Spanish Grammar

The Present Indicative in Spanish

The present indicative in Spanish is the first verb tense a student encounters on Spanishviaskype.com. With the present tense, a speaker can form his or her first sentences. Let’s see how this tense is formed.

How to Form the Present Indicative in Spanish

To form the present indicative in Spanish we must keep in mind that there are a large number of irregular verbs. This makes it especially difficult for a student who begins to study a Romance language for the first time. We will start by learning the regular verbs.

How Regular Verbs Are Formed

To form a verb in the present indicative in Spanish we must look at the ending of the infinitive (-ar, -er, -ir). We will remove that ending and get the verb stem (hablar > habl). We will add the specific endings for each person to that stem (yo habl + o).

Regular verbs in the present indicative in Spanish

How Irregular Verbs Are Formed

There is a great variety of irregularities in the present indicative in Spanish. We are going to study them in different groups, depending on the pattern they follow. We will start with irregular verbs only in the first person.

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Irregular Verbs in the Person “Yo”

There are verbs that are irregular only in the first person singular (yo). To conjugate those verbs we only need to learn the yo stem and conjugate the rest of the persons like regular verbs. Now, we will look at the first person singular of some of these verbs:

  • Hacer = hago
  • Poner = pongo
  • Dar = doy
  • Saber = sé
  • Salir = salgo
  • Ver = veo
  • Traer = traigo
  • Coger = cojo
  • Conocer = conozco

Irregular Verbs with Vowel Changes

Some verbs suffer a change in a vowel of their stem in the present indicative in Spanish. This irregularity is repeated in all persons except nosotros/as and vosotros/as. We can classify these verbs in three large groups:

Irregular verbs with stem changing in the present indicative in Spanish

Here is a list of other verbs with a vowel change.

  • e > ie: servir, querer, comenzar, empezar, perder, preferir, sentir, recomendar…
  • o > ue: costar, dormir, morir, encontrar, doler, llover, poder, mostrar, volar…
  • e > i: repetir, elegir, servir, pedir, seguir, vestir, reír, corregir, medir…

Some verbs like jugar or adquirir have irregularities similar to the previous ones: jugar > juego and adquirir > adquiero.

Mixed Irregular Verbs: First Person and Vowel Change.

Other verbs share irregularities in the present indicative in Spanish. The first person singular modifies its stem and, at the same time, the rest of the persons has a vowel change (except nosotros/as and vosotros/as).

Mixed irregular verbs in the present indicative in Spanish

Highly Irregular Verbs in the Present Indicative in Spanish

Finally, we are going to look at a group of verbs that do not fit any of the previous patterns. Interestingly, some of them are among the most commonly used verbs in Spanish.

Other irregular verbs in the present indicative in Spanish

When to Use the Present Indicative

The present indicative in Spanish is considered an “unmarked” verb tense. This means that it can be used in many situations, even in tenses that do not correspond to it. Let’s look at some of these uses:

  • Frequent actions: Normalmente como con mi familia en casa.
  • Descriptions: El examen DELE A1 es muy fácil.
  • Actions at the moment of speaking: ¿Qué canción suena?
  • Near future: Mañana tengo una clase de conversación.
  • Actions in the past: El hombre llega a la Luna en 1969.

As you can see, the present indicative in Spanish is very useful for elementary level students. Only with this tense, you can express many ideas; however, its conjugation is not easy. If you want to learn more irregular verbs or practice them with a teacher, reserve a class with us. If you want to try it first, book a trial lesson on Spanishviaskype and start speaking Spanish on Skype from day one.

Infography about the present indicative in Spanish