What are tenses in Spanish?

What Are Tenses In Spanish Featured

Tense changes the form of a verb to show time.

In Spanish, tense is called el tiempo. What is the definition of tense in Spanish? El tiempo cambia un verbo para mostrar el tiempo. ¡Claro! Of course!

You may need to learn about verbs and conjugation.

  • Verbs are a part of speech that expresses action or state of being.
  • Every sentence has at least one main verb and can have a helping verb.
  • Conjugation changes the form of a verb to match the person and number of the subject of the sentence.

Now, let’s check out the tenses of verbs.

What Are Tenses In Spanish

As you can see from that definition there are three main categories of tenses: indicative mood, subjunctive mood, and imperative mood. They show the purpose of the sentence.

The three main tenses are past, present, and future.

There are many different tenses, and we’re going to explore quite a few of them. Are you ready? Great!

  • Present Indicative
  • Preterite Indicative
  • Imperfect Indicative
  • Future Indicative
  • Conditional
  • Present Subjunctive
  • Past Subjunctive
  • Imperative Affirmative
  • Imperative Negative

In Spanish, the verb tenses are called los tiempos verbales.

Here is a brief overview of the tenses. Click on the links in the sections to learn more about each one.

You’ll also find examples of how each one is conjugated. I’m a big fan of conjugating verbs because it helps you SEE how verbs are formed, and it’s fun!

Indicative Mood

The indicative mood makes a statement or asks a question.

In Spanish the indicative mood is el modo indicativo. What is the definition of indicative in Spanish? El modo indicativo hace una declaración o pregunta.

¿Marcaste goles?
Did you score points?

The verb marcaste is in the indicative mood. It asks a question.

The indicative mood has simple tenses and compound tenses. You can learn more about the perfect tenses (a type of compound tense). Some compound tenses are called periphrasal tenses.

Present indicative talks about now. We use the present tense often.

In Spanish, the present is el presente. What is the definition of presente in Spanish? El presente habla de ahora.

El equipo es animado.
The team is excited.

The verb es is in the present indicative. This tense informs of their current state.

Spanish Verb Conjugation Chart: Present Indicative

Subject – Verb Agreement

Personal Pronouns
yo
el, ella, usted
nosotros
vosotros
ellos, ellas, ustedes

1st ClassInfinitive: Amar

am +
o
as
a
amos
áis
an

2nd Conjugation Infinitive: Ver

v +
o
es
e
emos
éis
en

3rd Conjugation Infinitive: Vivir

viv +
o
es
e
imos
ís
en

Past tense verbs differ from the other types of verbs because they show aspect. What in the world is verbal aspect? Well, aspect looks at how a verb flows through time.

Preterite speaks about the completed past. It puts the past into a container.

In Spanish, the preterite is el préterito. What is the definition of the preterite in Spanish? El préterito habla del pasado completado.

Los gansos volaron al sur.
The geese flew south.

The verb is volaron. Then ending -aron is in the preterite.

The aspect of the preterite tells us the action is complete. The geese finished flying.

Spanish Verb Conjugation Chart: Preterite Tense

Subject – Verb Agreement: Personal Pronouns

Verb Stems >>>
yo
el, ella, usted
nosotros
vosotros
ellos, ellas, ustedes

1st Conjugation Infinitive: Amar

am +
é
aste
ó
amos
asteís
aron

2nd Conjugation Infinitive: Ver

v +
í
iste
imos
isteis
ieron
2nd and 3rd conjugation endings are the same

3rd Conjugation Infinitive: Vivir

viv +
í
iste
imos
isteis
ieron

This is the past tense you’ll use often to talk about what happeed.

The imperfect speaks about the continuous past.

The verbal aspect is imperfect; the same as its name.

In Spanish, the imperfect is el imperfecto. What is the definition of imperfect in Spanish? El imperfecto habla del pasado continuo.

Let’s take a look at a comparison of the two past tenses.

La multitud acalamaba.
The crowd was cheering.

Here, the verb is aclamaba. The ending -aba belongs to the imperfect tense.

The tense tells us they cheered continuously without mention of a beginning or end.

La multitud aclamó.
The crowd cheered.

Now, aclamó is in the preterite tense.

The aspect tells us the crowd stopped cheering.

Spanish Verb Conjugation Chart: Imperfect Tense

Subject – Verb Agreement

Personal Pronouns
yo
el, ella, usted
nosotros
vosotros
ellos, ellas, ustedes

1st Conjugation Infinitive: Amar

am +
aba
abas
aba
abamos
abais
aban

2nd Conjugation Infinitive: Ver

v +
ía
ías
ía
íamos
íais
ían
2nd and 3rd conjugation endings are the same

3rd Conjugation Infinitive: Vivir

viv +
ía
ías
ía
íamos
íais
ían

In English, we use verbs ending in -ing to show continuous action.

The future speaks about things that haven’t started.

In Spanish, the future is el futuro. What is the definition of future tense in Spanish? El futuro habla de cosas que no han empezado.

Celebrán despues de la victoria.
They will celebrate after the victory.

The verb celebrán is in the future tense because it ends with -án.

It tells us that the celebration will start in the future.

Spanish Verb Conjugation Chart: Future Tense

This conjugation is different from the rest because the stem is added to the whole infinitive. All three classes have the same ending pattern.

Future is formed with the infinitive form and the future endings -é, -ás, -á, -emos, eís, án.

Subject – Verb Agreement

Personal Pronouns
yo
el, ella, usted
nosotros
vosotros
ellos, ellas, ustedes

1st Conjugation Infinitive: Amar

amar +
é
ás
á
emos
éis
án
All three conjugation classes share the same endings

2nd Conjugation Infinitive: Ver

ver +
é
ás
á
emos
éis
án

3rd Conjugation Infinitive: Vivir

vivir +
é
ás
á
emos
éis
án

This is how you can talk about your goals and plans.

The conditional tense is a guess. It is also polite.

In Spanish, the conditional is la condicional. What is the definition of conditional tense in Spanish? La condicional es una suposición (y educado).

In English, we use helping verbs to express the conditional, such as could, would, or can.

¿Si , todos
They will celebrate after the victory.

Spanish Verb Conjugation Chart: Conditional Tense

All three classes have the same endings. Again, add the stem to the whole infinitive.

Subject – Verb Agreement

Personal Pronouns
yo
el, ella, usted
nosotros
vosotros
ellos, ellas, ustedes

1st Conjugation Infinitive: Amar

amar +
ía
ías
ía
íamos
íais
ían
All three conjugation classes share the same endings

2nd Conjugation Infinitive: Ver

ver +
ía
ías
ía
íamos
íais
ían

3rd Conjugation Infinitive: Vivir

vivir +
ía
ías
ía
íamos
íais
ían

This is how you can say “would you please…?”

Subjunctive Mood

Subjunctive mood connects time.

In Spanish, the subjunctive mood is el modo subjuntivo. What is the definition of subjunctive mood in Spanish? El modo subjuntivo habla de posibilidades y dudas.

The subjunctive mood is most often found in complex sentences in a dependent clause.

The present subjunctive connects the present want to a future uncertainty.

In Spanish, the present subjunctive is el presente de subjuntivo. What is the defintiion of the present subjuntive? El presente de subjuntivo conecta el deseo del presente a un incertidumbre en el futuro.

Espero que tengamos palomitas.
I hope that we have popcorn.

There are two sentences.

The first sentence has the verb espero. It is in the present tense and expresses a want.

The verb in the second sentence is tengamos. The ending -amos tells us it is in the present subjunctive tense. This tells us there is uncertainty about it happening in the future.

Together they connect the present and the future.

Conjugating the Present Subjunctive Tense

First Class is stem and -e, -es, -e, -emos, -éis, -en.

Second Class and Third Class is stem and -a, -as, -a, -amos, -áis, -an.

Remember the imperfect aspect? Well, continuous past action and the uncertainty of the future connect in the imperfect subjunctive.

Let’s take a look at what this means.

Si solo tuviéramos palomitas.
If only we had popcorn.

This one sentence sounds very doubtful about the future.

The verb is tuviéramos. It ends in -iéramos in the imperfect subjunctive. It shows a longing for future action and the desire for having it since the past.

Yes, that’s quite a bit complex, but don’t worry about it much. You won’t run into these often.

Imperative Mood

The imperative mood influences.

In Spanish, the imperative mood is el modo imperativo. What is the definition of imperative mood? El modo imperativo influye.

The affirmative imperative influences to take action.

What is the definition of the affirmative imerative in Spanish? El modo afirmativo de imperativo influye la acción.

¡Marca goles!
Score points!

The verb is marca. The ending -a tells us it is in the imperative mood.

You can say this to your favorite team. After all, you’re their #1 fan!

In Spanish, the imperative mood is el modo imperativo.

The affirmative imperative influences to NOT take action.

In Spanish, the negative imperative mood is called el modo negativo de imperativo. What is the definition of negative imperative? El modo negativo de imperativo influye a no actuar.

¡No marquen goles!
Don’t score points!

The verb is marquen. The ending -en tells us that it is a negative imperative.

You can say this to the other team.

One last thing…

Some verbs don’t show tense (time). They are finite verbs (infinitive verbs, past participles, gerunds). Take a look at the links.

🎉 ¡Guau! Wow! 🎉

You have reached the end of the lesson on the verb tenses. You’re a verb pro now! This trophy is for you! 🎉

🏆

Instant Conjugation Kit Ipad DeskIf you’d like to fast-track your way through verb conjugations, you need to check out our Instant Conjugation Kit!

It’ll save you time and wasted effort, and it will bring you well-earned confidence.

I hope this lesson has helped you learn about the tenses in Spanish!

This is original content from https://growspanish.com/what-are-tenses-in-spanish

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