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.
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.