Skip to Content

THE 10 MOST COMMON SPANISH VERBS & THEIR CONJUGATIONS

When beginning to learn any of the romance languages, one of the most important (and most difficult) steps for English speakers is memorizing verb conjugations. I mean, think about it. While English verbs may occasionally be irregular, our conjugations are pretty simple. Take the verb see, for example: 

  present past future
I see saw will see
you see saw will see
he/she/it sees saw will see
we see saw will see
they see saw will see

You’ll notice that for all subjects, the verb conjugation remains the same. In Spanish (and other romance languages), this is just not the case. So, today we are going to focus on 10 of the most common Spanish verbs. If you can at least memorize these 10, you’ll have a great start for improving your conversation skills. I’ve also made a PDF of these conjugations for you to download, print, and study. 

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE PDF

So, how did I decide which verbs are the most common in Spanish? A quick search using the CORPES database run by the Real Academia Española (RAE). The verbs I will mention are organized beginning with the most frequently used one according to the number of cases of this verb in the CORPES corpus.

For the purpose of not overloading you with information, today we will focus on the simple present, past (imperfecto and pretérito), and the simple future. Of course, as with any language, I’ll have a few outliers such as haber, where I’ll focus on different tenses.

1. SER – TO BE

  Presente Imperfecto Pretérito Futuro
yo soy era fui seré
eres eras fuiste serás
él, ella, ud. es era fue será
nosotros somos éramos fuimos seremos
[email protected], uds. son eran fueron serán

2. HABER – HAVE (AUX)/THERE IS/ARE

  Presente Imperfecto Futuro Condicional
yo he había habré habría
has habías habrás habrías
él, ella, ud. Ha, impersonal: hay había habrá habría
nosotros hemos habíamos habremos habríamos
[email protected], uds. han habían habrán habrían

HABER is a special verb in Spanish as it is used in two very particular cases:

  1. To mean “there is/are”, “there was/were”, “there will be”, or “there would be”.

EX: Hay tres piezas en mi casa.

      Había tres piezas en la casa.

      Habrá tres piezas en la casa.

      Habría tres piezas en la casa si agregáramos una.

  1. As an auxiliary verb + a past participle to form the Perfect Tense

EX: He trabajado mucho.

      Había trabajado mucho.

      Habré trabajado mucho después de terminar mi tarea.

      Habría trabajado mucho si tuviera más tiempo.

For this reason, I’ve included different conjugations.

3. ESTAR – TO BE

  Presente Imperfecto Pretérito Futuro
yo estoy estaba estuve estaré
estás estabas estuviste estarás
él, ella, ud. está estaba estuvo estará
nosotros estamos estábamos estuvimos estaremos
[email protected], uds. están estaban estuvieron estarán

4. IR – TO GO

  Presente Imperfecto Pretérito Futuro
yo voy iba fui iré
vas ibas fuiste irás
él, ella, ud. va iba fue irá
nosotros vamos íbamos fuimos iremos
[email protected], uds. van iban fueron irán

5. TENER – TO HAVE

  Presente Imperfecto Pretérito Futuro
yo tengo tenía tuve tendré
tienes tenías tuviste tendrás
él, ella, ud. tiene tenía tuvo tendrá
nosotros tenemos teníamos tuvimos tendremos
[email protected], uds. tienen tenían tuvieron tendrán

6. HACER – TO MAKE/DO

  Presente Imperfecto Pretérito Futuro
yo hago hacía hice haré
haces hacías hiciste harás
él, ella, ud. hace hacía hizo hará
nosotros hacemos hacíamos hicimos haremos
[email protected], uds. hacen hacían hicieron harán

7. PODER – CAN/TO BE ABLE TO

  Presente Imperfecto Pretérito Futuro
yo puedo podía pude podré
puedes podías pudiste podrás
él, ella, ud. puede podía pudo podrá
nosotros podemos podíamos pudimos podremos
[email protected], uds. pueden podían pudieron podrán

8. DECIR – TO SAY/TELL

  Presente Imperfecto Pretérito Futuro
yo digo decía dije diré
dices decías dijiste dirás
él, ella, ud. dice decía dijo dirá
nosotros decimos decíamos dijimos diremos
[email protected], uds. dicen decían dijeron dirán

9. VER – TO SEE

  Presente Imperfecto Pretérito Futuro
yo veo veía vi veré
ves veías viste verás
él, ella, ud. ve veía vio verá
nosotros vemos veíamos vimos veremos
[email protected], uds. ven veían vieron verán

10. DEBER – TO HAVE TO/MUST/SHOULD

  Presente Imperfecto Conditional
yo debo debía debería
debes debías deberías
él, ella, ud. debe debía debería
nosotros debemos debíamos deberíamos
[email protected], uds. deben debían deberían

DEBER is also a bit of a special verb as far as which conjugations you should be familiar with. This is because it translates into English as “should” or “must”. So, the most common conjugations you will hear are listed above: the present, imperfect, and the conditional.

Check out my favorite books on Spanish verbs below. Click to see inside!

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

I hope this helps with your language learning! Please comment below if you have any questions.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Marianne

Monday 4th of March 2019

Hello, I clicked over from your post in the Amazon Affiliates forum. You had trouble getting the custom ad to show in the post. I see that you have resolved the issue. I have exactly the same problem. How did you solve it?

Leah Shoup

Friday 8th of March 2019

Hi Marianne! My issue was because I use the "Autoptimize" plug in. If you happen to be experiencing the problem for this same reason, you can find the code you need to add before and after the ad code by googling!

Shirley

Monday 31st of December 2018

Am going to Ecuador. Why don’t I need vosotros?

Leah Shoup

Thursday 17th of January 2019

Vosotros is only used in Spain! So you won't need it anywhere else

Philip

Friday 10th of August 2018

Yes, I completely agree that learning without vosotros is easier and unless I end up going to Spain (and then I can add cosotros to my vocabulary) it is completely unnessessary.

Jessica J Jackson-Huertas

Friday 10th of August 2018

I love your website, except that you don't have vosotros. Vosotros is essential, especially for beginners, it gets them accustomed to it. I am a Spanish teacher, and I wanted to tell my students to use this website, because I like that you are studying and traveling at the same time. An adventurer. But not if you are excluding vosotros.

Leah Shoup

Friday 10th of August 2018

Hi Jessica! Thanks for checking out my website. This list is for Spanish beginners, and I find vosotros to be non-essential for them. In fact, I was never taught vosotros in school and have had no issues picking up on it after traveling to Spain. Most of my readers are from the United States and are much more likely to travel to Central and South America, so it would be confusing to tell them to learn vosotros when it's completely unnecessary for these areas of the world. If someone decides to travel to Spain, they should learn it, but I'm keeping my readers' regions in mind. That's why I don't include it, I'd rather not complicate it for beginners.

Denise

Monday 18th of June 2018

Hi. I would have liked examples of every use of the verbs as they apply. Also i understand by mexican natives here in Guadalajara that the spanish here is different than in Spain, Chili etc. Will these verbs apply the same here in MX? Can you refer me to a book with a quick learning with examples to memorize?

Leah Shoup

Friday 22nd of June 2018

Hi Denise! These verbs are very general and should apply the same everywhere. I recommend the 501 Spanish verbs book for you. There should be a link to it at the bottom of this post! Good luck :)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.