Beach is the official paradise;Play Caption
pero siempre me decía: ¡Mira! Mira eso allá,
but he always used to tell me: Look! Look at that over there,
Caption 42, Federico Kauffman Doig Arqueólogo - Part 1Play Caption
y la señorita me dijo algo completamente diferente.
and the lady told me something totally different.Play Caption
Since we often say or tell things "to" others, you will notice that the verb decir is quite typically accompanied by indirect object pronouns like me (to me), te (to you), etc. to indicate the person to whom something is said or told. You can learn more about this and other aspects of this verb in our lesson entitled The Spanish Verb Decir.
The verb poder means "to be able." It can be used alone to say simply "I can," "you could," etc. but is often used in conjunction with an infinitive verb to express what it is one "is able" to do. Let see it in action:
|Él, ella, usted||puede||podía||pudo|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||pueden||podían||pudieron|
¿Puedo ver el menú por favor?
Can I see the menu please?
Caption 12, Cata y Cleer En el restaurantePlay Caption
¿Por qué las cosas no podían ser sencillas?
Why couldn't things be easy?
Caption 31, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 10 - Part 5Play Caption
Gracias a su cola, pudieron volar.
Thanks to its tail, you were able to fly.Play Caption
To learn more about the verb poder and how it is used, we recommend the following lesson: The Verb Poder— Common Expressions.
This word means "to know," but, in its preterite form, can mean "to find out."
|Él, ella, usted||sabe||sabía||supo|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||saben||sabían||supieron|
pero no sé dónde!
but I don't know where!
Caption 28, NPS No puede ser 1 - El concurso - Part 3Play Caption
No sabía qué decirle.
I didn't know what to say to her.
Caption 12, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 1 - Part 9Play Caption
Nunca supe la verdad
I never found out the truth
Caption 2, Aleks Syntek IntocablePlay Caption
If we're going to converse in Spanish, we had better be able to say what we "want"! The verb querer can stand alone to express our desire for a particular thing or be used with an infinitive verb to say what we "want to do." Let's take a look:
|Él, ella, usted||quiere||quería||quiso|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||quieren||querían||quisieron|
porque realmente quiero mi propio baño.
because I really want my own bathroom.
Caption 37, Cleer y Lida Reservando una habitaciónPlay Caption
y algunos querían volver a su casa.
and some wanted to go back to their home.Play Caption
No me quiso decir su nombre.
She wouldn't tell me her name.
Caption 8, Yago 14 La peruana - Part 11Play Caption
Keep in mind that when the verb querer is used with no in the preterite, it can convey the idea that someone "wouldn't" do something or "refused to."
One more important aspect of the Spanish verb querer is that, when speaking about actions that we "want" others to do or that we "want" to happen, the subjunctive form of the verb that follows is required (vuelvas instead of vuelves in the following example):
Quiero que... que vuelvas a New York.
I want for... for you to come back to New York.
Caption 23, Yago 11 Prisión - Part 2Play Caption
|Él, ella, usted||da||daba||dio|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||dan||daban||dieron|
Yo doy agua a mi gato.
I give water to my cat.
Caption 14, Lecciones con Carolina Verbo - darPlay Caption
Adriana Espinel siempre daba unas respuestas tan profundas
Adriana Espinel always gave such deep answers
Caption 72, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 4 - Part 1Play Caption
Eh... Mi asistente me dio sus datos.
Um... My assistant gave me your information.Play Caption
Like the verb decir, the verb dar is often accompanied by indirect object pronouns to highlight the person to whom something is given.
And, to conclude our list of the Top 12 Spanish verbs for carrying on a conversation, we thought it would be a good idea to give you a verb to describe the things you observe!
|Él, ella, usted||ve||veía||vio|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||ven||veían||vieron|
Eh... ¿Cómo veo la vida?
Um... How do I see life?
Caption 79, Adícora, Venezuela El tatuaje de RosanaPlay Caption
¡Pero veíamos serpientes por todos lados!
But we saw snakes everywhere!Play Caption
Vimos una película.
We saw a movie.
Caption 14, Zulbani Trip to MeridaPlay Caption
Although it was certainly tough to narrow down the top 12 useful verbs in Spanish for carrying on a conversation, we hope you've enjoyed this lesson and that it helps you to hold a lot of stimulating conversations! Let us know with your suggestions and comments if there are any other verbs or topics you'd like to learn more about.
Generally speaking, we use the conditional tense in Spanish to talk about hypothetical things. However, we also use the conditional tense for polite requests or when we want to express wishes and desires. Let's take a look at some simple rules that will help you to master the conditional tense in Spanish.
Before talking about the uses of the conditinal tense, it is important to review how to conjugate it. Let's start with the regular verbs. For these verbs, you just need to take the infinitive form and add the conditional ending.
Let's take the verb hablar (to speak)
Yo hablaría (I would speak)
Tú hablarías (You would speak)
Él/Ella hablaría (He/She would speak)
Nosotros hablaríamos (We would speak)
Vosotros hablaríais (You would speak)
Ellos hablarían (They would speak)
Let's take the verb comer (to eat)
Yo comería (I would eat)
Tú comerías (You would eat)
Él/Ella comería (He/She would eat)
Nosotros comeríamos (We would eat)
Vosotros comeríais (You would eat)
Ellos comerían (They would eat)
Let's take the verb abrir (to open)
Yo abriría (I would open)
Tú abrirías (You would open)
Él/Ella abriría (He/She would open)
Nosotros abriríamos (We would open)
Vosotros abriríais (You would open)
Ellos abrirían (They would open)
There are several irregular verbs that are used all the time in the conditional tense. For these verbs, you need to keep in mind that they maintain the same stem that they have in the future tense. Let's see the conjugation for the verbs decir (to say) and hacer (to make).
Yo diría (I would say)
Tú dirías (You would say)
Él/Ella diría (He/She would say)
Nosotros diríamos (We would say)
Vosotros diríais (You would say)
Ellos dirían (They would say)
Yo haría (I would make)
Tú harías (You would make)
Él/Ella haría (He/She would make)
Nosotros haríamos (We would make)
Vosotros haríais (You would make)
Ellos harían (They would make)
In Spanish, it is quite common to use the conditional tense when you want to do any of the following:
¿Podrías por favor decirnos a los... a nuestros amigos de Yabla
Could you please tell us to the... to our friends from Yabla
en qué lugar están ustedes?
where you guys are?
Captions 66-67, Monsieur Periné - EntrevistaPlay Caption
¿Te gustaría volver a tu ciudad?
Would you like to return to your city?
Pues la verdad es que me encantaría volver a Málaga.
Well the truth is that I would love to go back to Málaga.
Captions 33-34, Clara y Cristina - SaludarPlay Caption
Bueno, si yo fuera tú, hablaría con él.
Well, if I were you, I would speak with him.Play Caption
Cuatro horas es demasiado.
Four hours is too much.
Creo que no llegaría a tiempo a la reunión.
I think that I would not arrive in time for the meeting.
Captions 30-31, Raquel - La Compra de un Billete de TrenPlay Caption
Y que nos juramos que esto nunca iría a pasar
And we vowed to each other that this would never happenPlay Caption
That's it for this lesson. We encourage you to write some sentences for the 5 different uses we mentioned for the conditional tense. And don't forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.
How many regular '-ir' verbs do you know in Spanish? Now that we have already talked about verbs ending in ‘-ar’ and verbs ending in '-er', it's time to take a look at the last main group of regular verbs. Again, keep in mind that we form regular verbs when we put together a verb stem and an infinitive ending. For example, the verb describir (to describe) is made with the verb stem 'describ' plus the infinitive ending '-ir'. With that being said, let's take a look at the following regular verbs ending in '-ir':
We know we have a regular verb when the verb stem doesn't change once it is conjugated. Do you want to see how that works in the simple present? Let’s use the verb abrir (to open) for this:
Abres el rombo, y el pico superior lo doblas hacia abajo.
You open the diamond, and the top point you fold downwards.
Captions 46-47, Manos a la obra - Separadores de libros: CharmanderPlay Caption
Now, let’s see how to conjugate a regular '-ir' verb in the simple past. Let's take the verb escribir (to write):
Gabriel García Márquez escribió muchos libros.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote a lot of books.Play Caption
It is worth noting that for the first person plural (nosotros), the conjugation of the verb is exactly the same in both the simple present and the simple past:
...pero cuando escribimos estas dos palabras.
...but when we write these two words.Play Caption
Now, let’s take one of the most common verbs in Spanish in order to see the conjugation of a regular ‘ir’ verb in the simple future:
...y que viviremos en un hogar agradable.
...and that we will live in a nice home.
Caption 55, Negocios - La solicitud de empleoPlay Caption
Unlike the simple present and past, the conjugation in the simple future leaves the verb as it is (vivir) only adding a different ending.
Let’s learn some more regular -ir verbs with the following sentences:
1. Aplaudir (to clap)
...o por ejemplo, en el flamenco se aplaude así.
...or for example, in flamenco one claps like this.
Caption 46, Marta de Madrid - El cuerpo - El troncoPlay Caption
2. Decidir (to decide)
De un momento a otro, decidió quedarse en Bogotá.
From one minute to another, she decided to stay in Bogota.
Caption 22, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capitulo 4Play Caption
3. Discutir (to discuss/argue)
Chica, sabes que yo no discuto con novatas después del mediodía.
Girl, you know that I don't argue with rookies after noon.
Caption 57, NPS No puede ser - 1 - El concursoPlay Caption
4. Subir (to climb/go up/increase)
Subimos la temperatura del depósito a ochenta grados.
We increase the temperature of the tank to eighty degrees.
Caption 25, Club de las ideas - BiodieselPlay Caption
5. Sufrir (to suffer)
Sufres, gritas, nadie te da nada
You suffer, you scream, nobody gives you anything
Caption 21, Club de las ideas - La motivaciónPlay Caption
That’s it for this lesson. Now that we have covered all the three groups of regular verbs, go ahead and try to write some sentences with verbs ending in -ar, -er and -ir. And don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.
Let’s talk about verbs. As we mentioned before, in Spanish language, all regular verbs belong to one of the following groups: verbs ending in ‘-ar’, verbs ending in ‘-er’ and verbs ending in ‘-ir’. Today, we will take a look at those verbs ending in ‘-er’.
Before that, however, let’s keep in mind that regular verbs are formed using the following formula: verb stem + infinitive ending. Let’s look at some of the most common regular ‘ER’ verbs in Spanish:
A verb is considered regular when the verb stem doesn’t change from the infinitive form to the conjugated form of the verb. Let’s take the regular verb aprender (to learn) and see its conjugation in the simple present. Notice how the stem stays the same but the endings vary:
Aquí aprenden a diseñar y confeccionar decorados.
Here they learn to design and make decorations.Play Caption
Now, let’s take the regular verb comer (to eat) and see how the conjugation works in the simple past:
Fuimos a pasear, comimos un helado.
We went for a walk, we ate an ice cream.
Caption 29, El Aula Azul - La Doctora Consejos - El pasadoPlay Caption
Let’s use a different verb to see the conjugation of a regular ‘er’ verb in the simple future. Let’s take the verb vender (to sell):
Mañana venderé mi casa.
Tomorrow, I will sell my house.
Let’s finish this lesson by learning more verbs with these 5 sentences using er verbs in Spanish:
1. Beber (to drink)
Yo bebo agua.
I drink water.Play Caption
2. Comprender (to comprehend / understand)
Ahora comprendo mejor la operación de mi padre.
Now I understand my father's operation better.
Caption 65, Club de las ideas - Lego Fest en SevillaPlay Caption
3. Correr (to run)
Corrió hacia la puerta y cuando el príncipe trató de seguirla...
She ran to the door and when the prince tried to follow her...
Caption 16, Cuentos de hadas - La CenicientaPlay Caption
4. Prometer (to promise)
Ayer os prometí que estudiaríamos hoy "aconsejar,"
Yesterday I promised you that today we would learn "to advise,"
Caption 1, Escuela Don Quijote - En el aulPlay Caption
5. Temer (to fear / be afraid of)
Pero ellos no le temen a nada.
But they are not afraid of anything.
Caption 23, Salvando el planeta Palabra - LlegadaPlay Caption
That’s it for this lesson. Now, a final challenge: Take one of the sentences we just mentioned and try to change it using a different person and a different verb tense. And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions.
Likewise, each infinitive verb is formed using the following formula:
Verb stem + infinitive ending.
Let’s look at some of the most common regular ‘AR’ verbs in Spanish:
Hablar (to speak) = Habl + ar
Comprar (to buy) = Compr + ar
Estudiar (to study) = Estudi + ar
A verb is considered regular when the verb stem doesn’t change from the infinitive form to the conjugated form of the verb. Let’s take the regular verb hablar (to speak) and see its conjugation in the simple present. Notice how the stem stays the same but the endings vary:
Yo hablo (I speak)
Tú hablas (You speak)
Él/Ella habla (He/She speaks)
Nosotros/as hablamos (We speak)
Vosotros/as habláis (You speak)
Ellos/as hablan (They speak)
... o cuando mis alumnos hablan español.
... or when my students speak Spanish.
Caption 84, Lecciones con Carolina - Adjetivos posesivosPlay Caption
Now, let’s take the regular verb comprar (to buy) and see how the conjugation works in the simple past:
Yo compré (I bought)
Tú compraste (You bought)
Él/Ella compró (He/She bought)
Nosotros/as compramos (We bought)
Vosotros/as comprasteis (You bought)
Ellos/as compraron (They bought)
¿Recuerdas el regalo que compré? -Mm-hm.
Do you remember the gift that I bought? -Mm-hm.
Caption 17, El Aula Azul - La Doctora Consejos - El pasadoPlay Caption
Let’s use a different verb to see the conjugation of a regular ‘AR’ verb in the simple future. Let’s take the verb estudiar (to study):
Yo estudiaré (I will study)
Tú estudiarás (You will study)
Él/Ella estudiará (He/She will study)
Nosotros/as estudiaremos (We will study)
Vosotros/as estudiaréis (You will study)
Ellos/as estudiarán (They will study)
La Comisaría de Pesca dice que estudiará la forma de pagar esa indemnización.
The Fisheries Commissioner says that she will evaluate the way to pay that compensation.
Caption 50, Europa Abierta - Aguas en discordiaPlay Caption
Take a look at the following list featuring some of the most used 'AR' verbs in Spanish:
Ahora puedo cantar.
Now I can sing.
Caption 36, Ariana Cita médicaPlay Caption
nos gusta bailar, nos gusta disfrutar,
we like to dance, we like to have fun,
Caption 34, Días festivos La diablada pillareña - Part 1Play Caption
In this example, the speaker also uses another -ar verb in Spanish: disfrutar (to have fun/to enjoy).
Y ahora, voy a bajar.
And now, I am going to go down.
Caption 15, Raquel Las direccionesPlay Caption
Comenzó a caminar sin rumbo fijo.
He began to walk with no particular destination in mind.
Caption 39, Aprendiendo con Carlos El microrrelato - Part 2Play Caption
Tengo que contestar esta llamada.
I have to answer this call.Play Caption
Me encanta descansar un poquito después del trabajo.
I love to rest a little bit after work.
Caption 21, Ariana Mi CasaPlay Caption
para entrar en nuevos mercados.
to enter into new markets.
Caption 6, Negocios Problemas laborales - Part 1Play Caption
Tómate un tiempo para escuchar,
Take some time to listen to,
Caption 17, Ana Carolina Mejorando la pronunciaciónPlay Caption
Ahora sólo me falta limpiar mi mesa de noche.
Now I just have to clean my nightstand.
Caption 27, Ana Carolina Arreglando el dormitorioPlay Caption
Now, a final challenge: take one of the verbs we just mentioned and try conjugating it in simple present, past and future. And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions.
Let's talk about pronouns. In English, when we talk with someone we use the second person singular pronoun ‘you’. In Spanish, we have three different options for that same pronoun: tú, usted and vos. Which one we use depends on things like the relationship that we have with the person we are talking to or the place where we are. Generally speaking, we use usted when we want to talk in a more respectful way with someone:
¿Usted qué... qué me recomienda, doctor?
What do you... what do you recommend to me, Doctor?Play Caption
However, if you are following the Colombian series Los Años Maravillosos, you have probably noticed that people usually use usted even when talking with family members or close friends. Why? That’s just how people speak in Bogota, Colombia:
¿Y a usted qué le pasa, mi hijito?
And what's going on with you, my little boy?
Caption 35, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 1Play Caption
Regardless of its use, there is something quite unique about using usted: we conjugate usted as we would conjugate él (he) or ella (she):
Él trabaja entre las nueve de la mañana
He works between nine in the morning
Caption 48, La casa - De ChusPlay Caption
¿Dónde trabaja usted?
Where do you work?
Caption 9, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricosPlay Caption
As you can see in the captions above, the conjugation of the verb trabajar (to work) with él (he) and usted (you) is exactly the same (trabaja), something that doesn’t occur with tú and vos:
Tú trabajas | You work
Vos trabajás | You work
Él/Ella/Usted Trabaja | He/She/You work
To wrap things up, we use usted as a second person singular pronoun. However, we conjugate it as a third person singular pronoun!
And don’t forget that this also occurs with the plural form ustedes (you all), which we conjugate as the third person plural pronoun ellos/ellas (they). Notice how ustedes and ellos share the same conjugation of the verb saber (to know) in the following captions:
Toda la vida he estado en el PAN, como ustedes saben, y he estado muy contento.
All my life I have been in PAN, as you know, and I have been very happy.
Caption 37, Felipe Calderón - PublicidadPlay Caption
Ellos saben de los sitios que son hábitat de reproducción,
They know about the places that are reproduction habitats,
Caption 31, Instinto de conservación - Parque TayronaPlay Caption
That's it for now. If you want to learn more things about the use of tú, usted, and vos, make sure to check out our series about Tuteo, Ustedeo y Voseo. And don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.
We all know that irregular verbs are tricky. Very often, however, we can take advantage of those special rules that make the learning process a bit easier. In this lesson, we will explore the past tense of the irregular verbs ser (to be) and ir (to go).
First of all, the good news: the verbs ser and ir share the same simple past conjugation! By simple past, we are referring to what is known in Spanish as pretérito perfecto simple or just pretérito (preterit). Let’s review the simple past conjugation of the verb ser:
Yo fui | I was
Tú fuiste | You were
Él/Ella fue | He/She was
Nosotros fuimos | We were
Vosotros fuisteis | You were
Ellos fueron | They were
Pensar que un día fui la respuesta
To think that one day I was the answer
Caption 15, Belanova - Tal vezPlay Caption
Aprendí que los primeros en hacer cómic fueron los aztecas.
I learned that the first ones to make comics were the Aztecs.
Captions 47-48, Antonio Vargas - Artista - ComicPlay Caption
And now, let’s take a look at the simple past conjugation of the verb ir:
Yo fui | I went
Tú fuiste | You went
Él/Ella fue | He/She went
Nosotros fuimos | We went
Vosotros fuisteis | You went
Ellos fueron | They went
Y sí, definitivamente fuimos a tomar un café, fuimos a cenar.
And yes, we definitely went for a coffee, went to dinner.
Caption 18, Enanitos Verdes - Luz de díaPlay Caption
¿Y te fuiste a vivir con tu novio con cuánto? -Con diecisiete.
And you went to live with your boyfriend when you were how old? -I was seventeen.
Caption 92, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 14Play Caption
We also use the simple past conjugation of the verb ir for the reflexive form irse (to leave):
Yo me fui de la casa cuando tenía nueve años.
I left home when I was nine years old.
Caption 41, La Sub30 - Familias - Part 5Play Caption
Desde aquel día que te fuiste, supe que eras para mí
From that day on which you left, I knew you were for me
Caption 1, Andy Andy - Maldito AmorPlay Caption
That's all for now. But before we leave, a short exercise for you: Write 10 sentences in simple past with the verb ser and 10 sentences with the verb ir. And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The verb decir (to say, to tell) is very common in Spanish. Let’s learn how to use it.
One of the most commonly used forms of this verb is digo (I say):
Pero si yo digo: Yo voy en el autobús y usted va en el coche,
But if I say: I am going in the bus and you [formal] are going on the car,
Captions 49-51, Fundamentos del Español - 6 - Tú y UstedPlay Caption
The verb decir is frequently followed by the word que (that):
Yo digo que la fruta es para comerla no para hacerse una fotografía con ella.
I say that fruit is to eat it not to take a picture with it.
Caption 48, Los Reporteros - Sembrar, comer, tirar - Part 2Play Caption
Also remember that in Spanish you don't always need to use personal pronouns before verbs, since these are conjugated differently for each person:
Pues entonces rejuvenece coger castañas. -Digo que sí.
Well then, it rejuvenates to pick chestnuts. -I say so.
Captions 18-19, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 4Play Caption
Another common instance of the verb decir is dice (he/she/it says). The reason why dice is very useful is because it helps us talk about what we read or hear. For example:
Hay un letrero en la puerta que dice que ya está cerrado | There's a sign on the door sayingit's closed already.
El mensaje dice que viene una gran tormenta | The message says a big storm is coming.
Mayra dice que te tienes que ir | Mayra says you have to go.
We mentioned before that it’s very common to omit personal pronouns before verbs in Spanish. But you will find that the verb decir is frequently preceded by reflexive, direct, or indirect object pronouns (me, te, se, nos, os, le, les, la, las, lo) depending on what is being said and to whom. For example:
¿Quién nos dice que la vida nos dará el tiempo necesario?
Who says [to us] life will give us the necessary time?
Caption 11, Julieta Venegas - El PresentePlay Caption
Supongamos que un amigo me dice lo siguiente:
Let's imagine that a friend tells me the following:Play Caption
It's also important to remember how pronouns are combined when using this verb. You must place reflexive or indirect object pronouns first, and then direct object pronouns right next to the verb. In the following example te replaces an indirect object (you) and lo (it) replaces a direct object:
Te lo digo de corazón.
I tell [it to] you from the heart.Play Caption
The past tense dijo (he/she/it said) is another useful form of this verb. For example, you can use it to talk about what someone told you in the past. The expression me lo dijo (he/she/it told it to me) is worth learning:
¡Es verdad, pana, mi hermano me lo dijo!
It's true, pal, my brother told it to me!
Caption 45, NPS No puede ser - 1 - El concurso - Part 3Play Caption
No le digas (don’t tell him/her) and no me digas (don’t tell me) are also useful:
¡No le digas, Candelario!
Don't tell him, Candelario!Play Caption
Another fixed expression is se dice (it's said, one says), which is equivalent to dice la gente(people say):
Bueno y se dice que la mujer tiene un sexto sentido
Well, and one says that a woman has a sixth sense
Caption 16, Club de las ideas - Intuición - Part 1Play Caption
The same phrase, se dice, can also be used to talk about the correct pronunciation of a word, or its meaning in a different language. For example:
Buenos días se dice "bonjour" en Francés | "Bonjour" is good morning in French.
No se dice "soy contento", se dice "estoy contento" | You don't say "soy contento," you say "estoy contento" (I'm happy).
You can find many more examples of the verb decir in our catalog. You just need to type the form of the verb that you want to practice in the search tool to start learning real Spanish from real speakers in real situations!
The Spanish verb llevar has many different meanings. It's also used in many idiomatic phrases. Let's study some examples since this is a very popular and useful verb.
The basic meanings of llevar is "to carry " or "to take":
Tengo que llevar a mi hijo al doctor - I have to take my kid to the doctor.
Ella lleva una carga muy pesada - She carries a very heavy burden.
Sometimes the verb llevar translates as "to bring":
No [te] olvides [de] llevar un regalo a la fiesta de Lucía / Don't forget to bring a gift to Lucia's party.
This can be a little confusing for English speakers, since traer and llevar actually mean opposite things in Spanish. The verb traer involves carrying something to the speaker's location, while llevar means to carry something from the speaker's location to a different place. So, to use the same example, if you are already at Lucía's party or, let's say, she is your roomie, you must say: No [te] olvides [de] traer un regalo a la fiesta de Lucía (Don't forget to bring a gift to Lucia's party).
But the verb llevar has many other interesting uses. For example, it's used to express the idea of having been doing something for a period of time. In this case, it's very common to combine llevar with the preposition ya (already):
Yo ya llevo veintitrés años aquí ya.
I have already been here for twenty-three years now.
Caption 65, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 18Play Caption
Llevar can also be used to express duration. This is easy to learn since English also uses "to take" for the same purpose:
tenemos que teñirlo, esto pues, nos lleva un ratito,
we have to dye it, this well, it takes us a little while,Play Caption
As you can see, this use of llevar frequently involves using reflexive pronouns. But you don't always need them. Compare, for example:
Hacer la tarea lleva mucho tiempo / Doing homework takes a lot of time.
Hacer la tarea me lleva mucho tiempo / Doing homework takes me a lot of time.
Llevar also means"to wear":
¿Por qué lleváis guantes?
Why do you wear gloves?
Caption 46, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 5Play Caption
By the way, the verb traer (to bring) is sometimes used the same way:
por eso... traen pantalones
that's why... they wear pants
Captions 47-48, El Ausente - Acto 2 - Part 3Play Caption
And the verb llevar also means "to lead." For example: ¿Llevas una vida saludable? (Do you lead a healthy life?).
Finally, there's an expression used in Mexico that derives from this last meaning: ahí la llevas. It literally means something like "there, you are leading it" but it means that the person speaking is telling you that you are doing your work well. It's very common to use this expression as an ironic remark that means exactly the opposite, so be careful:
No te rindas, hijo. Ahí la llevas. / Don't give up, son. You are doing well.
¿Otra vez borracho? Bueno, tú síguele. Ahí la llevas. / Drunk again? Well, keep going. You are on the right track... not.
Let's continue our series on the use of the verbs ser and estar, now focusing on some examples using the subjunctive to express wishes, or to refer to hypothetical situations. The present subjunctive for the first person singular yo (I) is esté for the verb estar and sea for the verb ser. Here're some examples of first person singular sea and esté:
Mamá quiere que [yo] sea doctor / Mom wants me to be a doctor.
Mi hermana piensa que es mejor que [yo] sea dentista / My sister thinks it's best for me to be a dentist.
Lola me pide que [yo] esté tranquilo / Lola asks me to be calm.
Imagino que es mejor que no [yo] esté preocupado / I imagine it's better for me not to beworried.
Note that it's very common to use the pronoun que (that) before the subjunctive. In fact, some Spanish speakers learn to conjugate the subjunctive altogether with this pronoun, like: que yo sea, que tú seas, etc. or que yo esté, que tú estés, etc. to differentiate it from the indicative.
The forms sea and esté are also used for the third person singular, which is very convenient since you can use it to talk about wishes or hypothetical situations pertaining to other people, things, and ideas. For example:
Entonces, para que sea una sorpresa también.
So, for it to be a surprise also.
Caption 12, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 10Play Caption
Quiero comprar un barco que sea capaz de... de hacer travesías largas.
I want to buy a boat that is capable of... of making long voyages.
Captions 72-73, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 20Play Caption
Y que ya no sea Belanova el grupo de bajo, computadora y voz.
So that Belanova won't be the group of the bass, computer and voice any longer.
Caption 13, Belanova - Entrevista - Part 4Play Caption
And with esté:
Ya la llamaremos cuando la doctora esté disponible.
We'll call you when the doctor is available.
Caption 42, Cita médica - La cita médica de Cleer - Part 1Play Caption
Son tres modos que se usan para pedirle a alguien que esté alerta.
There are three ways that are used to ask someone to be alert.Play Caption
Para que la aceituna esté en condiciones para envasar el lunes.
So that the olives are in condition for packing on Monday.
Caption 35, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 19Play Caption
Finally, there's a very common and useful expression that uses sea: o sea, which is used to clarify or explain something. This expression translates as "in other words," "meaning," and other similar phrases.
O sea, que te vas a quedar sin marido durante tres meses.
In other words, you are going to be without a husband for three months.
Caption 27, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 3Play Caption
Let's continue our series on the use of the verbs ser and estar, now focusing on how you can use soy (“I'm”—the first-person singular form of ser in the present tense) to talk about yourself.
The present tense of the verb ser (to be) is soy. You can use it combined with an adjective (or a participio—the -ado, -ido, -to, -so, -cho endings and their feminine and plural forms, used as an adjective) to express an intrinsic characteristic or status, a permanent state of mind, body, or soul.
For starters, you can use it to introduce yourself:
Soy Paco, de 75 Minutos. -Hola.
I'm Paco, from 75 Minutes. -Hello.
Caption 7, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 4Play Caption
You can also use soy to talk about your occupation, career, etc.
Yo soy guardia civil.
I am a Civil Guard.
Caption 33, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 12Play Caption
And you can use soy to talk about your personality, preferences, nationality, beliefs or affiliations. For example: Yo soy musulmán (I'm muslim), soy miembro del partido (|'m a member of the party), soy tu hada madrina (I'm your fairy godmother).
Soy buena clienta, sí. La verdad que sí.
I am a good customer, yes. I truly am.
Caption 2, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 7Play Caption
Yo soy bastante escrupulosa y no me da nada.
I am pretty fussy and it doesn't bother me at all.
Caption 21, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 7Play Caption
The verb soy can also be used to talk about a role, status, function, etc:
Tú eres testigo. -Yo soy testigo. -Tú eres testigo.
You're a witness. -I'm a witness. -You're a witness.
Caption 81, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 11Play Caption
We mentioned, in our previous lesson on the subject, that estoy can also be used to talk about roles when combined with the preposition de, so saying yo estoy de testigo is also correct. There are subtle differences, though, which sometimes get lost in translation:
Yo soy testigo - I'm a witness
Yo estoy de testigo - I'm (working as) a witness
It's perhaps at this point, when these verbs are combined with adjectives (or participios used as adjectives), that English speakers get the most confused about the difference between soyand estoy. It gets even more confusing because in many cases it may seem Spanish speakers use both verbs indistinctly. Here are some examples:
Yo soy casado - I'm (a) married (person).
Yo estoy casado - I'm married.
Yo soy gordo - I'm (a) fat (person).
Yo estoy gordo - I'm fat.
Yo soy pequeña - I'm (a) small (person).
Yo estoy pequeña - I'm small.
Sometimes, however, it's impossible to use them indistinctly. It happens more frequently when the verbs are combined with participios (-ado, -ido, -to, -so, -cho endings), which take estar much more easily than ser:
Yo estoy devastado - I'm devastated.
*Yo soy devastado - Incorrect, don't use it.
Yo estoy cansado - I'm tired.
*Yo soy cansado - Incorrect, don't use it.
Yo estoy herido - I'm wounded.
*Yo soy herido - Incorrect, don't use it.
Yo estoy muerto - I'm dead.
*Yo soy muerto - Incorrect, don't use it.
*It's interesting how this may be different while using other modes or tenses. For example both yo estuve herido and yo fui herido (I was wounded) are possible, given the right context. However, fui herido is actually far more common than yo estuve herido, which would need a special context to make proper sense, for example: Yo estuve herido sin recibir ayuda por 10 horas (I was wounded without receiving any help for 10 hours).
The verb soy is also frequently combined with prepositions. For example, when combined with the preposition de, the verb soy indicates origin. So, besides soy mexicano (I'm Mexican) you can also say soy de México (I'm from Mexico).
Typically, the verb soy is followed by articles, but estoy doesn't take articles. Compare these:
Soy el mejor (I'm the best), soy mejor (I'm better), and estoy mejor (I feel better) are correct, but never say estoy el mejor.
Soy tu padre (I'm your father), soy padre (I'm a father / also "I'm a nice person") and even estoy padre (I feel or look good) are correct, but you can't say estoy el padre.
Soy buena (I'm good), soy la buena (I'm the good one), estoy buena (I'm hot, good looking) are correct, but never say estoy la buena.
The same happens with pronouns. You won't find a pronoun naturally following the verb estar, except, maybe, when you want to reiterate the subject and change the natural order of words (hyperbaton) for emphatic or stylistic purposes: estoy yo tan triste (me, I feel so sad). Normally, you'd say estoy tan triste (I feel so sad). This could also be done with ser: soy yo tan triste (me, I'm such a sad person). But again, normally you'd just say soy tan triste (I'm such a sad person).
There are many other ways in which you can use the verb soy; these are just some of the most common ones.
How much you learn about the proper use of ser and estar (both meaning "to be") depends on your exposure to how real Spanish is spoken by real people. This lesson focuses on how a person can use estoy (“I'm” —the first-person singular form of estar in the present tense) to talk about himself or herself.
The present tense of the verb estar (to be) is estoy. You can use it combined with an adjective (or a participio—the -ado, -ido, -to, -so, -cho endings and their feminine and plural forms, used as an adjective) to express your current state of mind, body, or soul:
...Yo estoy listo ya... ¿Dónde está el perro?
...I'm ready now... Where's the dog?
Caption 108, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 5Play Caption
It's very common, for example, to use estar to talk about emotions, convictions, and beliefs:
Bueno, pero estoy muy contenta. Pasa.
Well, but I am very happy. Come in.
Caption 12, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 6Play Caption
Yo creo que sí. -Estoy convencido que poco a poco vamos a... a buscar alternativas.
I think so. -I am convinced that little by little we are going to... to look for alternatives.
Captions 64-65, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 5Play Caption
You can use any other regular adjective as well. Some examples are below:
Estoy limpio - I'm clean.
Estoy enferma - I'm sick.
Estoy sola - I'm lonely.
At this point it's useful to compare the possible meaning of similar phrases using ser instead of estar. Note how, by using ser instead of estar, the adjective becomes an intrinsic characteristic of the subject:
Soy limpio - I'm a clean person.
Soy enferma - Incorrect, it’s better to say soy una persona enferma "I'm a sick person," or even just estoy enferma (I’m sick), because this phrase can also mean “I’m a sick person” given the appropriate context.
Soy sola - Incorrect, it’s better to say soy una persona solitaria (I'm a lonely person).
You can combine estoy with the gerundio (-ando / -endo / -iendo endings) to talk about your actions, about what you are doing. The combination with haciendo, the gerundio of the verb hacer (to do) is very common:
Yo estoy haciendo el control de calidad del producto.
I'm doing the quality control of the product.
Caption 4, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 20Play Caption
But you can combine estoy with any other gerundio, for example cogiendo, the gerundio of coger (to grab, to pick):
Hasta que no palme estoy cogiendo castañas.
As long as I don't croak, I'm picking chestnuts.
Caption 6, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 5Play Caption
You can use estoy with a complement that denotes space to specify your location. The combination with an adverb of place is common:
Por eso estoy aquí, porque me han dicho...
That's why I am here because they have told me...
Caption 85, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 15Play Caption
And also with the preposition en (in):
Eh... Ahora mismo estoy en Málaga, estoy de vacaciones.
Um... Right now I'm in Malaga, I'm on vacation.
Caption 2, Arume - Málaga, España - Part 1Play Caption
The verb estoy can also be combined with certain prepositions to express a wide array of ideas. For example, you can use it with the preposition de to talk about your role or position in a certain context:
Eh, y... estoy de acuerdo con, con Denisse ahí,
Uh, and... I agree (literally, "I'm in accord") with, with Denisse there.
Caption 24, Belanova - Entrevista - Part 3Play Caption
No, luego, cuando acaba la campaña estoy de camarero.
No, after, once the season ends, I work as a waiter.
Caption 61, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 13Play Caption
Eh... Ahora mismo estoy en Málaga, estoy de vacaciones.
Um... Right now I'm in Malaga, I'm on vacation.
Caption 2, Arume - Málaga, España - Part 1Play Caption
You can combine the verb estoy with the preposition por and a verb in infinitive (-er, -ar, -irendings) to talk about what you are about to do:
Estoy por ganar el juego de scrabble.
I'm about to win the Scrabble match.
Estoy por terminar. Espérenme, por favor.
I'm about to finish. Please, wait for me.
You can use estar and the preposition para to talk about purpose, function, etc.
Aquí estoy para servir.
I'm here to serve.
Here's an interesting example from our catalog of videos:
o estoy para dirigir cine tal vez.
or maybe, I'm suited to direct a movie.
Caption 68, Arturo Vega - Entrevista - Part 1Play Caption
There are many other ways in which you can use the verb estoy; these are just some of the most common ones. For now, we recommend you practice these expressions, maybe try transforming them into the past or future tenses! Our next lesson in this series will focus on how soy (the first-person singular form of ser in the present tense) can be used to talk about oneself.
The Spanish verb asistir (to be present, to attend) has many different meanings depending on the context. Let's learn how to use this interesting verb.
The verb asistir derives from the latin assistĕre, which literally means "to stop next to," and that’s the basic meaning of this verb:
Para asistir a una reunión de trabajo.
To attend a business meeting.
Caption 4, Raquel - La Compra de un Billete de TrenPlay Caption
This verb is always accompanied by the preposition a. Here's another example using a conjugated form of the verb:
Así que, por primera vez en Animales en familia asistimos a una doble cirugía.
So, for the first time on "Animales en familia" ("Animals in the Family"), we witness a double surgery.
Captions 8-9, Animales en familia - La operación de YakiPlay Caption
As you can see in the example above, the verb asistir may have different translations. The following example uses the imperative form of the verb:
Así que, no dejes de formarte. Lee libros, asiste a seminarios.
So, don't stop educating yourself. Read books, go to seminars.
Captions 59-60, Raquel y Marisa - Español Para Negocios - Crear una empresaPlay Caption
In certain contexts the verb asistir means "to attend to," in which case it's very common to use the passive voice. The passive voice uses the participle asistido and the preposition por(by), as you can see in the following example:
La enfermera asiste al paciente / El paciente es asistido por la enfermera.
The nurse attends to the patient / The patient is attended by the nurse.
Additionally, asistir also means "to give help or assistance":
El principal rol de un asistente quirúrgico es asistir al cirujano durante una operación.
The primary role of a surgical assistant is to assist the surgeon during an operation.
As in English, the verb asistir is also used in sports to describe the act of enabling another player making a good play:
¡Messi asistió a Suárez sin siquiera tocar la pelota!
Messi assisted Suarez without even touching the ball!
Finally the verb asistir is used to express the idea of reason or law being on somebody's side:
Al demandate le asiste el derecho y la razón.
The plaintiff has the law and reason on his side.
The Spanish verb atender ("to serve," "to see to," "to attend to," among other uses) is a common source of confusion since it doesn't always mean what it sounds like it should to English speakers. Let's see some examples.
The verb atender meaning “to serve” or “to attend” can be very useful in any context that involves providing or receiving a service:
Quisiera saber si la doctora Castaño me podría atender hoy.
I would like to know if Doctor Castaño could see me today.Play Caption
Most of the time this verb is accompanied by the preposition a, but not always. In the following example, the preposition a was omitted:
Por el momento ustedes se pueden ir un rato a hablar con sus amigos, a atender la visita...
For the moment you can go for a while to talk with your friends, to serve your guests...
Caption 40, Cocinando con Miguelito - Pollo sudado - Part 2Play Caption
This can be done because the expression la visita is depersonalized. But it's very different when the object of the verb atender is an individual or group of individuals, in which case you must always use the preposition a:
Mi ocupación es atender a la gente.
My job is to serve people.Play Caption
The omission of the preposition a occurs more frequently when the verb atender means "to respond to," "to meet," "to answer to," or "to look after" something. For example:
Por ahí lo llamo, se da cuenta que soy yo, no atiende el teléfono.
I might call him, he realizes that it's me, he doesn't answer to the phone.
Caption 47, Yago - 10 Enfrentamientos - Part 6Play Caption
Y de pronto los que atienden [un] negocio...
And suddenly those who look after a business...
Caption 10, Festivaliando - Mono Núñez - Part 12Play Caption
You always need to use the preposition a before atender when it means "to pay attention.” In the following example, Raquel uses the contraction al (a + el):
No tendrás dudas si atiendes al contexto de lo que se dice.
You will have no doubt if you pay attention to the context of what is said.
Caption 14, Raquel - Diminutivos y aumentativosPlay Caption
The verb atender is also frequently combined with personal pronouns (used instead of direct and indirect objects):
Voy a tratar de dejarme que me atiendan, que me hagan lo que necesite.
I am going to try to let them take care of me, do to me whatever I need.
Caption 23, Transformación - EstéticaPlay Caption
It's also common to reiterate the object of the verb in these expressions, even when a pronoun has already been used. For example, it's not incorrect to say dejar que me atiendan a mí (let them take care of me). Saying Es mejor que el doctor la atienda a ella primero is as correct as saying Es mejor que el doctor la atienda primero (It's better if the doctor sees her first). Here's an interesting example:
No sé, como nervios [de] que lo atiendan a uno y sentirse tan bien atendido.
I don't know, like nerves that one is taken care of and to feel so well taken care of.
Caption 20, Transformación - EstéticaPlay Caption
¡Gracias por atender a esta lección!