One of the first things you’ll learn about Spanish verbs is that, depending on their ending, they’re classified as -AR, -IR, and -ER verbs. Since knowing how to identify and conjugate them is crucial to learning Spanish, in this article, you’ll find key information about -ER verbs in Spanish.
The topics we will cover include:
- What Are -ER Verbs
- Conjugating -ER Verbs in Spanish (with Conjugation Chart)
- Difference Between -ER and -IR verbs in Spanish
- Most Common -ER Verbs
What Are -ER Verbs in Spanish?
-ER verbs in Spanish are verbs that end with the letters -er. For example:
Check these examples below:
As you can see, there are some small differences to consider when conjugating -ER verbs in Spanish. In the charts below, you’ll learn the -ER endings for the most common Spanish tenses.
Conjugating -ER Verbs in Spanish
We recently studied a verb frequency corpus provided by el Instituto de Verbología Hispánica. We found that almost 8.8% of the most common verbs we use in Spanish are -ER verbs. So, it’s important to get comfortable conjugating these verbs.
To conjugate a Spanish -ER verb, you must replace its infinitive ending with the ending appropriate for the tense you need. Keep in mind that this rule is only applicable for regular -ER verbs.
Irregular verbs may use different endings, or their stem may completely change. As for stem-changing verbs, you must use the endings in the conjugation charts below. Just be aware that these verbs will have some minor changes in their stem.
|Él / Ella / Usted||-e||-ió||-ía||-á||-ía||-a||-a|
|Ellos / Ustedes||-en||-ieron||-ían||-án||-ían||-an||-an|
Below are some examples. Try to identify the tense I used in each one of these sentences for practice:
[Subject] + [verb conjugated] + [complement]
Yo bebo mucho café.
I drink too much coffee.
Allison perdió sus llaves.
Alison lost her keys.
¿Volverás a las ocho?
Will you be back at eight?
¡Barran su cuarto, por favor!
Sweep your room, please!
No creo que ella quiera ir.
I don’t think she wants to go.
Mis cuñadas bebían mucho café.
My sisters-in-law used to drink a lot of coffee.
Simon y Betty se conocieron hace cinco años
Simon and Betty met five years ago.
What Is the Difference Between -ER and -IR Verbs in Spanish?
From a conjugation perspective, -ER and -IR verbs in Spanish are conjugated the same way in most tenses. The tenses where these types of verbs have different endings for ‘nosotros’ and ‘vosotros’ are the present tense and the imperative.
Noticing the similarities between Spanish -ER and -IR verbs can make conjugations easier. Below, you will find examples with the verbs comer and vivir, so you can better understand the similarities between these types of verbs.
Carlos come mucho.
Carlos eats a lot.
Doug vive muy lejos.
Doug lives very far.
Nosotros comemos mucho.
We eat a lot.
¿Donde vivís, chicas?
Where do you guys live?
¡Comed, por favor!
Vivid con ella.
Live with her.
Most Common -ER Verbs in Spanish
Even though -AR verbs may be more common in our language, -ER verbs in Spanish are also an important part of your vocabulary. For that reason, in this article, you’ll find a list with the most common -ER verbs that you should know.
- Aprender – To learn
- Arder – To burn/To sting
- Atrever – To dare
- Barrer – To sweep/To clear out
- Beber – To drink
- Comer – To eat
- Comprender – To comprehend/To understand
- Correr – To run/To fire
- Coser – To sew
- Deber – Must/To owe
- Depender – To depend/To rely on
- Esconder – To hide
- Lamer – To lick
- Meter – To put/To get into
- Prometer – To promise
- Responder – To answer
- Romper – To break
- Suspender – To suspend
- Toser – To cough
- Vender – To sell
- Agradecer – To thank
- Aparecer – To appear
- Caber – To fit
- Caer – To fall/To collapse
- Cocer – To boil/To cook
- Coger – To take/To catch
- Conocer – To know/To meet
- Convencer – To convince
- Crecer – To grow
- Creer – To believe/To think
- Defender – To defend
- Desaparecer – To disappear
- Desenvolver – To unwrap/To manage
- Deshacer – To undo/To get rid of
- Desobedecer – To disobey
- Devolver – To return
- Distraer – To distract/To do for fun
- Doler – To hurt
- Encender – To turn on/To ignite
- Encoger – To shrink
- Entender – To understand
- Envolver – To wrap/To involve
- Escoger – To pick
- Extender – To spread
- Haber – To have/To be
- Leer – To read
- Llover – To rain
- Merecer – To deserve
- Morder – To bite
- Mover – To move
- Nacer – To be born/To rise
- Obedecer – To obey
- Oler – To smell
- Parecer – To seem
- Perder – To lose
- Poder – Can/To be able to
- Poner – To put
- Proponer – To propose
- Querer – To want
- Recoger – To pick up
- Remover – To remove/To stir
- Retorcer – To twist
- Saber – To know
- Suponer – To suppose
- Tener – To have
- Torcer – To twist
- Traer – To bring
- Valer – To be worth
- Ver – To see
- Volver – To come back
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Most Common -ER Regular Verbs in Spanish
Below, I’ve compiled a list of the most common regular -ER verbs that you need to know along with explanations and examples of how to use them. Remember that these are regular verbs, which means you will be using the same conjugation patterns and endings with each one of these verbs.
Aprender – To learn
As the direct translation of ‘to learn’, ‘to memorize’ or ‘to pick up’, aprender in Spanish is used to talk about the process of acquiring knowledge or memorizing something. With this meaning, ‘aprender’ is always followed by a verb in the infinitive form, which helps you express the activity learned.
Aprenderás a hablar español en un año.
You will learn to speak Spanish in a year.
¿Cuándo aprendiste a manejar tan bien?
When did you learn to drive so well?
Arder – To burn/To sting
In Spanish, the verb arder expresses that an object is burning or too hot. But, it can also describe a sensation of heat or sting in any part of the body. Therefore, it can be translated as ‘to burn’ or ‘to sting’. Arder can work with indirect object pronouns to emphasize who or what is burning.
El bosque ardió por casi una semana.
The forest burned for almost a week.
Me arden los ojos por la cebolla.
My eyes burn from the onion.
Atrever – To dare
The verb atrever expresses that someone dares to do an activity or take a risk. We can also use this verb in other contexts to describe that a person is insolent or cheeky. So, depending on the situation, it can be translated as ‘to dare’, ‘to be sassy’ or ‘to be cheeky’. ‘Atrever’ is a Spanish pronominal verb, which means that it follows a reflexive conjugation.
Yo no me atrevo a saltar en bungee.
I don’t dare to bungee jump.
¿Cómo se atreven a hablarme de esa manera?
How dare you talk to me like that?
Barrer – To sweep/To clear out
If you’re learning Spanish house vocabulary, barrer is one of the most common verbs that you’ll use to talk about cleaning activities. In this context, it’s the direct translation of ‘to sweep’. However, in other situations, ‘barrer’ can be used to talk about defeats or describe that something was eliminated or wiped out. So, ‘barrer’ can also mean ‘to clean out’, ‘to clear out’, ‘to sweep away’ or ‘to wipe out’.
Ayer barrí la sala y la cocina.
Yesterday I swept the living room and the kitchen.
Barrieron con todas mis cosas, no dejaron nada.
They cleaned out everything. There’s nothing left.
Beber – To drink
Beber is one way of saying ‘to drink’ in Spanish. Although it can refer to different types of beverages, it may only refer to alcohol in some contexts. In some countries, its synonym ‘tomar’ is more commonly used since ‘beber’ may sound too formal.
Anoche bebimos hasta las 4 am.
Last night we drank until 4 am.
Bebí demasiado café y ahora no puedo dormir.
I drank too much coffee, and now I can’t sleep.
Comer – To eat
As a beginner or tourist looking to learn basic Spanish, you need to get familiar with the verb ‘comer’. Since it means ‘to eat’, comer allows you to describe your eating habits or food preferences.
Come algo antes de irte.
Eat something before you leave.
La pizza que comimos el martes estaba riquísima.
The pizza we ate on Tuesday was delicious.
Comprender – To comprehend/To understand
The direct translation of comprender is ‘to comprehend’, but it can also be translated as ‘to understand’ since it refers to having a clear idea of something.
Necesito que comprendas.
I need you to understand.
¿Comprendiste lo que dijo el profesor?
Did you understand what the teacher said?
Correr – To run/To fire
When talking about exercising or doing something quickly, the verb ‘correr’ means ‘to run’. However, in Spanish, this word can also be used to talk about firing someone from their job or kicking a person out of a particular place. As a result, correr can also mean ‘to fire’, ‘to dismiss’, ‘to expel’ or ‘to kick out’.
Alex corrió un maratón.
Alex ran a marathon.
¿Te corrieron del trabajo?
Did they fire you from work?
Coser – To sew
In Spanish, the verb coser describes that two parts or objects are joined together using a thread and needle. As a result, ‘coser’ can be translated as ‘to sew’ or ‘to stitch up’.
¿Quieres que cosa ese botón?
Do you want me to sew that button?
Mi amor, necesitamos coserte la herida.
Honey, we need to stitch that wound.
Take Note: Although they may sound the same, coser and cocer are not synonymous. In Spanish, ‘cocer’ refers to cooking and preparing food, while coser means ‘to sew’.
Deber – Must/To owe
In Spanish, the verb deber means ‘must’ when talking about obligations or speculations. However, it can be translated as ‘to owe’ if referring to debt. Also, when working with the impersonal pronoun ‘se’, deber means ‘to be due to’ since it’s used to talk about the things that cause a certain result.
Debo pagar todo el dinero que le debo al banco.
I must pay all the money I owe to the bank.
Caminaste mucho, debes estar cansado.
You walked a lot, you must be tired.
Depender – To depend/To rely on
In Spanish, the verb depender is the direct translation of ‘to depend’, ‘to be up to’, ‘to rely on’ or ‘to depend on’. Therefore, we use this verb to talk about choices, responsibilities, and to express that a person or object may rely on someone else to do something. This verb always works with the preposition de.
Dependes mucho de tus padres.
You rely too much on your parents.
La universidad que elijas dependerá de tus calificaciones.
Your choice of college will depend on your grades.
Esconder – To hide
Esconder or its reflexive form esconderse is a verb that describes the action of putting something or someone in a secret place that’s out of sight. This means that it can be translated as ‘to hide’ or ‘to conceal’.
¿Dónde se escondió tu hermano?
Where did your brother hide?
Esconde el pastel, es una sorpresa.
Hide the cake. It’s a surprise.
Lamer – To lick
The Spanish verb ‘lamer’ expresses that a person or animal rolls their tongue over something. Therefore, it’s translated as ‘to lick’. Depending on what you want to say, ‘lamer’ will be followed by an indirect object or reflexive pronoun.
El perro me lamió la mano.
The dog licked my hand.
Los gatos lamen su pelaje para limpiarlo.
Cats lick their fur to clean it.
Meter – To put/To get into
In Spanish, the verb meter has three primary uses. First, it can be used to express that someone put something inside a place. In other contexts, it can describe that a person got involved in a situation. And finally, it can also be used to talk about a person’s new job or occupation. So, depending on the context, ‘meter’ means ‘to put’, ‘to get into’, ‘to get involved’, ‘to start’ or ‘to meddle in’.
Metí el dinero en la caja fuerte.
I put the money in the safe.
No te metas en problemas.
Don’t get into trouble.
Prometer – To promise
As the direct translation of ‘to promise’, prometer is used to talk about promises and commitments in Spanish. However, in formal contexts, ‘prometer’ can also be used to talk about someone’s or something’s potential. It can be translated as ‘to be promising‘ in this context.
Prometiste que no volverías a llegar tarde.
You promised you wouldn’t be late again.
Yo nunca prometo cosas que no puedo cumplir.
I never promise things that I cannot do.
Responder – To answer
Responder is the literal translation of ‘to respond’, ‘to answer’ or ‘to reply’. As a result, it expresses that someone or something is giving some type of response to a question or request. If you want to point out to whom you’re responding, you’ll need to use indirect object pronouns.
¿Por qué no respondiste lo que te pregunté?
Why didn’t you answer what I asked you?
Alicia nunca responde los mensajes.
Alicia never answers messages.
Romper – To break
Given that the Spanish verb romper is mainly translated as ‘to break’, it’s used to talk about breaking or shattering objects, such as a cup or a bone. However, it can also refer to ending a romantic relationship. You will need to combine this verb with object pronouns in some cases.
Me rompí la nariz jugando fútbol.
I broke my nose playing soccer.
Cuidado, no rompas ese cristal.
Be careful, don’t break that glass.
Suspender – To suspend
The most common use of suspender in Spanish is to express that an activity or event was canceled. In an academic environment, this verb describes that a student is not allowed to attend school for a certain period of time. So, depending on the context, ‘suspender’ can be translated as ‘to cancel’ or ‘to suspend’.
Me suspendieron por una semana.
I was suspended for a week.
Suspenderán el festival debido al clima.
They will cancel the festival due to the weather.
Toser – To cough
As the direct translation of ‘to cough’, toser is an essential word to learn since it allows you to talk about some of your symptoms.
El bebé tosió toda la noche.
The baby coughed all night.
Detesto cuando toses sin taparte la boca.
I hate when you cough without covering your mouth.
Vender – To sell
Since it’s the direct translation of ‘to sell’ or ‘to sell out’, vender describes the action of exchanging a service or product for money. However, in a colloquial context, it also expresses that someone betrayed someone for money.
¿Venden productos de belleza?
Do you sell beauty products?
Lo siento, ya se nos vendieron todos los boletos.
I’m sorry, the tickets are sold out.
Most Common Irregular -ER Verbs in Spanish
As you may already know, in Spanish, we have stem-changing verbs, which are verbs that experience some small changes to their stem (such as adding a vowel or replacing one consonant for another). Overall, these changes are made to maintain the word’s pronunciation as much as possible.
However, other -ER verbs have more significant changes when being conjugated. These are irregular verbs, and unlike stem-changing verbs, they don’t follow a clear conjugation pattern. Although they can be challenging, both sets of verbs are essential when learning Spanish.
So, below, you’ll find a list with the most common -ER stem-changing and irregular verbs in Spanish.
Agradecer – To thank
Agradecer indicates that a person is showing gratitude to someone or something. In other words, this verb is a formal way of saying ‘thank you’ in Spanish. In many cases, this verb may be accompanied by indirect object pronouns, which allows you to specify who you’re saying thank you to or what you’re thankful for.
Te agradezco que hayas venido.
Thank you for coming.
No me agradezcas, estoy para ayudar.
Don’t thank me, I’m here to help.
Aparecer – To appear
In Spanish, both aparecer and its reflexive form aparecerse indicate that something or someone becomes visible to the speaker’s sight. Usually, this verb is used when referring to missing objects or things we may not have seen. Therefore, ‘aparecer’ can be translated as ‘to appear’, ‘to materialize’, ‘to show up’ or ‘to turn up’.
Apareció un mensaje en la pantalla.
A message appeared on the screen.
Aparecieron mis aretes favoritos después de meses de buscarlos.
My favorite earrings turned up after months of searching.
Caber – To fit
In Spanish, the verb caber describes whether an object has enough space to contain someone or something else. As a result, it’s translated as ‘to fit’. Notice that ‘caber’ is never used to talk about fitting into clothes or shoes.
¿Crees que quepamos los seis en tu carro?
Do you think the six of us would fit in your car?
Ese escritorio es muy grande, no cabrá en mi oficina.
That desk is too big. It won’t fit in my office.
Caer – To fall/To collapse
Caer is a very rich verb in Spanish. As the direct translation of ‘to fall’, we use this verb to describe that a person or object fell. It also expresses that a system or organization collapsed or stopped working. Mexican Spanish speakers also use caer to give their opinion about someone. So, depending on the context, ‘caer’ means to:
- Go down
Luis se cayó de la patineta.
Luis fell off the skateboard.
La hermana de Sandra me cae mal.
I do not like Sandra’s sister.
Cocer – To boil/To cook
In Spanish, cocer is a verb you’ll use very often when cooking or being in the kitchen. Depending on the situation, this verb can refer to the action of boiling, roasting or cooking something.
Coce las papas, por favor.
Cook the potatoes, please.
Cocí las verduras durante quince minutos.
I boiled the vegetables for fifteen minutes.
Coger – To take/To catch
In Castilian Spanish, coger is translated as ‘to take’, ‘to catch’ or ‘to apprehend’. As a result, depending on the context, coger can be used to talk about catching a disease or a suspect, grabbing something or someone, or taking (or boarding) any means of transportation.
Cogimos el tren de Barcelona a Madrid.
We took the train from Barcelona to Madrid.
Cogí las llaves y salí de casa.
I took the keys and left the house.
Take Note: In Latin America, this word usually has a sensual connotation. As a result, Spanish speakers from this side of the world use tomar instead of ‘coger’.
Conocer – To know/To meet
Although it’s translated as ‘to know’, conocer is only used to express that someone is familiar with a particular topic or place. This verb also describes the places or people that a person knows. In this case, ‘conocer’ means ‘to meet’ or ‘to be acquainted with’ and usually works with direct object pronouns.
Nos conocimos en una fiesta.
We met at a party.
Conozco un poco sobre historia del arte.
I know a little about art history.
Take Note: Since they both mean ‘to know’, Spanish learners often assume that conocer and saber are interchangeable. If you experience this issue, you may want to learn the differences between conocer and saber in Spanish.
Convencer – To convince
In Spanish, when talking about being persuasive or changing people’s minds, we use the verb convencer, which is the direct translation of ‘to convince’.
No me convencen tus argumentos.
I am not convinced by your arguments.
¿Convenciste a tu mamá de que te dejara ir a la fiesta?
Did you convince your mom to let you go to the party?
Crecer – To grow
To express that something or someone is increasing in size or quantity, we use the verb crecer, which means ‘to grow’. When creating sentences with this verb, you can use adverbs to point out how much something has grown.
Este árbol creció mucho durante la primavera.
This tree grew a lot during the spring.
Creciste muchísimo desde la última vez que nos vimos.
You’ve grown a lot since the last time we saw each other.
Creer – To believe/To think
While creer is a verb that describes belief and trust, it’s also the most common word that people use in everyday conversations to express opinions, thoughts or assumptions. Therefore, creer can be translated as ‘to believe’ and ‘to think’.
Yo no creo en la astrología.
I don’t believe in astrology.
Creo que mañana no tenemos clase de química.
I think we don’t have chemistry class tomorrow.
Defender – To defend
The verb defender is used to talk about protecting or standing up for something, either physically, verbally or ideologically. As a result, it can be translated as ‘to defend’ or ‘to stand up for’.
Él siempre defendió sus ideales.
He always stood up for his ideas.
Ulysses me defendió del asaltante.
Ulysses defended me from the robber.
Desaparecer – To disappear
In Spanish, the verb desaparecer expresses that a person, object or animal vanished. As a result, this verb can be translated as ‘to disappear’, ‘to vanish’ or ‘to go missing’.
Últimamente muchas cosas desaparecen en esta casa.
Lately, many things have disappeared in this house.
Los cassettes desaparecieron cuando llegaron los CDs.
Cassettes disappeared when CDs arrived.
Desenvolver – To unwrap/To manage
In Spanish, desenvolver means ‘to unwrap’ when removing the cover or wrapping from something. When used as a reflexive verb, desenvolverse describes someone’s performance or behavior in a certain situation. Therefore, it can be translated as ‘to get on’ or ‘to manage’ in this situation. In formal contexts, it means ‘to unfold’ since it explains how a situation developed.
Los estudiantes se han desenvuelto muy bien este año.
The students have managed themselves very well this year.
La historia se desenvuelve en un pequeño pueblo.
The story unfolds in a small town.
Deshacer – To undo/To get rid of
In Spanish, the verb deshacer is typically used to express that someone is taking action to reverse or undo something. When referring to food or materials, it expresses that something is melting or dissolving. Spanish speakers use its reflexive form to describe that they’re getting rid of something or someone. Depending on the context, ‘deshacer’ means to:
- Get rid of
Me deshice de toda mi ropa vieja.
I got rid of all my old clothes.
Deshaz esta costura y vuélvela a hacer otra vez.
Undo this stitch and do it again.
Desobedecer – To disobey
Desobedecer is the antonym of obedecer, which means it describes someone not doing as they’re told and is translated as ‘to disobey’. Just like obedecer, this verb is sometimes accompanied by object pronouns that specify to whom or what the person is not obeying.
Si me desobedeces te voy a castigar.
If you disobey me, I will punish you.
¿Por qué desobedeces a tus maestros?
Why do you disobey your teachers?
Devolver – To return
In Spanish, devolver expresses that a person is returning something to someone else. As a result, it can be translated as ‘to return’, ‘to give back’, ‘to take back’ or ‘to send back’. As a transitive verb, when using devolver, you’ll need to specify what you’re returning.
Los de la tienda nunca nos devolvieron el dinero.
The store never gave us our money back.
¿Le devolviste su blusa a Renata?
Did you give Renata her blouse back?
Distraer – To distract/To do for fun
Distraer or its reflexive form distraerse are both used to talk about distractions. Depending on the context, distraer can be translated as ‘to distract’, ‘get distracted’, ‘to amuse’ or ‘to do for fun’.
No hagas tanto ruido, distraes a los demás.
Don’t make so much noise; you distract others.
¿Qué haces para distraerte cuando estás aburrido?
What do you do for fun when you’re bored?
Doler – To hurt
The Spanish verb doler expresses physical or emotional pain. As a result, it can be translated as ‘to hurt’ or ‘to ache’. Keep in mind that its conjugation will be singular or plural depending on what hurts. Additionally, you’ll need to add indirect pronouns to point out who is in pain.
¿Te duele mucho?
Does it hurt a lot?
Albert dijo que le duele la cabeza.
Albert said his head hurts.
Encender – To turn on/To ignite
In Spanish, we typically use the verb encender to express that an electric device started functioning. In English, it means ‘to turn on’ or ‘to switch on’. However, you can also use it to express that someone is starting a fire. In this case, encender means ‘to light’, ‘to ignite’ or ‘to start’.
Enciende la computadora, por favor.
Turn on the computer, please.
La televisión no encendió, creo que se fue la luz.
The TV didn’t turn on. I think the power went out.
Encoger – To shrink
Encoger and its reflexive form encogerse express that something gets smaller. While usually referring to clothing, these verbs can also be used to describe the posture of a person. In both cases, ‘encoger’ means ‘to shrink’.
Mi blusa favorita se encogió.
My favorite blouse shrunk.
Espero que este vestido no se encoja cuando lo meta a la lavadora.
I hope this dress doesn’t shrink when I put it in the washing machine.
Entender – To understand
Entender in Spanish can be used as a synonym for comprender, which means that it can be translated as ‘to understand’ or ‘to get’.
Creo que el mesero no entendió lo que le dije.
I think the waiter didn’t understand what I said.
Si no entienden algo, no duden en preguntar.
If you don’t understand something, don’t hesitate to ask.
Envolver – To wrap/To involve
The verb envolver translates as ‘to wrap’, ‘to cover’ or ‘to envelop’ since it describes the action of completely covering something with another material. In other contexts, it can also be used to express that a person is involved in a certain situation. With this meaning, ‘envolver’ can be translated as ‘to involve’ or ‘to implicate’.
¿Envolviste los regalos de navidad?
Did you wrap the Christmas presents?
No envuelvas esa caja todavía.
Don’t wrap that box yet.
Escoger – To pick
Escoger in Spanish is a verb that refers to decision-making. Because of this, it can be translated as ‘to pick’ and ‘to choose’.
Yo escogería el vestido rojo.
I would choose the red dress.
Escoge lo que quieras, yo lo pago.
Pick the one you like the best.
Extender – To spread
Depending on the context, extender can have different meanings. It’s more commonly used to explain that something is growing or propagating to another place. However, it can also describe that someone is stretching a body part to reach something. So, depending on the meaning, ‘extender’ can be translated as:
- To spread out
- To lay out
- To reach out
- To stretch out
- To expand on
Extiende las sábanas para que se sequen.
Spread the sheets out to dry.
Ya casi se acaba la clase, no me extenderé tanto.
Class is almost over, I won’t go on so long.
Haber – To have/To be
To build compound tenses in Spanish, such as the present perfect, you need to use the verb haber. With these structures, haber is the direct translation of ‘to have’. However, you can also use this verb to describe the people or things that are in place. In this context, ‘haber’ means ‘to be’.
¿Por qué no has terminado de comer?
Why haven’t you finished eating?
Hay dos galletas en la mesa. Te las puedes comer.
There are two cookies on the table. You can have them.
Leer – To read
Leer is the Spanish equivalent of ‘to read’. As a result, we use this verb to talk about reading written documents, but also people.
Leí 8 libros el año pasado.
I read 8 books last year.
Hilda leyó un poema en Mandarín.
Hilda read a poem in Mandarin.
Llover – To rain
If you want to learn to describe the weather in Spanish, you need to add llover to your vocabulary since it’s the direct translation of ‘to rain’. Although this verb is mostly used to talk about the weather, it can also be used figuratively to express that someone received a significant amount or quantity of something.
¿Crees que llueva?
Do you think it will rain?
Esta semana me llovieron muchas ofertas de trabajo.
This week I received a lot of job offers.
Merecer – To deserve
The verb merecer conveys that a person or thing is worthy of something. As a result, it’s translated as ‘to deserve’ or ‘to be worthy of’. When creating sentences, ‘merecer’ is followed either by a noun or a verb. Additionally, you’ll need to add reflexive pronouns to point out who is deserving of that.
Me merezco un descanso.
I deserve a break.
No mereces todo lo que he hecho por ti.
You don’t deserve everything I’ve done for you.
Morder – To bite
In Spanish, morder means ‘to bite’. If you want to explain who bit you, you may need to use indirect object pronouns.
Mi perro me mordió mientras jugaba.
My dog bit me while playing.
No dejes que el niño muerda eso.
Don’t let the kid bite into that.
Mover – To move
Mover is translated as ‘to move’. Therefore, it can be used in numerous situations that involve changing places or changing posture. You can use reflexive or direct object pronouns depending on what you want to express.
¿Quién movió el escritorio?
Who moved the desk?
No te muevas, hay una abeja en tu cabello.
Don’t move, there’s a bee in your hair.
Nacer – To be born/To rise
The verb nacer in Spanish means ‘to be born’. So, it describes the moment where a living being came into the world. In formal contexts, ‘nacer’ can mean ‘to rise’ or ‘to originate from’ when talking about the origin or beginning of something.
El hijo de George nació hace una semana.
George’s son was born a week ago.
Este proyecto nació del deseo por ayudar a la comunidad.
This project originated from the desire to help the community.
Obedecer – To obey
The Spanish verb obedecer, which means ‘to obey’, expresses that someone complies with the rules or does as they are told. In formal situations, ‘obedecer’ is used to talk about the causes of something or a synonym of ‘to respond’.
Matías, obedece a tus maestros.
Matías, obey your teachers.
Si no obedeces te voy a castigar.
If you don’t obey I will punish you.
Oler – To smell
Oler is one of the Spanish verbs for the senses. As the equivalent of ‘to smell’ or ‘to stink’, it’s used to talk about perceiving odors as well as emitting them. Keep in mind that oler is one of the most irregular verbs in Spanish. Notice that the verb’s root spelling changes dramatically when conjugated.
Qué rico huele esa pizza.
That pizza smells delicious.
¿Tú también hueles eso?
Do you smell that too?
Parecer – To seem
The verb parecer allows Spanish speakers to talk about people’s appearances and resemblances. Additionally, it can also be used to express assumptions about something or to share an observation. So, depending on the situation, parecer can be translated as ‘to seem’, ‘to look like’, ‘to look’, ‘sounds good/bad’ or ‘to appear’.
Parece que este invierno será muy frío.
It looks like this winter will be very cold.
Julieta se parece mucho a su mamá.
Julieta looks like her mom a lot.
Perder – To lose
In Spanish, we use perder to talk about losses and defeats. So, with this meaning, this verb is the direct translation of ‘to lose’. If you’re a tourist in a Spanish-speaking country, you may want to learn its reflexive form, perderse, which means ‘to get lost’.
Nos perdimos en el museo.
We got lost in the museum.
Siempre pierdo mi celular.
I always lose my cell phone.
Poder – Can/To be able to
Poder is probably one of the most important -ER verbs in Spanish. Since it’s the direct translation of ‘can’ and ‘to be able to’, poder is used to talk about a person’s ability or capacity to do something. With certain tenses, ‘poder’ expresses possibility. So, in this case, it can be translated as ‘could’ or ‘may’.
When creating sentences, ‘poder’ is always followed by an infinitive verb. If you want to talk about possibilities, this verb will always be haber. Check the examples below:
No puedo abrir esta botella.
I can’t open this bottle.
Pudiste haber llamado antes.
You could have called earlier.
Poner – To put
In Spanish, poner is another rich verb with multiple meanings. As a synonym of ‘to put’, it’s used to talk about placing objects. It can also be used to refer to clothing, in which case, it would be translated as ‘to put on’ or ‘to wear’. Additionally, it means ‘to open’ when expressing that a person opened a new business and ‘to give’ when referring to school grades.
Si quieres, pon tus cosas aquí.
If you want, put your things here.
Mañana me pondré el vestido azul.
Tomorrow, I’ll put the blue dress on.
Proponer – To propose
In Spanish, the verb proponer has two main meanings. It means ‘to propose’ or ‘to suggest’ when talking about suggesting something. However, it can be translated as ‘to decide’ or ‘to resolve’ if talking about a person’s ambitions and resolutions.
Notice that proponer is built with the suffix poner, which means it follows the same conjugation pattern as ‘poner’.
Propongo una nueva estrategia de trabajo.
I propose a new work strategy.
Me propuse correr todas las mañanas.
I decided to run every morning.
Querer – To want
Since it allows you to express your feelings and wishes, querer is another crucial -ER verb that you need to learn. Depending on the context, ‘querer’ can be translated as ‘to want’ or ‘to love’. Notice that if you’re talking about activities you wish to do, you’ll need to use an infinitive verb.
Quiero pedir comida italiana.
I want to order Italian food.
Los quiero mucho, amigos.
I love you very much, guys.
Take Note: Both amar and querer are verbs that express love. However, they express a slightly different degree of affection. Querer is not as intense as ‘amar’, so you can use it with family and friends.
Recoger – To pick up
In Spanish, recoger is another verb that people use to express that they’re cleaning or organizing things. In different contexts, it’s also used to talk about collecting or picking up people or objects. So, depending on the context, it means ‘to pick up’, ‘to gather up’ and ‘to clean up’.
¿Recogiste tu cuarto?
Did you clean up your room?
Mi papá me recogió en la mañana.
Dad picked me up in the morning.
Remover – To remove/To stir
Remover is the direct translation of ‘to remove’ when used to talk about setting something aside or removing someone from their position. However, if it’s used to provide cooking instructions, this verb means ‘to stir’.
Remueva los ingredientes durante un minuto.
Stir ingredients for one minute.
Lo removieron de su puesto.
They removed him from his position.
Retorcer – To twist
Despite being very similar to torcer, retorcer is more frequently used as the equivalent of ‘to wring’. Although it can describe that an object was bent, retorcer can also be used to talk about twisting someone’s words or ideas. In this case, this verb means ‘to twist’ or ‘to distort’.
El gusano se retorció en el suelo.
The worm writhed on the ground.
Retorcieron mis palabras y ahora creen que estoy loco.
They twisted my words, and now they think I’m crazy.
Saber – To know
Saber is the Spanish equivalent of ‘to know’. Although it can be confused with the verb ‘conocer’, saber describes a person’s knowledge or understanding of a certain topic. When talking about the abilities to do something, ‘saber’ is close in meaning to ‘can’.
¿Disculpe, sabe dónde se encuentra el baño?
Excuse me, do you know where the bathroom is?
Charles sabe hablar inglés, francés y un poco de español.
Charles can speak English, French, and a little Spanish.
Suponer – To suppose
In Spanish, you can use the verb suponer to express speculations or assumptions. As you can imagine, this verb is the equivalent of ‘to suppose’, ‘to guess’ or ‘to imagine’. Notice that suponer’s suffix is ‘poner’, which means that these two verbs share the same conjugation pattern.
No responde, supongo que está ocupada.
She doesn’t answer, I suppose she’s busy.
Supuse que estarías dormida.
I imagined you’d be asleep.
Tener – To have
Tener is another essential Spanish -ER verb. ‘Tener’ allows you to express possession, talk about obligations, describe feelings and physical conditions, and say your age. So, tener either means ‘to be’ or ‘to have’ depending on the situation.
Tengo un nuevo número de teléfono.
I have a new phone number.
Puedo prender el aire acondicionado si tienes calor.
If you’re hot I can turn on the air conditioning.
Take Note: Although it’s the direct translation of ‘to have’, in Spanish, tener is never used to build compound tenses such as the present perfect. For these cases, we use haber. Since they’re very important verbs, you need to understand the difference between ‘tener’ and ‘haber’ in Spanish.
Torcer – To twist
Torcer means ‘to twist’, ‘to bend’ or ‘to sprain’. As a result, it’s more commonly used to talk about injuries. However, Spanish speakers also use this verb as a formal synonym of ‘to turn’ or describe deforming or bending an object.
Me torcí el tobillo.
I twisted my ankle.
¿Por qué torciste el tenedor?
Why did you bend the fork?
Traer – To bring
As the equivalent of ‘to bring’, in Spanish, the verb traer expresses that someone is moving an object to the speaker’s location. In addition to this meaning, ‘traer’ also describes the clothing or accessories that a person is wearing at the moment of speaking.
¿Trajiste el libro que te pedí?
Did you bring the book I asked for?
¿Has visto a Dan? Trae una sudadera roja.
Have you seen Dan? He’s wearing a red sweatshirt.
Valer – To be worth
Valer is a Spanish verb whose meaning varies depending on the situation where it’s being applied. For example, in some situations, it refers to an object’s price, value or validity. In Mexican slang Spanish, it expresses a person’s indifference or apathy towards something. So, depending on the context, valer can be translated as ‘to cost’, ‘to be worth’, ‘to be allowed’ or ‘to not care’.
¿Cuánto vale un bitcoin?
How much is a bitcoin worth?
Eso es trampa, no vale.
That’s cheating, it’s not allowed.
A mí me vale lo que pienses.
I don’t care what you think.
Ver – To see
Ver describes the act of perceiving things through the sense of sight. However, in conversational Spanish, it can be used as a way to say that a person is spending time with someone. Depending on the meaning, ‘ver’ can be translated as: ‘to see’, ‘to watch’, ‘to look’, ‘to hang out’, ‘to understand’, ‘to go over’ or ‘to consider’.
¿Viste alguna película nominada al Oscar?
Did you watch any Oscar-nominated movies?
Si tuviera más tiempo, vería más seguido a mis abuelos.
If I had more time, I would see my grandparents more often.
Volver – To come back
In Spanish, volver expresses the idea of returning to a certain place. When used with this purpose, this verb can be translated as ‘to come back’ and ‘to return’. Volver can be combined with other verbs to describe that an action is taking place again.
Volví a comprar comida china.
I bought Chinese food again.
El perrito de Ricardo nunca volvió a su casa.
Ricardo’s puppy never returned home.