15 In Language learning/ Spanish

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: 

 presentpastfuture
Iseesawwill see
youseesawwill see
he/she/itseessawwill see
weseesawwill see
theyseesawwill 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

 PresenteImperfectoPretéritoFuturo
yosoyerafuiseré
ereserasfuisteserás
él, ella, ud.eserafueserá
nosotrossomoséramosfuimosseremos
[email protected], uds.soneranfueronserán

2. HABER – HAVE (AUX)/THERE IS/ARE

 PresenteImperfectoFuturoCondicional
yohehabíahabréhabría
hashabíashabráshabrías
él, ella, ud.Ha, impersonal: hayhabíahabráhabría
nosotroshemoshabíamoshabremoshabríamos
[email protected], uds.hanhabíanhabránhabrían

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

 PresenteImperfectoPretéritoFuturo
yoestoyestabaestuveestaré
estásestabasestuvisteestarás
él, ella, ud.estáestabaestuvoestará
nosotrosestamosestábamosestuvimosestaremos
[email protected], uds.estánestabanestuvieronestarán

4. IR – TO GO

 PresenteImperfectoPretéritoFuturo
yovoyibafuiiré
vasibasfuisteirás
él, ella, ud.vaibafueirá
nosotrosvamosíbamosfuimosiremos
[email protected], uds.vanibanfueronirán

5. TENER – TO HAVE

 PresenteImperfectoPretéritoFuturo
yotengoteníatuvetendré
tienesteníastuvistetendrás
él, ella, ud.tieneteníatuvotendrá
nosotrostenemosteníamostuvimostendremos
[email protected], uds.tienenteníantuvierontendrán

6. HACER – TO MAKE/DO

 PresenteImperfectoPretéritoFuturo
yohagohacíahiceharé
haceshacíashicisteharás
él, ella, ud.hacehacíahizohará
nosotroshacemoshacíamoshicimosharemos
[email protected], uds.hacenhacíanhicieronharán

7. PODER – CAN/TO BE ABLE TO

 PresenteImperfectoPretéritoFuturo
yopuedopodíapudepodré
puedespodíaspudistepodrás
él, ella, ud.puedepodíapudopodrá
nosotrospodemospodíamospudimospodremos
[email protected], uds.puedenpodíanpudieronpodrán

8. DECIR – TO SAY/TELL

 PresenteImperfectoPretéritoFuturo
yodigodecíadijediré
dicesdecíasdijistedirás
él, ella, ud.dicedecíadijodirá
nosotrosdecimosdecíamosdijimosdiremos
[email protected], uds.dicendecíandijerondirán

9. VER – TO SEE

 PresenteImperfectoPretéritoFuturo
yoveoveíaviveré
vesveíasvisteverás
él, ella, ud.veveíavioverá
nosotrosvemosveíamosvimosveremos
[email protected], uds.venveíanvieronverán

10. DEBER – TO HAVE TO/MUST/SHOULD

 PresenteImperfectoConditional
yodebodebíadebería
debesdebíasdeberías
él, ella, ud.debedebíadebería
nosotrosdebemosdebíamosdeberíamos
[email protected], uds.debendebíandeberían

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.

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15 Comments

  • Reply
    Marco
    April 27, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    Just a mistake I read. Haber as a impersonal verb (meaning there is, there are) doesn’t form a plural. Había is correct instead of habían* ; habría instead of habrían* in your examples. Cheers!

    • Reply
      Leah Shoup
      April 27, 2017 at 7:11 pm

      Marco, thanks for pointing that out! It’s actually so common in Chile that I’ve accepted it as normal, but it is technically incorrect!

  • Reply
    Philip
    February 2, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    Wow. Fantastic page! I will spend my studies simply memorizing (and trying to use) just these verbs for a few weeks. Thanks!

  • Reply
    SiSI
    February 28, 2018 at 4:36 pm

    Hey, cool article, but you’re missing Vosotros 🙂

  • Reply
    senor
    May 3, 2018 at 6:24 am

    where’s vosotros??

    • Reply
      Leah Shoup
      May 5, 2018 at 12:00 pm

      Hi there! I didn’t include vosotros because I find it unnecessary for beginners unless you are planning to live/travel long term to Spain!

  • Reply
    Denise
    June 18, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    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?

    • Reply
      Leah Shoup
      June 22, 2018 at 3:23 pm

      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 🙂

  • Reply
    Jessica J Jackson-Huertas
    August 10, 2018 at 5:44 am

    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.

    • Reply
      Leah Shoup
      August 10, 2018 at 8:45 am

      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.

  • Reply
    Philip
    August 10, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    Shirley
    December 31, 2018 at 8:30 pm

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

    • Reply
      Leah Shoup
      January 17, 2019 at 5:29 pm

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

  • Reply
    Marianne
    March 4, 2019 at 5:59 am

    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?

    • Reply
      Leah Shoup
      March 8, 2019 at 10:27 am

      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!

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