Spanish Present Tense
Language Resources

The present tense is the most frequently used tense in Spanish and functions quite similarly to the English present tense. The present tense is employed to express many things; mainly, it is used to describe something that is happening either right now (the train is leaving) or in the near future (the train leaves in an hour), to express a general truth (the train is comfortable) or to describe a habitual action (I take the train to work every week).

It is also important to keep in mind that in English there are more ways to express an action in the present than in Spanish. For example:

I drink.
I am drinking.
I do drink.
Yo bebo.

Spanish Present Tense: -ar, -er and -ir verbs

As we covered in the section on Spanish verbs, all Spanish verbs end in one of the following ways:

  • -ar (examples: amar, asar, borrar, estudiar, hablar, jugar, saltar, tomar)
  • -er (beber, comer, comprender, leer, temer, vender)
  • -ir (mentir, pedir, sentir, subir, vivir)

Regular verbs (we'll leave the irregular verbs for later) follow the same pattern as other verbs with which they share endings. The root of the verb (the part up until the -ar, -er or -ir) stays the same, while the ending is replaced according to the subject.


The root for SALTAR is "salt-" and the root for AMAR is "am-". See how the endings change:

Subject-AR verb endings SALTAR (to jump)
AMAR (to love)
yo (I) -osalto (I jump)
amo (I love)
(you) -assaltas (you jump)
amas (you love)
él/ella (he / she) -asalta (he / she jumps)
ama (he / she loves)
nosotros/as (we) -amossaltamos (we jump)
amamos (we love)
vosotros/as (you all)-áissaltáis (you jump)
amáis (you love)
ellos / ellas (they) -ansaltan (they jump)
aman (they love)


The root for COMER is "com-" and the root for COMPRENDER is "COMPREND-". See how the endings change:

Subject-ER verb endings COMER (to eat)
COMPRENDER (to understand)
yo (I) -ocomo (I eat)
comprendo (I understand)
(you) -escomes (you eat)
comprendes (you understand)
él/ella (he / she) -ecome (he/she eats)
comprende (he/she understands)
nosotros/as (we) -emoscomemos (we eat)
comprendemos (we understand)
vosotros/as (you all)-éiscoméis (you eat)
comprendéis (you understand)
ellos / ellas (they) -encomen (they eat)
comprenden (they understand)


The root for VIVIR is "viv-" and the root for SUBIR is "sub-". See how the endings change:

Subject-IR verb endings VIVIR (to live)
SUBIR (to go up)
yo (I) -ovivo (I live)
subo (I go up)
(you) -esvives (you live)
subes (you go up)
él/ella (he / she) -evive (he/she lives)
sube (he/she goes up)
nosotros/as (we) -imosvivimos (we live)
subimos (we go up)
vosotros/as (you all)-ísvivís (you all live)
subís (you all go up)
ellos / ellas (they) -enviven (they live)
suben (they go up)