The Present Simple Tense - regular verbs
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  Verb Tenses  
    An introduction to verbs & personal pronouns  
    Verbs - Ser (to be) Estar (to be)  
    The present simple tense - regular verbs (I am)  
    The present simple tense - irregular verbs (I am)  
    The past simple tense - regular verbs (I was)  
    The past simple tense - irregular verbs (I was)  
    The imperfect tense - all verbs (I used to)  
    The future tense - all verbs (I will be)  
    The continuous tenses (I am going)  
    The perfect tenses - regular and irregular verbs  
    The conditional tense - regular and irregular verbs  
    The present subjunctive tense  
    The past subjunctive tense (If I were to)  
    The infinitive tense (verbs in their original forms - to be)  
    The imperative tense (command verbs - go / stay etc)  
    'Haber' with the conditional and past subjunctive tenses  
  More About Verbs  
    Reflexive verbs - Part 1  
    Reflexive verbs - Part 2  
    The 'Gerund' (the equivalent of forming 'ing...' verbs)  
    'Gustar' and similar verbs - A different way of using verbs  
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    Articles - definite / indefinite ('the' and 'a' in English)  
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    Nouns - Part 1 - (Masculine or feminine?)  
    Nouns - Part 2 - (Gender and forming plural nouns)  
  All About Adjectives  
    Adjectives - (Agreement and word order)  
    Adjectives - (Comparative and superlative)  
  All About Pronouns  
    Pronouns - object pronouns (direct / indirect)  
  Adjectives & Pronouns  
    Adjectives and Pronouns (demonstrative)  
    Adjectives and Pronouns (possessive)  
    Adjectives and pronouns (indefinite)  
  All About Adverbs  
    Adverbs - Part 1 - (words ending in -ly in English)  
    Adverbs - Part 2 - (Other forms / making comparisons)  
    An introduction to prepositions and relative pronouns  
    Prepositions - A comprehensive list with examples  
    Conjunctions - linking words  
  Questions & Negatives  
    Questions and negatives (question words)  

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Video Lessons
Summary of Lesson
Defining what present tenses are. When to use the present simple tense.
Looking at how AR / ER and IR regular verbs are formed in the present simple tense.
Comparing the present simple tense in English and Spanish and looking at the differences.
  What you can learn from this lesson
An understanding of what present tenses actually are. To identify common situations when the present simple tense is used in everyday speech.
To understand the differences in usage of the present simple tense between English and Spanish.
To recognise and understand what happens to the structure of regular present simple tense verbs when conjugated.
Being able to identify and apply the common formation patterns of all present simple tense regular verbs.
Berlitz Spanish
Rocket Spanish



What is the present tense? This first part of the lesson explains what the present tense is and when it is commonly used.


The present tense in both Spanish and English is actually made up of a number of different tenses. In this lesson we are looking specifically at the present simple tense. The examples below give a quick reference to the different present tenses that exist and which are explained in more detail in other lessons.

(Yo) fumo. I smoke. present simple
(Yo) estoy fumando I am smoking. present continuous.
(Yo) he fumado. I have smoked. present perfect.
(Yo) he estado fumando. I have been smoking. present perfect continuous.
Él quiere que yo fume. He wants me to smoke, or more literally, he wants that I should smoke. present subjunctive
Si yo haya fumado. If I should have smoked. present perfect subjunctive.


Present tenses are generally used to talk about things that are true at the time of speaking or things that are actually happening now. The subjunctive present tense refers to these things in a conditional manner.


When do we use the present simple tense?


1) When we talk about things that are generally true.


- Ellos hablandemasiado. (They talk to much.)

- Vosotros cantáis bien. (You (all) sing well.)

- Él toma mucho. (He drinks a lot.)


2) When we talk about things that are true at the moment of speaking.


- Estoy gordo.(I am fat.)

- Es muy brillante. (It’s very bright.)

- Estamos acá. (We are here.)


3) When we talk about things that occur at intervals.


- A veces (yo) como queso. (Sometimes I eat cheese.)

- A menudo vamos al parque. (We go to the park from time to time.)

- (Yo) le veo frecuentemente. (I see him frequently.)


4) When we talk about things we do as a habit.


- Cesar lleva gafas. (Cesar wears glasses.)

- Maria camina lentamente. (Maria walks slowly.)

- Marco es muy flojo. (Marco is very lazy.)




Part two of the lesson looks at how regular verbs are formed in the present simple tense.


Note:  it is normally not necessary to use personal pronouns with verbs, although when first learning Spanish it is probably a good idea to include them. (yo/ tú/ él/ ella/ nosotros/as/ vosotros/as / ellos / ellas/ ustedes). The formation of the verb itself will usually make it clear what the personal pronoun should be. See the lesson on verbs and personal pronouns for more details.


1) Caminar ­ to walk

personal pronoun stem ending complete
yo camin o camino
camin as caminas
él/ella/usted camin a camina
nosotros/nosotras camin amos caminamos
vosotros/vosotras camin áis camináis
ellos/ellas/ustedes camin an caminan


2) Comer ­ to eat

personal pronoun stem ending complete
yo com o como
com es comes
él/ella/usted com e come
nosotros/nosotras com emos comemos
vosotros/vosotras com éis coméis
ellos/ellas/ustedes com en comen


3) Vivir ­ to live

personal pronoun stem ending complete
yo viv o vivo
viv es vives
él/ella/usted viv e vive
nosotros/nosotras viv imos vivimos
vosotros/vosotras viv ís vivís
ellos/ellas/ustedes viv en viven


You should notice that:


1-     The verb stems never change.

2-     The AR, ER and IR endings are replaced with a new ending.

3-     A tilde, (á é í ) is used in the vosotros/as forms.


When talking about nouns, people, animals or things you should use the verb formation relating to the third person singular (él/ella/usted), or the third person plural, (ellos/ ellas/ ustedes). In these situations it is not necessary to use the personal pronoun. This is the same as you would expect in English. Here are some examples.


Felix come (third person singular), mucho. = Felix eats a lot.
Felix y Maria caminan (third person plural), mucho. = Felix and Maria walk a lot.
Mi perro vive (third person singular), en el jardín. = My dog lives in the garden.
Los perros viven (third person plural), en el jardín. = The dogs live in the garden.


Never use a personal pronoun when referring to things. In English ‘it’ or ‘they’ is used. Here are some examples:

brilla it shines
brillan they shine
funciona it works
funcionan they work




The third part of this lesson looks at some of the differences between how the present simple tense is used in Spanish and how it is used in English.


Generally speaking the present simple tense is used in the same way in both English and Spanish. The examples given in part one of the lesson illustrate this.  However there are some situations where the present simple tense is used in Spanish but not in English. Some present simple phrases in Spanish may be translated into English using other present tenses or sometimes not with the present tense at all:


1) Frequently when using the word desde (since).


Karla fuma desde siempre. (Karla has always smoked ­ present perfect used in English.)

Carlos vive allá desde 2004. (Carlos has lived there since 2004 ­ present perfect used in English.)


2) Frequently when using the word desde (for).


(Yo) como aquí desde hace seis meses. ­ (I have been eating here for six months ­ present perfect continuous used in English.)

Ellos trabajan aquí desde hace cinco años. ­ (They have been working here for five years ­ present perfect continuous used in English.)



3) When using the word llevar (to take, carry, wear). In this example the meaning llevar is used as an expression of time.


(Yo) llevo tres horas esperando por ti.- (I have been waiting three hours for you ­ present perfect continuous used in English.)


4) When talking about activities that may be going on in general but not at the specific moment of speaking.


Él escribe un libro. (He’s writing a book - present continuous used in English.)

Ellos hacen una ley Nueva. (They are making a new law - present continuous used in English.)


That concludes the lesson on the present simple tense with regular verbs. If you have not done so already watch the actual video for this lesson and then try one of the associated quizzes to test your understanding.

The Present Simple Tense - regular verbs
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