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Spanish Compound Tenses ~ Tiempos compuestos

Spanish verb conjugations can be divided into two categories: simple tenses and compound tenses.
Simple tenses have only one part (yo como) whereas compound tenses have two (yo estoy comiendo). Spanish compound tenses
can be subdivided into two categories: progressive tenses and perfect tenses. Compound tenses are obviously more complicated than
simple tenses - this lesson will explain what you need to know about them.
But first, a chart of the three kinds of Spanish tenses. The simple tense on the left is the conjugation for the auxiliary verb of the
compound tenses in the middle and right columns:

Simple Tenses

Compound Tenses*
Perfect Tenses

Progressive Tenses

Present

Present perfect

Present progressive

Imperfect

Pluperfect

Imperfect progressive

Preterite

Preterite perfect

Past progressive

Future

Future perfect

Future progressive

Conditional

Conditional perfect

Conditional progressive

Subjunctive

Present perfect subjunctive

Imperfect subjunctive

Pluperfect subjunctive

Future subjunctive

Infinitive

Perfect infinitive

Present Tense ~ El Presente


The Spanish present tense, called el presente, is quite similar in usage to the English present tense.
El presente is used to express:
I.

Current actions and situations

Estoy listo.
Vamos al mercado.
II.

I am ready.
We are going to the market.

Habitual actions
Voy a la escuela todos los das.
Veo una pelcula los sbados.

III.

I go to school every day


I see a movie on Saturdays.

Absolute and general truths


La tierra es grande.
La escuela es importante.

IV.

The earth is big.


School is important.

Actions which will occur in the near future


Voy al mercado lunes.
Ana llega a las dos.

V.

I'll go to the store Monday.


Ana's arriving at two.

Conditions in si clauses
Si puedo, ir contigo.

If I can, I will go with you.

El presente has three different English equivalents. The English helping verbs to be and to do are not translated into the Spanish
present tense.
I eat
I am eating
I do eat

Yo como.

If you want to emphasize the fact that something is happening right now, you can use the present progressive:
I am eating (right now)

Estoy comiendo.

I'm in the process of eating

Imperfecto - Spanish Imperfect


The imperfect tense is used to talk about a past action or state of being without specifying when it began or ended. It is often equivalent
to "was ___-ing" in English. The Spanish imperfect can also express repeated actions in the past - equivalent to "used to" in English.
Dnde estabas ayer?

Where were you yesterday?

Quera ir al cine.

I wanted to go to the movies.

Ella lea el peridico.

She was reading the newspaper.

Partais?

Were you leaving?

No tenan tiempo de estudiar.

They didn't have time to study.

Llova anoche?

Did it rain last night?

Bailbamos todos los das.

We used to dance every day.

The imperfecto and pretrito are often confusing for Spanish students - learn the difference.

El Pasado - Pretrito vs Imperfecto - Spanish Past Tenses


One of the most striking differences between Spanish and English is in verb tenses. For English speakers, learning how to use the
various past tenses in Spanish can be very tricky (and vice versa), because English has several tenses which either do not exist or do
not translate literally into Spanish.
Anyone who has studied Spanish is aware of the troublesome relationship between the pretrito and imperfecto. The imperfecto (yo
hablaba) translates to the English imperfect (I was talking) while the pretrito (yo habl) literally translates to the English simple past (I
talked) but can also be translated as the English present perfect (I have talked) or the emphatic past (I did talk).
It is extremely important to understand the distinctions between pretrito and imperfecto in order to use them correctly and thus express
past events accurately.
The pretrito indicates
I.

A single event
Fui a Espaa el ao pasado - I went to Spain last year.
Visit Barcelona el sbado - I visited Barcelona on Saturday.

II.

One or more events or actions that began and ended in the past
Fui a Espaa - I went to Spain.
Visit unos museos - I visited some museums.

III
.

An event that occurred, interrupting another action (see imperfecto III below)
...cuando me dijeron la verdad - ... when they told me the truth.
...cuando mi hija naci - when my daughter was born.

IV.

Changes in an existing physical or mental state at a precise moment or for a particular isolated cause
Tuve miedo cuando vi el perro - I was scared when I saw the dog.

The imperfecto is used for


I.

A habitual or repeated action


Iba a Espaa cada ao - I went (used to go) to Spain every year.
Visitaba mucho la Sagrada Familia - I often visited la Sagrada Familia.

II.

An ongoing action with no specified completion


Iba a Espaa - I was going to Spain.
Visitaba unos museos - I was visiting museums.

III
.

Description/background information; set the scene of how things were or what was happening when there was an
interruption (see pretrito III above)
Viva en Costa Rica cuando... - I was living in Costa Rica when...
Estaba en mi cama cuando... - I was in bed when...

IV.

General description of physical or mental states of being


Tena miedo de perros - I was afraid of dogs.

V.

Expression of the time of day or age in the past


Eran las cinco de la maana - It was five a.m.
Era sus cumpleaos; tena doce aos - It was his birthday; he was twelve.

Thus the imperfecto is normally used for descriptions of the past, while the pretrito narrates specific events. In addition, the
imperfecto often sets the stage for an event expressed with the pretrito.
Compare the following passages:
Imperfecto: Cuando tena dieciocho aos, quera ser arquitecto. Me gustaba mucho la obra de Antoni Gaud y esperaba comprender su
genio.
When I was eighteen, I wanted to be an architect. I really liked Antoni Gaud's work and I hoped to understand his genius.
Pretrito: Decid estudiar en Espaa e hice los formularios de inscripcin, pero las universidades no me admitieron. Conoc a un pintor y
comenc a estudiar con l.
I decided to study in Spain and filled out the application forms, but the universities did not admit me. I met a painter and started
studying with him.
The following list of key words and phrases may help you figure out whether to use imperfecto or pretrito.
Imperfecto: normalmente - usually, de vez en cuando - from time to time, antes - formerly, todos los das - every day, los lunes - on
Mondays.
Pretrito: una vez - once, dos veces - twice, tres/cuatro/etc. veces - three/four/etc. times, muchas veces - several times, ayer yesterday, un da - one day, el lunes - on Monday, bruscamente - suddenly, de repente - all of a sudden.
There are a few verbs in Spanish which have a different meaning depending on which past tense is used.
Verb

With pretrito

With imperfecto

Conocer

to meet

to know

Poder

could (was able to, succeeded)

could (a possibilty - no indication as to whether it happened)

Querer

to try

to want, love

No querer

to refuse

to not want

Saber

to learn, find out

to know

Tener

to receive

to have

Tener*

to get, become

to be

*When used in expressions where it means "to be."

Spanish Past Tense - Pretrito


The pretrito is the Spanish simple past tense, used to talk about things that were completed in the past.
Compr una chaqueta.

I bought a jacket.

Comimos a las ocho.

We ate at 8.

Fueron al banco.

They went to the bank.

Hiciste tu tarea?

Did you do your homework?

The pretrito and imperfecto are often confusing for Spanish students - learn the difference.
Conjugating the pretrito: Regular verbs

Most regular Spanish -AR, -ER, and -IR verbs are conjugated with a standard root (found by dropping the infinitive) plus the appropriate
endings.
Hablar - to talk
yo

habl

nosotros

hablamos

hablaste

vosotros

hablasteis

habl

ellos

hablaron
Comer - to eat

yo

com

nosotros

comimos

comiste

vosotros

comisteis

comi

ellos

comieron
Vivir - to live

yo

viv

nosotros

vivimos

viviste

vosotros

vivisteis

vivi

ellos

vivieron

Note that the pretrito endings are identical for -ER and -IR verbs.
There are also, however, a number of verbs which are irregular in the pretrito. These can be broken into two categories: stem-changing
verbs and irregular verbs. Use the links below to learn how to conjugate these verbs in the pretrito, then take the test.

Futuro - Spanish Future Tense

The future is one of the simplest Spanish tenses. There is only one set of endings and most verbs - even those which are irregular in the
present tense - use their infinitive as the root of the conjugation.
To form the future tense of -AR, -ER, and -IR verbs, add the appropriate ending to the infinitive.

Singular

Plural

1st person

yo

nosotros

-emos

2nd person

-s

vosotros

-is

3rd person

l
ella
Ud.

ellos
Uds.

-n

Some verbs have irregular future stems, but they still use the same endings as regular verbs. The following table lists verbs with
irregular future stems (note that the stem always ends in R, and that these are the exact same as the irregularconditional stems):
Verb

Future stem

caber

cabr-

decir

dir-

haber

habr-

hacer

har-

or

oir- *

Similarly-conjugated verbs

poder

podr-

poner

pondr-

querer

querr-

rer

reir- *

saber

sabr-

salir

saldr-

tener

tendr-

valer

valdr-

venir

vendr-

componer, disponer, imponer, proponer, reponerse, suponer

sonrer

contener, detener, mantener, obtener, retener

* These verbs lose their accent when used as future stems.


Here are examples of -AR, -ER, -IR, and irregular verbs in the future tense:
hablar

comer

partir

saber

ir

yo

hablar

comer

partir

sabr

ir

hablars

comers

partirs

sabrs

irs

l/ella/Ud.

hablar

comer

partir

sabr

ir

nosotros

hablaremos

comeremos

partiremos

sabremos

iremos

vosotros

hablaris

comeris

partiris

sabris

iris

ellos/Uds.

hablarn

comern

partirn

sabrn

irn

Futuro - Spanish Future Tense - Usage


There are two ways to express an event that will occur in the future: el futuro and el futuro prximo.
El futuro is used for upcoming events. It is usually translated as will.
Ir al banco maana - I will go to the bank tomorrow.
Estars a la fiesta? - Will you be at the party?
El futuro can be used in a si (if... then...) clause (conditional sentence), if the condition verb is in the present (learn more):
Si t vienes, yo estar muy contento - If you come, I will be very happy.
l nos ayudar si le pagamos - He will help us if we pay him.
El futuro prximo is used when the upcoming event is to occur in the near future. It is usually translated as going to. It is formed with
the correct conjugation of the verb ir (to go) + a + the infinitive of the action that is about to occur.
Voy a comer ahora - I'm going to eat now.
Vamos a salir en 20 minutos - We're going to leave in 20 minutes.
The distinction between el futuro and el futuro prximo is not always clear - there are many situations where you can use either one.

Potencial - Spanish Conditional

The conditional is one of the simplest Spanish verb forms. There is only one set of endings and most verbs - even those which are
irregular in the present tense - use their infinitive as the root of the conjugation.
To form the conditional of -AR, -ER, and -IR verbs, add the appropriate ending to the infinitive.

Singular

Plural

1st person

yo

-a

nosotros

-amos

2nd person

-as

vosotros

-ais

3rd person

l
ella
Ud.

-a

ellos
Uds.

-an

Some verbs have irregular conditional stems, but they still use the same endings as regular verbs. The following table lists verbs with
irregular future stems (note that the stem always ends in R, and that these are the exact same as the irregularfuture stems):
Verb

Conditional stem

caber

cabr-

decir

dir-

haber

habr-

hacer

har-

or

oir- *

Similarly-conjugated verbs

poder

podr-

poner

pondr-

querer

querr-

rer

reir- *

saber

sabr-

salir

saldr-

tener

tendr-

valer

valdr-

venir

vendr-

componer, disponer, imponer, proponer, reponerse, suponer

sonrer

contener, detener, mantener, obtener, retener

* These verbs lose their accent when used as conditional stems.


Here are examples of -AR, -ER, -IR, and irregular verbs in the conditional:
hablar

comer

partir

saber

ir

yo

hablara

comera

partira

sabra

ira

hablaras

comeras

partiras

sabras

iras

l/ella/Ud.

hablara

comera

partira

sabra

ira

nosotros

hablaramos

comeramos

partiramos

sabramos

iramos

vosotros

hablarais

comerais

partirais

sabrais

irais

ellos/Uds.

hablaran

comeran

partiran

sabran

iran

Potencial - Spanish Conditional - Usage


The conditional is a verb mood used for actions that are not guaranteed to occur; often they are dependent on certain conditions. It is
translated as would in English.
Uses:
1. Talking about what one expects or says will happen: Past tense + conditional
Paco dijo que vendra - Paco said he would come.
Yo pensaba que trabajaramos - I thought we would work.
2. Probability or conjuecture in the past
Sera las ocho - It was probably eight o'clock.
Ana olvidara - Ana probably forgot.
3. The verb querer is used in the conditional to express a polite request
Quera ir con Ud. - I would like to go with you.
Queramos unos libros - We would like some books.
4. The verb gustarse is used to express a polite desire, sometimes one that cannot be fulfilled
Me gustara verlo - I would like to see it.
Le gustara venir, pero tiene que trabajar - He would like to come, but he has to work.
5. Si (if, then) clauses

Si tuviera dinero, ira contigo. - If I had money, I would go with you.

Si Clauses - Spanish If-Then Clauses: Unlikely or Currently Contrary Situations


Spanish si clauses, also known as conditionals or conditional sentences, are used to express what could happen if some condition is met.
There are three different kinds of si clauses. In this lesson, we'll look at the second most common type of si clause: unlikely or currently
contrary situations. I call these "currently contrary" because the situation described is not currently true. But if the situation changed, the
result clause would be able to occur.
The currently contrary si-clause, known as the second conditional, is expressed as follows: the condition clause (which starts with si)
requires the imperfect subjunctive, while the result clause takes the conditional. The order of the clauses is unimportant.
For example...
Si tuviera dinero, ira contigo - If I had money, I would go with you.
Ira contigo si tuviera dinero - I would go with you if I had money.
(I don't have any money so I can't go, but if I did [currently contrary], I would be able to.)
Si fueras con nosotros, podras ver a tu hermano. - If you went with us, you could see your brother.
Podras ver a tu hermano si fueras con nosotros. - You could see your brother if you went with us.
(You say you don't want to go with us, so you won't see your brother, but if you did go with us [currently contrary], you would see him.)

Si Clauses - Spanish If-Then Clauses: Possible or Likely Situations


Spanish si clauses, also known as conditionals or conditional sentences, are used to express what could happen if some condition is met.
There are three different kinds of si clauses. In this lesson, we'll look at the most common type of si clause: possible or likely situations.

There are three constructions for expressing possible or likely situations, known as the first conditional. Each of these constructions
requires the present tense in the conditional clause; that is, the clause that begins with si and expresses the condition that must be met
for the result clause to occur. The order of the clauses is unimportant.
Si Present, Present
The si + present tense, present tense construction is used for things that happen (regularly) when a condition is met. Note that the si in
these sentences could probably be replaced by cuando (when) with little or no difference in meaning.
Si llueve, no trabajamos - If it rains, we don't work.
No trabajamos si llueve - We don't work if it rains.
Si no quiero leer yo miro la televisin - If I don't want to read I watch TV.
Miro la televisin si no quiero leer - I watch TV if I don't want to read.
Si Present, Future
The si + present tense, future tense construction is used for events that will occur (in the future) if the condition is met (in the present).
Si tengo tiempo, yo lo har - If I have time, I will do it.
Yo lo har si tengo tiempo - I will do it if I have time.
Si estudias, sers inteligente - If you study, you will be smart.
Sers inteligente si estudias - You will be smart if you study.
Si Present, Imperative
The si + present tense, imperative construction is used to give an order (in the imperative) dependent on the condition being met (in the
present).

Si puedes, llama maana - If you can, call tomorrow.


Llama maana si puedes - Call tomorrow if you can.
(If you can't, then don't worry about it.)
Si Ud. tiene dinero, pague la cuenta - If you have money, pay the bill.
Pague la cuenta si tiene dinero - Pay the bill if you have money.
(If you don't have money, someone else will do it.)

Si Clauses - Spanish If-Then Clauses: Impossible Situations


Spanish si clauses, also known as conditionals or conditional sentences, are used to express what could happen if some condition is met.
There are three different kinds of si clauses. In this lesson, we'll look at the least common type of si clause: impossible situations. This
construction is used when referring to something that would have happened if some condition had been met. Since the condition was not
met, the result clause is impossible.
The impossible si-clause, known as the third conditional, is expressed as follows: the condition clause (which starts with si) requires
the pluperfect subjunctive, while the result clause takes either the pluperfect subjunctive or the conditional perfect. The order of the
clauses is unimportant.
For example...
Si hubiera sabido, hubiera ido (or habra ido) contigo. - If I had known, I would have gone with you.
Hubiera ido (or Habra ido) contigo si hubiera sabido - I would have gone with you if I had known.
(I hadn't known, so I didn't go with you, but if I had [impossible], I would have.)
Hubieras (or habras) comprado el libro si te hubiera dicho? - Would you have bought the book if I had told you?
Si te hubiera dicho, hubieras (or habras) comprado el libro? - If I had told you, would you have bought the book?
(I hadn't told you, so you didn't by the book, but if I had [impossible], would you have?)

Spanish Conditional Perfect / Past Conditional - Condicional perfecto


The Spanish past conditional (aka conditional perfect) is used to indicate an action that would have occurred in the past if a certain
condition had been met. The latter can be stated or implied.
The conditional perfect is used in two main ways:
1.

2.

To express something that would have happened, often in conditional sentences (si clauses):
l lo habra dicho.

He would have said it.

Si yo hubiera sabido, habra ido contigo.

If I had known, I would have gone with you.

Habras comprado el libro si te hubiera dicho?

Would you have bought the book if I had told you?

To express probability or supposition in the past:


Lucas habra comido antes de salir.

Lucas had probably already eaten.

Habran sido las dos cuando llegamos.

It must have been 2 o'clock when we arrived.

Conjugating the Spanish Conditional Perfect


The conditional perfect is a compound verb formed with the conditional of the auxiliary verb haber + the past participle of the main verb.

HABLAR
yo

habra hablado

nosotros

habramos hablado

habras hablado

vosotros

habrais hablado

l
ella
Ud.

habra hablado

ellos
ellas
Uds.

habran hablado

SALIR
yo

habra salido

nosotros

habramos salido

habras salido

vosotros

habrais salido

l
ella
Ud.

habra salido

ellos
ellas
Uds.

habran salido

Subjuntivo - Spanish Subjunctive - Conjugations of Regular Verbs


The subjunctive is usually considered the most difficult Spanish verb form for students, but hopefully this lesson will simplify matters for
you. In Part I, we will learn how to form the present subjunctive of regular verbs. In Part II, we will learn the present subjunctive
of irregular verbs. In Parts III, IV, and V, we'll take an in-depth look at using the Spanish subjunctive.
Regular -AR verbs: Take the present tense of the verb and change the A (or O, in yo form) at the beginning of the suffix toE.

HABLAR

Present

Subjunctive

...que yo

hablo

hable

...que t

hablas

hables

...que l/ella/Ud.

habla

hable

...que nosotros

hablamos

hablemos

...que vosotros

hablis

hablis

...que ellos/Uds.

hablan

hablen

-ER verbs: Take the present tense and change the E (or O) to A.

COMER

Present

Subjunctive

...que yo

como

coma

...que t

comes

comas

...que l/ella/Ud.

come

coma

...que nosotros

comemos

comamos

...que vosotros

comis

comis

...que ellos/Uds.

comen

coman

-IR verbs: The conjugation rules for -IR verbs are a bit more complicated.

yo form - change O to A

t, l, and ellos forms - change E to A

nosotros form - change I to A

vosotros form - change to I

If this seems too complicated, try this: take off the present tense ending and add the subjunctive ending.

ABRIR

Present

Subjunctive

Subj. ending

...que yo

abro

abra

-a

...que t

abres

abras

-as

...que l/ella/Ud.

abre

abra

-a

...que nosotros

abrimos

abramos

-amos

...que vosotros

abrs

abris

-is

...que ellos/Uds.

abren

abran

-an

Stem-changing verbs: Stem-changing -AR and -ER verbs follow the above rules; they use the same stem as in the present tense and
thus maintain their stem changes in the subjunctive.
PENSAR

Present

Subjunctive

...que yo

pienso

piense

...que t

piensas

pienses

...que l/ella/Ud.

piensa

piense

...que nosotros

pensamos

pensemos

...que vosotros

pensis

pensis

...que ellos/Uds.

piensan

piensen

PODER

Present

Subjunctive

...que yo

puedo

pueda

...que t

puedes

puedas

...que l/ella/Ud.

puede

pueda

...que nosotros

podemos

podamos

...que vosotros

podis

podis

...que ellos/Uds.

pueden

puedan

Notes:

1.

Stem-changing -IR verbs are irregular and are thus explained on the irregular conjugations page.

In the subjunctive, the first and third person singular conjugations are identical.

Spanish subjunctive conjugations are the same as imperative conjugations.

Imperfecto de Subjuntivo - Spanish Imperfect Subjunctive


The imperfect tense of the subjunctive mood is used to express the same subjectivity as the present subjunctive, but in the past.
The imperfect subjunctive has three main uses:

Express subjectivity in the past after the same verbs, impersonal expressions, and conjunctions as the present subjunctive. For the
imperfect subjunctive to be needed, the verb in the main clause has to be in one of the following tenses/moods: preterite,

imperfect, conditional, or pluperfect.

2.

3.

Quera que lo hicieras.

I wanted you to do it.

Fue una lstima que no pudiera venir.

It was too bad that he couldn't come.

Yo ira al banco para que tuviramos dinero.

I would go to the bank so that we'd have money.

Make a very polite request or suggestion (only with the verbs deber, poder, and querer).
Quisiera dos libros, por favor.

I'd like two books, please.

Pudiera Ud. ayudarnos?

Could you (possibly) help us?

In conditional sentences (si clauses) and with the conjunction como si.
Si tuviera dinero, ira contigo.

If I had money, I would go with you.

Me escucha como si fuera su profesor.

He listens to me as if I were his teacher.

Imperfect Subjunctive Conjugations


To conjugate the imperfect subjunctive, take the third person plural preterite form of any regular, irregular, or stem-changing verb, drop
the -RON ending to find the radical, and add the appropriate ending:

-RA conjugation

-SE conjugation

yo

-ra

nosotros

-ramos

yo

-se

nosotros

-semos

-ras

vosotros

-rais

-ses

vosotros

-seis

-ra

ellos

-ran

-se

ellos

-sen

Notes:

The yo and l forms of the imperfect subjunctive are identical.

In the nosotros form of both conjugations, an acute accent is added to the last vowel in the radical.

There are two complete sets of conjugations for the Spanish imperfect subjunctive. Although you only need to memorize
and use one or the other, you still need to be able to recognize both. The -RA set of conjugations is more colloquial than the -SE
set.

For example...

HABLAR - ellos hablaron


yo

hablara

nosotros

hablramos

hablaras

vosotros

hablarais

hablara

ellos

hablaran

yo

hablase

nosotros

hablsemos

hablases

vosotros

hablaseis

hablase

ellos

hablasen

TENER - ellos tuvieron


yo

tuviera

nosotros

tuviramos

tuvieras

vosotros

tuvierais

tuviera

ellos

tuvieran

yo

tuviese

nosotros

tuvisemos

tuvieses

vosotros

tuvieseis

tuviese

ellos

tuviesen

Spanish Future Subjunctive ~ Futuro de subjuntivo


The future subjunctive is supposed to be used in Spanish when a verb or expression requiring the subjunctive in the main clause is in the
present or future and refers to a future action.
However, the future subjunctive is becoming obsolete. You are unlikely to ever hear it, as in spoken Spanish it tends to be replaced by
the present subjunctive. The Spanish future subjunctive may still be found in writing, such as literature and and legal documents, so it's
good to be able to recognize it.

Conjugating the Spanish Future Subjunctive


The future subjunctive is conjugated much like the -RA form of the imperfect subjunctive: take the third person pluralpreterite form of
any regular, irregular, or stem-changing verb, drop the -RON ending to find the radical, and add the appropriate ending:

future subjunctive endings


yo

-re

nosotros

-remos

-res

vosotros

-reis

-re

ellos

-ren

for example...
HABLAR
yo

hablare

nosotros

hablremos

hablares

vosotros

hablareis

hablare

ellos

hablaren

yo

tuviere

nosotros

tuviremos

tuvieres

vosotros

tuviereis

tuviere

ellos

tuvieren

TENER

Notes:

The yo and l forms of the future subjunctive are identical.

In the nosotros form, an acute accent is added to the last vowel in the radical.

Using the Subjunctive:

Verbs and expressions

Conjunctions

Adjective clauses

Si clauses

Spanish Subjunctive Tenses:

Present

Present Perfect

Imperfect

Pluperfect

Future

I.

II.

Spanish Infinitive ~ Infinitivo


The infinitive is the basic, unconjugated form of a verb, sometimes called the name of the verb. In English the infinitive isto +
verb: to talk, to eat, to leave, etc. The Spanish infinitive is a single word with one of the following endings: -ar, -er, or -ir: hablar,
comer, salir, etc. We usually learn Spanish verbs in the infinitive, since that is what you start with in order to conjugate them.
The Spanish infinitive is often translated to the English present participle, as you'll see in the examples below.
El infinitivo can be used several different ways without any conjugation.
As a noun - the subject or object of a sentence
Mentir no es buena idea.

Lying is not a good idea.

Aprender es importante.

Learning is important.

After a conjugated verb, the infinitive can be used


A.

B.

C.

With a preposition
Vamos a estudiar.

We're going to study.

Acabo de salir.

I just left.

Salgamos depus de comer.

Let's leave after eating.

La biblioteca es perfecta para estudiar.

The library is perfect for studying.

Without a preposition
Me gusta bailar.

I like dancing.

Prefieren venir con nosotros.

They prefer coming with us.

Los vi jugar.

I saw them play.

With que
Tienes que comer.

You have to eat.

Hay mucho que hacer.

III
.

There's a lot to do.

In place of the subjunctive when the main clause has


A.

the same subject as the subordinate clause


Tiene miedo que llegu tarde* ==> Tiene miedo de llegar tarde.

He's afraid of arriving late.

Estoy contenta que tenga razn* ==> Estoy contenta de tener


razn.

I'm happy to be right.

*These are grammatically incorrect. When the subject is the same, you *must* use the infinitive.
B.

an impersonal subject (if the subject is implied)


Es importante que trabajes ==> Es importante trabajar.

It's important to work.

No es necesario que vengan ==> No es necesario venir.

It's not necessary that they come (They don't need to


come).

Spanish Perfect Infinitive ~ Infinitivo compuesto


The Spanish perfect infinitive indicates an action that occurred before the action of the main verb, but only when the subject of both
verbs is the same. The perfect infinitive sounds awkward in English - we usually change it to another tense or reword the sentence
completely, as you can see in the following examples:
Espero haber terminado antes del medioda.

I hope to have finished (to finish) by noon.

Gracias por habernos invitado.

Thank you for having invited us (for inviting us).

The Spanish perfect infinitive is a compound tense formed with the infinitive of the auxiliary verb haber plus the past participle of the
main verb.
HABLAR
haber hablado

COMER
haber comido

IR
haber ido

Since the infinitive auxiliary verb is unconjugated, the past infinitive is the same for all subjects. In addition, the past participle is
invariable.
Quisiera haber comido...

I want to have eaten...

Ella quisiera haber comido...

She wants to have eaten...

Quisiramos haber comido...

We want to have eaten...

Uses of the Spanish perfect infinitive:


A. To modify the verb in the main clause:
Se disculp por haber olvidado

He apologized for forgetting

Recuerdas haber ido a Espaa?

Do you remember going to Spain?

B. To modify the adjective in the main clause:

Estoy encantada de haberte visto

I'm delighted to see you.

Era necesario haberlo terminado.

It was necessary to have it finished.

C. With the preposition despus (after):


Despus de haber comido, fui al parque

After eating, I went to the park

Quera viajar despus de haber terminado mis estudios

I wanted to travel after finishing my studies

D. When expressing gratitude:


Gracias por habernos ayudado.

Thank you for helping us.

Gracias por haber venido.

Thanks for coming.

Notes on word order


Unlike other compound tenses, object pronouns used with the perfect infinitive are attached to the end of the auxiliary -learn more.
Despus de haberte visto...

After seeing you...

Gracias por haberme ayudado.

Thanks for helping me.

Spanish Mood - El modo

Mood refers to the verb forms that express the attitude of the speaker toward the action/state of the verb - how likely or factual the
statement is. The Spanish language has six or seven moods, depending on how you look at it.

Personal moods

Modos personales

Personal moods make a distinction between grammatical persons: they are conjugated.
I.

Indicative

Indicativo

Indicates a fact - the most common mood.

II.

Subjunctive

Subjuntivo

Expresses subjectivity, doubt, or unlikelihood.

III.

Conditional*

Potencial

Describes a condition or possibility.

IV.

Imperative

Imperativo

Gives a command.

Impersonal moods

Modos impersonales

Impersonal moods are not conjugated: they have a single form for all grammatical persons.
V.

Infinitive

Infinitivo

Name of the verb.

VI.

Participle

Participio

Adjectival form of the verb.

VII.

Gerund

Gerundio

Adverbial form of the verb.

*Some grammarians include the potencial (aka condicional) with the indicativo. I consider it a different mood. What do you think?
There is some confusion over the difference between tense and mood, but it is really very simple. Tense is the when of the verb:
whether the action takes place in the past, present, or future. Mood indicates the feeling of the verb; more specifically, the speaker's
attitude or feeling toward the action. Is s/he saying that the action is true or uncertain? Is it a possibility or a command? These nuances
are expressed with different moods.

Moods and tenses work together to give verbs a precise meaning. Each mood has at least two tenses. The indicative mood is the most
common - you might call it the "normal" mood - and has the most tenses. When you conjugate a verb, you do so by first choosing the
appropriate mood and then adding a tense to it. Coming soon: a verb timeline to help you understand how tenses and moods fit together.

panish Verb Timeline


This Spanish verb timeline can help you to understand how all of the various Spanish verb tenses and moods fit together. Click on the
links for lessons on each verb form.

M O D O

F
U
T
U
R
O

P
A
S
A
D

Indicativo
Futuro
Futuro progresivo

Personal*
Subjuntivo

Imperativo

Condicional

[Futuro de subjuntivo]

(Imperativo)

(Condicional)

Subjuntivo

Imperativo

Condicional

Impersonal*
Infinitivo
Participio
F
U
T
U
R
O

Futuro perfecto

PRESENTE
Presente progresivo
Pretrito perfecto
Pretrito
Pretrito progresivo
Imperfecto
Imperfecto progresivo

Perfecto del subjuntivo


Imperfecto del subjuntivo

Condicional perfecto

Infinitivo

Gerundio
Participio pasado P
A
S
A
D

Pluscuamperfecto

Pluscuamperfecto del subjuntivo

* Personal moods are conjugated for different subjects, while impersonal moods have a single form.
The (parentheses) indicate present tense verb forms which can also be used for the future.
The [brackets] indicate literary or other very rare Spanish verb forms.

Spanish Voice ~ La voz


Voice is one of the five inflections involved in conjugating Spanish verbs. It indicates the relationship between the subject and verb.
There are three voices in Spanish:
Active voice

Passive voice

Pronominal (reflexive)

The subject performs the action of the verb. This is the most common, "normal" voice.
Lavo la ropa.

I wash the clothes.

Rompi la taza.

He broke the cup.

Es profesor de espaol

He's a Spanish teacher.

The action of the verb is performed on the subject by an agent (less common in Spanish).
La ropa es lavada.

The clothes are washed.

La taza fue rota por el perro.

The cup was broken by the dog.

El carro fue vendido.

The car was sold.

The subject performs the action on itself (considerably less common in English).

Me lavo.

I'm washing (myself).

Se rompi la pierna.

He broke his leg.

Quiero mirarme en el espejo.

I want to look at myself in the mirror.

Spanish Gerund - Gerundio


The English gerund is the -ing form of the verb. In Spanish, it's the -ndo form.
Formation

Regular verbs

I.

Drop the infinitive ending and add -ando.

II.

-AR verbs

-ER verbs, -IR verbs

hablar

hablando

tomar

tomando

mirar

mirando

Drop the infinitive ending and add -iendo.


aprender

aprendiendo

comer

comiendo

poner

poniendo

Formation

I.

II.

III.

abrir

abriendo

describir

describiendo

escribir

escribiendo

Irregular Verbs

Verbs with stem that ends in vowel - Drop the infinitive and add -yendo.
caer

cayendo

leer

leyendo

traer

trayendo

-IR verbs with stem-change in third person preterite - Same stem-change in the present participle.

Ir (to go)

Escuch los pjaros cantando.

decir

diciendo

dormir

durmiendo

pedir

pidiendo

poder

pudiendo

venir

viniendo

--> yendo

Usage - The Spanish gerund has two main uses.

I.

Gerund - An impersonal verb form which is used as an adjective or adverb to express an action in progress. It is used to refer to
an action which is simultaneous with or prior to the action of the other verb in the sentence.

II.

Caminando por la plaza, vi a mi abuelo.

While walking in the plaza, I saw my grandfather.

Pas todas sus vacaciones esperando una sorpresa.

He spent his entire vacation waiting for a surprise.

Aprendo mucho estudiando con ellos.

I learn a lot by studying with them.

Progressive / Continuous Tenses

Not
e

Present

Estoy leyendo.

I am reading.

Imperfect

Estaban estudiando.

They were studying.

Past

Estuve leyendo.

I was reading.

Future

Estar trabajando.

He will be working.

The Spanish gerund cannot be used as a noun, the way it is in English and French. This is a common mistake, even for native
Spanish speakers.

X Me gusta leyendo.

--> Me gusta leer.

X Trabajando es importante.

--> Trabajar es importante.

X Escuch los pjaros cantando.

--> Escuch los pjaros cantar.