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The present tense is used to describe actions or states that take place in the present. In the case of actions that occur simultaneously at the time of speaking, the gerund (progressive form) is used in Spanish.

Use of Present

In addition to current actions or states, the present tense is also used:

– in the case of repeated or habitual actions


Todos los días por la tarde, tomo un café y leo el periódico

– for universal statements or general truths


El león es el rey de la selva

– when talking about future actions


En verano voy a Barcelona

– when reporting on the past (historical present)

If one talks about past events in the present tense, the narrative becomes more vivid.


Cuando Bolivar gana la batalla de Boyacá, surge la gran Colombia

– You can express commands with the present tense instead of the imperative (command form).


Usted sigue todo recto y después gira a la derecha


The present tense is formed by appending the ending to the verb stem, whereby there are regular and irregular verbs. The number of irregular verbs predominates in Spanish. Regular and irregular verbs are divided into three conjugation groups.

  • Verbs with the ending -ar (primera conjugación) such as hablar (speak)
  • Verbs with the ending -er (segunda conjugación) such as beber (drink)
  • Verbs with the ending -ir (tercera conjugación) such as partir (depart)