Aprender in Spanish: Conjugation, Meaning & Uses


In this short guide, we will cover the following topics for ‘aprender’ in Spanish:

  1. What does ‘Aprender’ mean?
  2. ‘Aprender’ Conjugations
  3. How to Use ‘Aprender’ in Spanish
  4. Expressions & Idioms with ‘Aprender’
  5. Synonyms of ‘Aprender’ in Spanish

What does ‘Aprender’ mean?

Definition –  ‘Aprender’ is the direct translation of ‘to learn’. As a result, it can be used to express that someone is acquiring knowledge or skills by studying or through experience. Additionally, it can also be used to describe that a person memorized certain information

  1. When talking about acquiring new knowledge or skills, ‘aprender’ means ‘to learn’. 
  2. It means ‘to memorize’ or ‘to learn’ when expressing that a person learned something by heart. 

Take Note: Aprender and aprehender can be easily confused since their spelling and pronunciation is very similar. Nevertheless, ‘aprehender’ means ‘to apprehend’, ‘to catch’, ‘to capture’ someone or something. 

‘Aprender’ Conjugations 

In Spanish, ‘aprender’ is a regular verb. This means that the stem won’t change when conjugating and that you just need to add the proper endings for each tense. 

Below there are some conjugation charts showing how to conjugate aprender in Spanish. 

Indicative

Present tense conjugation

To conjugate ‘aprender’, you need to remove the ending ‘-er’ and add the proper endings for each subject. Below, I’ve underlined these endings for you. 

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoAprendoI learn
AprendesYou learn
Él / Ella / UstedAprendeHe/She learns
NosotrosAprendemosWe learn
VosotrosAprendéisYou  learn
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasAprendenThey/You learn

Preterite tense conjugation

Just like other tenses, to conjugate ‘aprender’ in the past tense, you need to use the stem aprend. Remember that in some conjugations you need to add an accent mark (for yo, él, vosotros). 

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoAprendíI learned
AprendisteYou learned
Él / Ella / UstedAprendHe/She learned
NosotrosAprendimosWe learned
VosotrosAprendistéisYou  learned
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasAprendieronThey/You learned

Imperfect tense conjugation

As a regular -ER verb, aprender uses the following endings (underlined) in the imperfect tense.  

PersonConjugationTransation
YoAprendíaI learned
AprendíasYou learned
Él / Ella / UstedAprendíaHe/She learned
NosotrosAprendíamosWe learned
VosotrosAprendíaisYou  learned
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasAprendíanThey/You learned

Future tense conjugation

Aprender in the future tense doesn’t require you to work with the stem. In fact, you’ll add the corresponding endings to the infinitive verb. Check the examples below. 

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoAprenderéI will learn
AprenderásYou will learn
Él / Ella / UstedAprenderáHe/She will learn
NosotrosAprenderemosWe will learn
VosotrosAprendreréisYou will learn
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasAprenderánThey/You will learn

Conditional tense conjugation

Just like the future tense, if you want to conjugate ‘aprender’ in conditional tense, you’ll work with the verb in infinitive form. Below I’ve underlined the endings you need to use. Be aware that conditional conjugations require you to use an accent mark. 

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoAprenderíaI would learn
AprenderíasYou would learn
Él / Ella / UstedAprenderíaHe/She would learn
NosotrosAprenderíamosWe would learn
VosotrosAprenderíaisYou  would learn
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasAprenderíanThey/You would learn

Progressive Tenses

Spanish conjugation chart for progressive tenses aprender

Mañana, estaremos aprendiendo conjugaciones
Tomorrow, we’ll be learning conjugations

Yo estoy aprendiendo a bailar
I’m learning to dance

Perfect Tenses

Spanish conjugation chart perfect tenses for aprender

Jim no ha aprendido a hablar español
Jim hasn’t learned to speak Spanish

Si tuvieras más tiempo, tú habrías aprendido a dibujar
If you had more time, you could have learned to draw

Aprender Subjunctive Conjugations

Present subjunctive conjugation

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoAprendaTo learn
AprendasTo learn
Él / Ella / UstedAprendaTo learn
NosotrosAprendamosTo learn
VosotrosAprendáisTo learn
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasAprendanTo learn

Imperfect subjunctive conjugations

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoAprendiera
Aprendiese
I learned
Aprendieras
Aprendieses
You learned
Él / Ella / UstedAprendiera
Aprendiese
He/She learned
NosotrosAprendiéramos
Aprendiésemos
We learned
VosotrosAprendierais
Aprendieseis
You learned
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasAprendieran
Aprendiesen
They/You learned

Perfect subjunctive

Spanish conjugation chart perfect subjunctive aprender

Ojalá hayan aprendido algo de esta situación
I hope you guys have learned something from this situation

Imperative’

Imperative conjugation

If you want to give commands with ‘aprender’, you’ll still use the stem aprend and add the necessary endings. 

PersonConjugationTranslation
AprendeLearn
NosotrosAprendamosLet’s learn
VosotrosAprendedLearn
UstedesAprendanLearn

Take Note: Notice that in the negative imperative, follows the present subjunctive conjugation (aprendas). Additionally, to conjugate this verb, you just need to add  the word No before the verb.

¡No aprendas esas palabras! 
Don’t learn those words

How to Use ‘Aprender’ in Spanish with Examples

The main uses of the verb ‘Aprender’ are:

  1. To talk about acquiring knowledge and skills
  2. Memorizing information

Below there are some examples and phrase structures that will help you understand how to use aprender to build your own coherent sentences.

Talking about acquiring knowledge and skills

Translated as to learn in Spanish, ‘aprender’ is basically used to talk about learning and acquiring knowledge through experience, practice or studying. 

Notice that the verb in infinitive form describes the activity or skill that you’re learning. 

[Aprender conjugated] + a + [verb in infinitive]

Claudia aprende a tocar la guitarra
Claudia learns to play the guitar

Cuando tenía 5 años, aprendí a andar en bicicleta
When I was 5 years old, I learned to ride a bicycle

Nosotros nunca aprenderemos a cocinar
We’ll never learn to cook 

Additionally, you can also use the following structure. 

[Aprender conjugated] + a + [determiner] + [noun]

Dylan aprendió los números en el kinder
Dylan learned the numbers in kindergarten

¡Aprende un idioma! Te va a ayudar en tu carrera
Learn a language! It’s going to help you in your career 

Take Note: By adding negative words such as No, nunca or jamás, you can create negative sentences that express things that you didn’t or won’t learn. 

Memorizing information

Just like in English, in Spanish, we can use aprender when expressing that a person memorized some information such as names, dates, phone numbers, topics, etc. To express this, we use the reflexive form aprenderse which means ‘to learn by heart’ or ‘to memorize’. 

[Aprenderse conjugated] + [noun]

¿Te aprendiste las conjugaciones?
Did you memorize the conjugation? 

Camila se aprende los nombres de las calles
Camila learns the names of the streets

Fue muy fácil aprenderme tu número telefónico
It was very easy to memorize your phone number

Take Note: Notice that a Spanish reflexive conjugation follows the same patterns that we saw in the previous conjugations charts. You just need to make sure to add the corresponding reflexive pronoun.  

Aprender Expressions & Idioms

In addition to help talk about your learning process, aprender can also help you improve your vocabulary through some idiomatic expressions. Here are some common expressions with ‘aprender’ that you might want to learn. 

Lo que bien se aprende, nunca se olvida. This Spanish idiomatic phrase expresses that when a person learns something very well, it will stick in his or her memory no matter how much time has passed. It can be translated as ‘a lesson well learned is never forgotten’’. 

Aprender a golpes: In Spanish, aprender a golpes is an expression that describes that a person learned something through painful or difficult experiences. It’s the direct translation of ‘to learn the hard way’. ‘Aprender a golpes’ has a variation you can also use, aprender a palos. 

Aprender de tus errores. This Spanish phrase is used to express that a person needs to reflect on the mistakes they made and learn from them. It means ‘learn from your mistakes’.

Synonyms of ‘Aprender’ in Spanish

Estudiar: In Spanish, ‘estudiar’ is used to express that a person is going through a learning process to acquire some type of knowledge. This verb is the direct translation of ‘to study’. Given that estudiar is a standard term, it can be applied to both formal and informal contexts.

Memorizar: Memorizar expresses that a person retained some information (such as names, dates, numbers, etc) in her or his memory. As a result, this verb is a synonym of aprenderse. ‘Memorizar’ is the direct translation of ‘to memorize’ and it can be applied in formal and informal situations. 

Instruirse: In Spanish, instruirse is a more formal synonym of ‘aprender’. It implies that a person is acquiring knowledge or skills on their own. Notice that in this context we use the reflexive form since ‘instruir’ means to teach. ‘Instruirse’ can be translated as ‘to teach oneself’, ‘to be educated’ or ‘to broaden your mind’. 

Related Resources
How to Conjugate Reflexive Verbs
How to Use Imperfecto in Spanish

Daniela Sanchez

¡Hola! Soy Daniela Sanchez, I’ve taught Spanish in Mexico to a wide array of foreigners. From students and tourists to doctors and soldiers who’ve moved and visited here over the years. During the day I’m a freelancer and marketer, while at night I’m here writing for students of the world wide web looking to learn Spanish. I hope you find what you’re looking here during your journey into Español 🙂 Read More About Me

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