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Common Spanish Verbs You Need To Know

One of the most important things to focus on at the beginning of your Spanish language journey is common Spanish verbs.   

A verb is a word that expresses an action, state or occurrence. It’s an essential part of a sentence, with verbs forming the main part of the predicate. Without verbs, there is no way to express clear ideas.

Although it seems complicated to learn all the conjugations and uses that these verbs have, the truth is that even if you only focus on studying these common verbs in Spanish, you will have a solid foundation from which you can greatly improve your understanding of the language.

Here are the most common Spanish verbs, when you should use them and example sentences. Learn these verbs you can take your Spanish to the next level.

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The 10 Most Common Spanish Verbs

1) Ser

Definition: This verb is one of the most important. It is equivalent to “be” and refers to more permanent states of being.

Uses:

> Characteristics of a person: Yo soy alto. (I’m tall)

> Day and time: Hoy es lunes. (Today is Monday)

> Possession: Esta pintura es de mi mamá. (This painting is my mom’s)

Tip: You can practice this verb by listening to the song “Eres” by Cafè Tacuva.

 

2) Estar

Definition: Just as the verb “ser” can be translated as the verb “to be” so can “estar”, but it has a different use and usually refers to more temporary states of being.

Uses:

> Health: Estoy enfermo. (I’m sick)

> Location: La casa de Frida Kahlo está en la Ciudad de México. (Frida Kahlo’s house is in Mexico City)

> Mood: Mi novia siempre está de Buen Humor. (My girlfriend is always in a good mood)

> Quality of something: Las naranjas están muy dulces. (The oranges are very sweet)

Tip: You can practice this verb by listening to the song “Estar Contigo” by Alex Ubago

 

3) Tener

Definition: It is very similar to the verb “to have” or in the case of telling age it takes the place of the verb “to be.”  

Uses:

> Possession: Tengo un celular nuevo. (I have a new phone)

> Obligation: Tienes que ir a la cama temprano. (You have to go to bed early)

> To tell age (verb to be): Mi novia tiene 22 años. (My girlfriend is 22 years old)

Tip: You can practice the verb tener by listening to the song “Tenía Tanto que Darte” by Nena Conte.

 

4) Decir

Common Spanish Verbs

Definition: It is very similar to the verb “to say” or “to tell” in English.

Uses:

> Opinion: Me dijo que no esta deacuerdo conmigo. (He said he does not agree with me)

> When talking about a rumour: Dijeron que lloverá mañana. (They said it will rain tomorrow)

> When you talk about a book or topic:  El libro dice que… (The book talks about…)

> Talking to yourself: Me dije: soy el mejor. (I said to myself: I’m the best)

Tip: You can practice the verb decir  by listening to the song “Quiero Decirte que Te Amo” by Laura Pausini.

 

5) Haber

Definition: This is an auxiliary verb that means “to have” in English and is fundamentally used in three cases:

Uses:

> To say the position or the existence of something: Hay un libro en la mesa. (There is a book on the table)

> Haber + another main verb (present participle):  Yo he llamado a mi amiga. (I have called my friend)

> Obligation: Hay que ir a la escuela.  (We have to go to school)

Tip: You can practice the verb haber by reading the poem “Sentado sobre los muertos” by Miguel Hernandez.  

 

6) Poder

Definition: In English poder means  “to be able to” or “can”.

Uses:

> Ability to do something: Mi padre puede manejar. (My dad can drive)

> To make a polite request: ¿Podrías pasarme la sal? (Could you pass me the salt?)

> Something that could have happened but did not: No pude salir con mis amigos ayer. (I could not go out with my friends yesterday)

> Possibility: ¿Podríamos discutirlo después? (Could we discuss it later?)

Tip: Learn more about this verb with the song “Adiós” by Gustavo Cerati.

 

7) Pensar

Common Spanish Verbs

Definition: Similar to the verb “to think”, but you have to take into account that it is an irregular verb and may have other meanings in English.

Uses:

> Expressing thoughts: Pienso que eres muy bonita. (I think you’re pretty)

> Opinions or beliefs: Mi mamá piensa que no es bueno ejercitarse demasiado. (My mom thinks it’s not good to work out too much)

> Plans: Yo pienso salir mañana. (I intend to hang out tomorrow)

Tip: You can practice the verb pensar by listening to the song “Pensar en ti” by Francisco Céspedes

 

8) Hacer

Definition: In English it can be interpreted as “to make” or “to do”.

Uses:

> To make or to create: Voy a hacer una silla de madera. (I’m going to make a wooden chair)

> Daily tasks: Yo hago la comida todos los días. (I make (cook) dinner every day)

> The weather: Hace mucho calor. (It’s very hot)

> Causality: Me hace muy feliz. (He makes me happy)

Tip: You can practice the verb hacer by listening to the song “Hacer un Puente” by La Franela

 

9) Creer

Common Spanish Verbs

Definition: It means “to believe” in English.

Uses:

> Opinions (similar to the verb “think” in Spanish): Yo creo que te equivocas. (I believe you’re wrong)

> Probability: No creo que pueda ir a la fiesta. (I don’t think I can go to the party)

> To have confidence in someone or something: Creo que puedo hacerlo. (I believe I can do it)

Tip: Learn more about this verb by singing along to the song “Saber que se puede” by  Diego Torres.

 

10) Ir

Definition: It is used as the verb “to go” in English, but also has uses that might not make much sense to English speakers.

Uses:

> To go: Mi hermana  y yo fuimos a México. (My sister and I went to Mexico)

> To dress up : Ella iba con botas vaqueras. (She came with cowboy boots)

> Profession : Este niño va para ser bombero. (This boy will be a firefighter)

> To indicate an action that is routinely performed:  Todos los años vamos a España. (Every year we go to Spain)

Tip: You can practice the verb ir by reading the poem “Irse” by Mario Benedetti

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Most of these verbs have other uses too, but it is very useful to begin practicing these examples in different situations to improve your Spanish.

Good luck! 

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Aldo Pineda loves to write about learning Spanish and share his passion for the language with the world. He is currently learning Italian and English.
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