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The 20 Most Common Spanish Verbs (And How To Use Them)

Learn how to use and conjugate the most important verbs in Spanish.
The 20 Most Common Spanish Verbs (And How To Use Them)

Want to learn Spanish but don’t know where to start? When learning a new language, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the grammar rules, unfamiliar pronunciation and all the new words. Don’t stress — it can happen to anyone! In order to not lose your motivation, it’s a good idea to concentrate on the most common words at the beginning, such as the most common Spanish verbs. You’ll come across them everywhere, memorize them quickly and be able to use them right off the bat.

Ready? Take a look at the 20 most common Spanish verbs, as well as their present-tense conjugations and a useful example sentence for each one. But first, we’ll start with a helpful infographic of the top five Spanish verbs.

SPanish verbs infographic

The 20 Most Common Spanish Verbs

1. ser — to be

yo soy (“I am”) nosotros, nosotras somos (“we are”)
tú eres (“you [singular, informal] are”) vosotros, vosotras sois (“you [plural, informal] are”)
él, ella, usted es (“he, she is” or “you [singular, formal] are”) ellos, ellas, ustedes son (“they are” or “you [plural, formal] are”)

Example: Nosotras somos Carmen y Paula. (We are Carmen and Paula.)

2. estar — to be, to be situated

yo estoy nosotros, nosotras estamos
tú estás vosotros, vosotras estáis
él, ella, usted está ellos, ellas, ustedes están

Example: ¡Estoy muy cansado por el viaje! (I am very tired from the journey!)

Note: Ser and estar both mean “to be.” Ser is used to introduce yourself and to talk about characteristics, professions, long-term conditions, nationalities and times. Estar is for temporary conditions, such as being tired in the example sentence, and giving locations. It is used in combination with verb participles to form the progressive tense — just like the “-ing” form in English.

Example for ser: Ella es profesora. (She is a teacher.)

Example for estar: Carlos está estudiando para un examen. (Carlos is studying for an exam.)

3. tener — to have

yo tengo nosotros, nosotras tenemeos
tú tienes vosotros, vosotras tenéis
él, ella, usted tiene ellos, ellas, ustedes tienen

Example: ¿Tenéis ganas de helado? (Do you fancy an ice cream?)

Note: As you can see in the example, “to fancy” or “to feel like something” is translated with the phrase tener ganas in Spanish, which literally means “to have desire.”

4. hacer — to do, to make

yo hago nosotros, nosotras hacemos
tú haces vosotros, vosotras hacéis
él, ella, usted hace ellos, ellas, ustedes hacen

Example: Hago deporte tres veces por semana. (I do sports 3 times a week.)

5. ir — to go

yo voy nosotros, nosotras vamos
tú vas vosotros, vosotras vais
él, ella, usted va ellos, ellas, ustedes van

Example: Esta noche voy al cine con María. (Tonight I’m going to the cinema with María.)

6. poder — to be able to, can

yo puedo nosotros, nosotras podemos
tú puedes vosotros, vosotras podéis
él, ella, usted puede ellos, ellas, ustedes pueden

Example: ¿Puedes venir a nuestra fiesta el viernes? (Can you come to our party on Friday?)

7. saber — to know, can

yo sé nosotros, nosotras sabemos
tú sabes vosotros, vosotras sabéis
él, ella, usted sabe ellos, ellas, ustedes saben

Example: ¿Usted sabe dónde está el Teatro Nacional? (Do you know where the National Theater is?)

Note: Saber und poder both mean “to be able to.” Saber is used for skills that have been learned or require experience, while poder expresses the possibility or opportunity to do something.

Example for saber: ¿Sabes bailar salsa? (Can you salsa dance?)

Example for poder: ¿Puedes salir con nosotros hoy? (Can you come out with us tonight?)

video thumbnail

8. poner — to put

yo pongo nosotros, nosotras ponemos
tú pones vosotros, vosotras ponéis
él, ella, usted pone ellos, ellas, ustedes ponen

Example: Pongo el plato en la mesa. (I put the plate on the table.)

9. haber — to have, to be

yo he nosotros, nosotras hemos
tú has vosotros, vosotras habéis
él, ella, usted ha ellos, ellas, ustedes han

Example: ¡Hemos trabajado toda la semana! (We have worked the week!)

Note: Unlike most of the other most common Spanish verbs, haber is exclusively an auxiliary verb. It is used in combination with a participle to create the pretérito perfecto tense: Esta semana he ido al cine. (“This week I went to the movie theater.”) On its own, haber is used almost exclusively in the impersonal form hay to show the existence or availability of things. In this sense it means “There is”: En este restaurante hay mesas libres. (There are free tables in this restaurant.)

10. decir — to say, to tell

yo digo nosotros, nosotras decimos
tú dices vosotros, vosotras decís
él, ella, usted dice ellos, ellas, ustedes dicen

Example: ¿Me dices la hora, por favor? (Can you tell me the time, please?)

11. querer — to want

yo quiero nosotros, nosotras queremos
tú quieros vosotros, vosotras queréis
él, ella, usted quiere ellos, ellas, ustedes quieren

Example: Queremos viajar en diciembre a Chile. (We want to go to Chile in December.)

12. hablar — to speak

yo hablo nosotros, nosotras hablamos
tú hablas vosotros, vosotras habláis
él, ella, usted habla ellos, ellas, ustedes hablan

Example: Hablamos solo un poco de inglés. (We only speak a little bit of English.)

13. dar — to give

yo doy nosotros, nosotras damos
tú das vosotros, vosotras dais
él, ella, usted da ellos, ellas, ustedes dan

Example: Siempre doy 10 % de propina. (I always give a 10% tip.)

14. ver — to see, to watch

yo veo nosotros, nosotras vemos
tú ves vosotros, vosotras veis
él, ella, usted ve ellos, ellas, ustedes ven

Example: ¿Veis la televisión a menudo? (Do you often watch television?)

15. comer — to eat

yo como nosotros, nosotras comemos
tú comes vosotros, vosotras coméis
él, ella, usted come ellos, ellas, ustedes comen

Example: Hoy como con mis compañeros de trabajo. (Today I’m eating with my coworkers.)

16. tomar — to take, to have

yo tomo nosotros, nosotras tomamos
tú tomas vosotros, vosotras tomáis
él, ella, usted toma ellos, ellas, ustedes toman

Example: ¿Qué toman los señores? (What are the men having?)

Note: Tomar can also be used in reference to ordering food and drinks in the sense of “to have,” in which case it is more idiomatic than tener. Otherwise, it means “to take.”

17. vivir — to live

yo vivo nosotros, nosotras vivimos
tú vives vosotros, vosotras vivís
él, ella, usted vive ellos, ellas, ustedes viven

Example: Vivimos en España desde hace 5 años. (We’ve been living in Spain for 5 years.)

18. necesitar — to need

yo necesito nosotros, nosotras necesitamos
tú necesitas vosotros, vosotras necesitáis
él, ella, usted necesita ellos, ellas, ustedes necesitan

Example: ¡Necesito tu ayuda! (I need help!)

19. quedar — to stay, to meet

yo quedo nosotros, nosotras quedamos
tú quedas vosotros, vosotras quedáis
él, ella, usted queda ellos, ellas, ustedes quedan

Example: Quedamos con Juan a las 8 en frente del cine. (We’re meeting Juan in front of the movie theater at 8.)

20. venir — to come

yo vengo nosotros, nosotras venimos
tú vienes vosotros, vosotras venís
él, ella, usted viene ellos, ellas, ustedes vienen

Example: ¿Cuándo vienes a visitarme? (When are you coming to visit me?)

Ready to learn more Spanish?
Bianca Trepte
Bianca is from Dresden, Germany and has been with Babbel since 2017. She studied in Germany, Spain, England and Chile, earning degrees in European and Latin American Studies. When she is not busy discussing the best methods for language learning with her colleagues, she loves travelling, dancing, dogs, chocolate and the sea.
Bianca is from Dresden, Germany and has been with Babbel since 2017. She studied in Germany, Spain, England and Chile, earning degrees in European and Latin American Studies. When she is not busy discussing the best methods for language learning with her colleagues, she loves travelling, dancing, dogs, chocolate and the sea.

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