Welcome back, reader! if you are here means that you are interested in speaking Spanish! This post is a good way to start. We’ll study the topic by excellence to start communication: the present simple in Spanish! Also known as present indicative. You’ll find the 4 principal uses of the simple present in Spanish and examples.
If you’re interested, keep readding or watch the video if you prefer:
WHAT IS THE PRESENT SIMPLE AND HOW WORKS IN SPANISH?
We’ll begin by saying that our purpose here is not going through the framework of the language even less, getting into the complexity of the philosophy of language. We’ll try to «keep simple» and achieve the most important goal: communication.
One of the most incredible faculties we have as humans is being able to talk about the things that happened in the past but also be able to talk about the future as much as we can express a lot more ideas, such as possibilities, desires, orders,etc. To be able to do this, we’ll separate the tense easily in three: Present, past and future (AKA «absolute times»)
Once we’ve identified them, let’s going to say it there is more than just a simple way to express the different tenses, and we’ll have a bunch of them, always belonging (more or less) to these three lines: present, past and future. These times appear in the moods indicative and subjunctive.
Present simple or Present Indicative
Then we have the time and mood. let’s explore the uses and possibilities of this grammatical tense.
Present indicative in a «regular way»
We use thepresent to talk about things that happen at the moment we speak. Often you’ll find the adverb while: «(yo) Trabajo mientras los niños están a la escuela» (I work while the kids are at the school.
We use it also when we don’t wanna share too much information and, because of that, we just make a list of short sentences. This is very common in routines (you can see the picture above)
Linked to the definition of: «things happen at the moment we speak», we use the present indicative with general ideas or those ones considered as «universal truth». It happens a lot with verb to be. Read the following sentences:
- «Los egipcios son una de las más increibles civilizaciones antiguas» (the Egyptians are one of the most incredible civilizations)
- «Nunca conocemos a alguien completamente» (We never know anyone completely)
- «Hoy en día prestamos más atención al cuidado del medio ambiente» (Today we pay more attention to caring for the environment)
Present Simple in Spanish with habitual actions
Here, we’ll find adverbs of frequency such as Always, never, usually,every.. etc.
This use included daily routines, habits, hobbies, obligations, traditions, in summary, things we do every certain period of time.
Examples like these are the following :
- Debe ser una equivocación, joven. Yo pago mi tarjeta -puntualmente- cada mes. (it must be a mistake, young man. I pay my card on time , every month)
- Anualmente, la compañía ofrece un bonus a los empleados más destacados. anuncian a los ganadores durante la cena (Year after year, the company offers a bonus to the most outstanding employees. winners are announced at dinner)
- Todos los días leo las noticias mientras tomo mi café. (I read the news every day while I drink my coffee)
In a special creative way, we use the present tense to talk about the past in a «more interesting way». Could we say…in a more narrative way? of course!
You can see this use in written literature, either in literature or historical narrative, newspapers, biographies, documentaries, and more expressions all with the purpose of making the event or the story closer to the present and get the sympathy of the audience.
Algunos ejemplos son los siguientes:
- Llega a la capital a los 13 años con el sueño de ser un artista.
- Son las 9:00 y los niños van a la cama, unos más rápido que otros. Apagan las luces y revisan que en la mesa, estén las galletas que han dejado para Santa.
- Una nueva explosión sacude la central nuclear de Fukushima
Expressing future by using the present tense
We use often the present indicative to talk about the near future. This is always accompanied by an adverb of frequency such as: siempre (always), usually (usualmente), phrases like every day, every week,etc.. and adverbs of future: mañana (tomorrow) or phrases like el próximo año (next year) , las próximas vacaciones, las próximas fiestas (next holiday).
Ejemplos de este uso son los siguientes:
- Inician las clases presenciales en Enero del 2021. Los semáforos continuan en naranja pero se espera que cambien a luz verde para entonces.
- Viajamos a Chicago en dos semanas, si la situación lo permite.
- Programamos su cita para el siguiente martes en el horario habitual. ¿Está bien?
Conjugaciones del presente indicativo en español
Here we have the pain of many of you, the conjugations! Let’s start with the regular verbs… Yes! the graphic we all know
We can see similarities in the endings. First-person keeps the same form and seems like endings ER and IR are a little closer. Let’s see them in sentences:
- VERB: REIR (to laugh)->Ellos rien como locos siempre que se reunen /(they laugh like crazy every time they meet)
- VERB: PELEAR (to fight)-> Desde que nos peleamos, no sé nada de su vida (Since we fight, I don’t know anything about her life)
- VERB:CORRER (to run) -> este día corremos porque queremos ayudar a la causa (we run today because we want to collaborate with this cause)
Regarding the irregular verbs, we know it doesn’t exist a universal rule that covers all the cases. Some of these cases are: (1) when just the first grammatical person changes: ers like DECIR (to say) = «Yo digo», but the rest of the conjugations keep the regular form. Another example of this is HACER (to do/to make) =»Yo hago». (2) Some verbs ended in -guir, the spelling change to -go. An example of this is the verb PERSEGUIR ( to chase) Yo persigo/tú persigues/él,ella,ello persigue/ nosotros perseguimos/ellos persiguen/ustedes persiguen. But that’s a topic for a different post! 🙂
These are some of the most common irregular verbs of the simple present in Spanish
We hope it has been useful and you’ve enjoyed reading !
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Have you’ve checked already the post about the multiple uses of the verb hacer? what are you waiting for? Let us a comment! 🙂
I KEEP LEARNING: YO SIGO APRENDIENDO