Introduction to Spanish verbs and Present Tense


In this topic we will look at some useful new Spanish verbs and learn the rules of how to use verbs in Present Tense.

In recent lessons we have been practicing using Ser, Estar, Tener, and Querer for all persons (Yo, Tú, Él, Ella, Nosotros/as, Vosotros/as, Ellos/as). Ser, Estar, Tener, and Querer are all verbs. Verbs are words that describe an action, state or occurrence and every sentence has one. We will now see some more common Spanish verbs and learn how to use them in the Spanish Present Tense.

Hablar: To speak
Trabajar: To work
Escuchar: To listen to
Comprar: To buy
Comer: To eat
Beber: To drink
Leer: To read
Comprender: To understand
Vivir: To live
Escribir: To write

Regular Verbs

All of these verbs are “regular” Spanish verbs in the present tense. “Regular verbs” are verbs that are all conjugated (endings changed) following the same rules. The majority of verbs are regular, but there are also irregular Spanish verbs which do not follow the same patterns. Learning the patterns of how to conjugate verbs is an important part of learning Spanish.

Present tense

We will begin by learning the patterns/conjugations for Spanish present tense with regular verbs. We aren’t going to talk about things in the future or past yet. Describing things in different tenses requires different patterns/conjugations and we will learn the rules for speaking in the future and past later in the course. Present tense is when we describe things that we usually/generally do. For example: Yo como pizza los martes (I eat pizza on Tuesdays) or Ella trabaja en una escuela (She works in a school).

Here are the rules of how to conjugate regular verbs in present tense:

(All Spanish verbs finish in -AR, -ER or –IR. With regular verbs you remove the final -AR, -ER, or -IR and add the correct ending for whichever person is doing the action of the verb.)

-AR endings:
-o: (Yo) Hablo (I speak) / Trabajo (I work) / Escucho (I listen) / Compro (I buy)
-as: (Tú) Hablas (you speak) / Trabajas (you work) / Escuchas (you listen) / Compras (you buy)
-a: (Él/Ella) Habla (he/she speaks) / Trabaja (he/she works) / Escucha (he/she listens) / Compra (he/she buys)
-amos: (Nosotros/as) Hablamos (we speak) / Trabajamos (we work) / Escuchamos (we listen) / Compramos (we buy)
-áis: (Vosotros/as) Habláis (you speak) / Trabajáis (you work) / Escucháis (you listen) / Compráis (you buy) (plural)
-an: (Ellos/as) Hablan (they speak) / Trabajan (they work) / Escuchan (they listen) / Compran (they buy)

-ER endings:
-o: (Yo) Como (I eat) / Bebo (I drink) / Leo (I read) / Comprendo (I understand)
-es: (Tú) Comes (you eat) / Bebes (you drink) / Lees (you read) / Comprendes (you understand)
-e: (Él/Ella) Come (he/she eats) / Bebe (he/she drinks) / Lee (he/she reads) / Comprende (he/she understands)
-emos: (Nosotros/as) Comemos (we eat) / Bebemos (we drink) / Leemos (we read) / Comprendemos (we understand)
-éis: (Vosotros/as) Coméis (you eat) / Bebéis (you drink) / Leéis (you read) / Comprendéis (you understand) (plural)
-en: (Ellos/as) Comen (they eat) / Beben (they drink) / Leen (they read) / Comprenden (they understand)

-IR endings:
-o: (Yo) Vivo (I live) / Escribo (I write)
-es: (Tú) Vives (you live) / Escribes (you write)
-e: (Él/Ella) Vive (he/she lives) / Escribe (he/she writes)
-imos: (Nosotros/as) Vivimos (we live) / Escribimos (we write)
-ís: (Vosotros/as) Vivís (you live) / Escribís (you write) (plural)
-en: (Ellos/as) Viven (they live) / Escriben (they write)

Little by little

This may seem a lot to take in at first glance, but you don’t have to try to learn everything right away. Give yourself time and aim to practice steadily, little by little. Practice saying and writing sentences for the first person Yo/I initially and see how you get on conjugating the regular verbs we have seen here. Once you get a bit more confident, try conjugating sentences using Tú/You. And remember the great positive that once you remember these patterns you are able to apply them to a vast range of different scenarios. You will need to learn or look up more regular verbs, but once you know the verb, you can be sure on how to conjugate it. We will practice lots with these same rules in upcoming topics.

Some students find it helpful to have a simplified version of the conjugation pattern:

Yo: -o
Tú: -as/-es
Él/Ella: -a/-e
Nosotros/as: -amos/-emos/-imos
Vosotros/as: -áis/-éis/-ís
Ellos/Ellas: -an/-en


Play the audio below and practice your pronunciation by repeating with Laura.



Hablar: To speak
Trabajar: To work
Escuchar: To listen to
Comprar: To buy
Comer: To eat
Beber: To drink
Leer: To read
Comprender: To understand
Vivir: To live
Escribir: To write


Play the audio below and try to follow the conversation. Please listen at least twice before checking the transcript.



Carmen: Hola Tom
Tom: Hola Carmen. ¡Cuánto tiempo sin verte! ¿Vives aquí?
Carmen: Sí, vivo en la calle Mayor. ¿Y tú?
Tom: Yo vivo en la calle Romero. Mi hermana y su novio viven en la calle Mayor como tú.
Carmen: ¿Ah sí?
Tom: Sí. Mi hermana trabaja en el restaurante Mirasol en la calle Mayor.
Carmen: Yo como en ese restaurante a veces. ¿En qué trabaja tu hermana?
Tom: Es cocinera.
Carmen: Me gusta mucho la comida del restaurante de tu hermana.
Tom: ¿Sí? Pues mi hermana escribe el menú. Es muy buena cocinera.
Carmen: ¿Comemos allí algún día?
Tom: Vale. ¿Hoy?
Carmen: Sí vale. Vamos.


Open the text below and try to follow what is written. Please read at least twice before checking the translation.


Carlos: Hola Maya, ¿qué tal?
Maya: Bien, gracias Carlos, ¿y tú?
Carlos: Yo, bien. ¿Qué lees?
Maya: El Quijote, de Miguel de Cervantes.
Carlos: ¿Por qué lees esto? Don Quijote de la Mancha es un libro muy largo. Y aburrido también, ¿no?
Maya: ¡Qué dices! De ningún modo. Es un clásico por muy buenas razones. Es muy divertido y extremadamente imaginativo. También fue la primera novela. ¿Qué escuchas?
Carlos: En este momento, David Bowie. Pero normalmente no escucho ese tipo de música. Mi música favorita es el jazz.
Maya: ¿Escuchas a Herbie Hancock y Miles Davis? ¿John Coltrane? ¿Thelonious Monk?
Carlos: Por supuesto. Son los clásicos del jazz.
Maya: Yo no comprendo el jazz. Suena todo igual.
Carlos: A ti te gusta leer ¿Escribes también Maya?
Maya: Sí a veces. Trabajo en una biblioteca entonces sé bastante de libros y leo mucho. Normalmente no escribo muy a menudo pero estoy escribiendo una historia corta ahora.
Carlos: ¡Qué bien! ¿Sobre qué es?
Maya: Es una historia de misterio.
Carlos: Yo trabajo en una tienda de música. Vendemos instrumentos y partituras. Hablo mucho sobre jazz con los clientes.
Maya: ¡Tenemos los trabajos perfectos!


Carlos: Hello Maya, how are you?
Maya: Well, thank you Carlos, what about you?
Carlos: I am well. What are you reading?
Maya: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes.
Carlos: Why are you reading this? Don Quixote de la Mancha is a very long book. And isn’t it boring as well?
Maya: What are you saying! No way. It is a classic for very good reasons. It is very funny and extremely imaginative. It was also the first novel. What are you listening to?
Carlos: Right now, David Bowie. But normally I don’t listen to that kind of music. My favourite music is jazz.
Maya: Do you listen to Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis? John Coltrane? Thelonious Monk?
Carlos: Of course. They are the classics of jazz.
Maya: I don’t understand jazz. It all sounds the same.
Carlos: You like to read. Do you also write Maya?
Maya: Yes sometimes. I work in a library so I know a lot about books and I read a lot. I don’t usually write very often but I’m writing a short story at the moment.
Carlos: That’s great! What is it about?
Maya: It’s a mystery story.
Carlos: I work in a music store. We sell instruments and musical scores. I talk a lot about jazz with customers.
Maya: We have the perfect jobs!


Open the questions below and answer them in writing using the box provided. Check the answers afterwards to see how you got on.


Please write one sentence in the present tense using each of the following verbs:

1. Hablar: To speak
2. Trabajar: To work
3. Escuchar: To listen to
4. Comprar: To buy
5. Comer: To eat
6. Beber: To drink
7. Leer: To read
8. Comprender: To understand
9. Vivir: To live
10.Escribir: To write


Possible answers:

  • Yo hablo inglés, español y un poco de francés.
  • Mi hermano trabaja en Londres y odia su trabajo.
  • Mi padre escucha mucha música clásica


Play the audio below and respond to the questions Laura asks you. Check the answers afterwards to see how you got on.



1. To eat
2. To work
3. To write
4. To understand

1. Hablar
2. Vivir
3. Beber
4. Leer