Spanish Tenses

This series of lessons is all about the Spanish tenses. Find out about the major tenses used in Spanish and the patterns and conjugations that verbs make in each tense. All of the lessons on tenses have audio with voice recognition, so make sure you practice your pronunciation at the same time!

The term present progressive is a fancy way of describing the verb tense that emphasizes that an action is currently taking place as we speak. It is characterized by the verb “to be,” followed by a second verb that ends with –ing (the present participle). Found out how to use the present progressive tense in Spanish here.

The easiest tense to conjugate in Spanish is the future tense. The future tense expresses the highest degree of certainty that the action will occur. Find out more in this lesson.

The irregularities in the future tense in Spanish are a bit difficult to predict. You will be happy to know that ser and estar, which are irregular in almost every other tense, are completely regular in the future. Find out more here.

Previously, you learned about how to say, "I am walking," "I am singing," or "I am eating" in Spanish. What you didn't know was that there is a past progressive tense that is EXACTLY THE SAME as the present progressive, except that the verb estar is in the imperfect tense. That makes understanding the Spanish past progressive tense easy!

There is more than one past tense in Spanish. The two most common past tenses are the Spanish preterite and the imperfect. Get used to these terms! These tenses are used all the time to refer to actions that occur in the past. Just like ser and estar, you'll have to learn the difference between the preterite and imperfect, even though we don't have that difference in English.

  • indefinite (no definite start or end date) or
  • continuous or repeated or
  • took place over a period of time or
  • started in the past but continues into the present.

as opposed to events or actions that took place at a specific point in time (described by the preterite). Learn more about it in this lesson.

Once you start delving into the Spanish preterite, you’ll find that verbs start acting in very strange ways. Unfortunately, you are going to find many irregular verbs in the Spanish preterite tense. This tense lesson unravels all the mystery!

Learn how to use the Spanish verbs Dar, Ver, Ir and Ser in the preterite. With short verbs like dar and ver, the only irregularity in the preterite is one that you’ll find easy to accomplish. Ir and ser take on the exact same irregular preterite form! Learn more in this lesson on tenses.

You will find so many irregular verbs in the preterite tense that it’s not even funny. If you ARE truly dedicated to learning Spanish, you’ll put in the time necessary to memorize the handful of irregular patterns that occur. In this lesson on Spanish tenses we look at the verbs Leer, Saber and Traer in the preterite.

The future tense can be used in some unusual ways in Spanish. The strangest way is to express what is likely or what one guesses will happen. For example, if you wonder what time something will happen, where you will probably go, or what could possible be, you may use the future tense.

We combine tenses unthinkingly in English. “I was cooking when the phone rang.” “When the storm started, I was at home.” The problem is that, as native English speakers, we never stop to think about the fact that we’re combining different tenses. In fact, we rarely think about tenses in English at all: we simply use them! Find out how tense combinations are used in Spanish in this lesson.

Mauricio Evlampieff
Rocket Spanish

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