Aprobar in Spanish: Conjugations, Meanings & Uses


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

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

What does ‘Aprobar’ mean?

Definition – ‘Aprobar’ means to approve or to pass. As a result, we use this verb to express that something or someone is good or sufficient. Additionally, aprobar also describes that a person successfully completed a test or course. 

The meaning of this verb changes depending on the context. Here are some definitions that will help you understand how to use it.

  1. When talking about agreeing or accepting something or someone, ‘aprobar’ is translated as ‘to approve’.
  2. If referring to passing a course or test, it means ‘to pass’.

‘Aprobar’ Conjugations 

Overall, ‘aprobar’ is a regular verb in Spanish. However, in order to make the pronunciation easier, this verb has some irregularities in the present indicative, present subjunctive and imperative.

graphic showing aprobar changes in spanish

Although this might sound overwhelming, in the following conjugation charts I’ll provide you with descriptions that will help you understand when and how to deal with these irregularities. 

Indicative

Present tense conjugation

To conjugate aprobar in the present tense, we use two stems. The regular stem ‘aprob’ is used when conjugating nosotros and vosotros. The rest of the subjects will work with the irregular stem ‘aprueb’.  

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoaprueboI approve
apruebasYou approve
Él / Ella / UstedapruebaHe/She approve
NosotrosaprobamosWe approve
VosotrosaprobáisYou approve
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasapruebanThey/You approve

Preterite tense conjugation

In the preterite tense, aprobar is a regular verb. This means that the stem you use to conjugate will not change. 

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoaprobéI approved
aprobasteYou approved
Él / Ella / UstedaprobóHe/She approved
NosotrosaprobamosWe approved
VosotrosaprobasteisYou approved
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasaprobaronThey/You approved

Imperfect tense conjugation

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoaprobabaI approved
aprobabasYou approved
Él / Ella / UstedaprobabaHe/She approved
NosotrosaprobábamosWe approved
VosotrosaprobabaisYou approved
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasaprobabanThey/You approved

Future tense conjugation

The future tense of aprobar is created by attaching the corresponding endings (underlined in the table below) to the verb in the infinitive form. So, instead of a stem, start with aprobar as a whole. 

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoaprobaréI will approve
aprobarásYou will approve
Él / Ella / UstedaprobaráHe/She will approve
NosotrosaprobaremosWe will approve
VosotrosaprobaréisYou will approve
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasaprobaránThey/You will approve

Conditional tense conjugation

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoaprobaríaI would approve
aprobaríasYou would approve
Él / Ella / UstedaprobaríaHe/She would approve
NosotrosaprobaríamosWe would approve
VosotrosaprobaríaisYou would approve
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasaprobaríanThey/You would approve

Progressive Tenses

Estamos evaluando y aprobando las próximas vacunas.
We’re testing and approving the next vaccines.

Perfect Tenses

La última vacuna no ha sido aprobada en Norteamérica.
The last vaccine hasn’t been approved in North America.

Aprobar Subjunctive Conjugations

Present subjunctive conjugation

In the present subjunctive, ‘aprobar’ uses its regular stem ‘aprob’ for nosotros and vosotros; while you’ll need to use the irregular stem aprueb’ for the rest of the subjects. 

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoapruebeI approve
apruebesYou approve
Él / Ella / UstedapruebeHe/She approves
NosotrosaprobemosWe approve
VosotrosaprobéisYou approve
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasapruebenThey/You approve

Imperfect subjunctive conjugations

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoAprobara / aprobaseI approved
Aprobaras / aprobasesYou approved
Él / Ella / UstedAprobara / aprobaseHe/She approved
NosotrosAprobáramos / aprobásemosWe approved
VosotrosAprobarais / aprobaseisYou approved
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasAprobaran / aprobasenThey/You approved

Perfect subjunctive

Ojalá tu hermano haya aprobado su examen. 
I hope your brother passed his exam. 

Imperative

Imperative conjugation

Just like the present subjunctive conjugation, aprobar in the imperative tense uses two stems.  ‘Aprob’ is only applied for nosotros and vosotros. On the other hand, ‘aprueb’ is used for and ustedes.

PersonConjugationTranslation
apruebaYou approve
NosotrosaprobemosWe approve
VosotrosaprobadYou approve
UstedesapruebenThey/You approve

[‘Aprobar’ in imperative] + [complement] 

Aprueben su examen o tendrán problemas.
Pass your test or you will be in trouble.

Aprobemos el presupuesto de marketing. 
Let’s approve the budget for marketing.

When using the negative imperative (i.e. telling someone not to do something), use the appropriate present subjunctive form of ‘aprobar’ instead. Here’s the phrase structure and some examples:

No + [‘aprobar’ present subjunctive] + complement

No apruebes ese tipo de conductas irrespetuosas.
Do not condone such disrespectful behavior.

Por favor, no aprueben el uso de armas. 
Please, do not approve the use of guns.

How to Use ‘Aprobar’ in Spanish with Examples

There are two main uses of the verb ‘aprobar’ in Spanish:

  1. To say ‘to approve’
  2. When explaining that you passed a test or course

In the sections below, I’ll provide you with a few examples and descriptions of how to use this verb in Spanish. Make sure you use the phrase structure as guidance to build your own examples. 

To say ‘to approve’

In Spanish, we use the verb ‘aprobar’ to agree on an opinion or to describe that someone considers that something is right or good enough. As a result, in this context, ‘aprobar’ means ‘to approve’. 

[‘Aprobar’ conjugated] + [determiner] + [noun] 

El entrenador aprobó el desempeño del corredor.
The coach approved the runner’s performance.

Mi hermana no aprueba el mal comportamiento de sus hijos.
My sister does not approve of her children’s bad behavior.

El comité aprobó nuestro proyecto.
The committee approved our project.

¿Crees que nos aprueben el préstamo que pedimos?
Do you think they’ll approve the loan that we asked for?

Talking about passing a course or test

Another use of the verb ‘aprobar’ in Spanish is when describing that a person passed a test or a course. In this case, ‘aprobar’ is translated as ‘to pass’ or ‘to approve’. This meaning is usually applied in learning environments, but it can also be used when talking about passing a standardized test or benchmark.   

[Aprobar conjugated] + (definite article) + [noun]

Aprobé el examen de admisión, en agosto empiezan mis clases.
I passed the admission exam, and my classes start in August.

Todos aprobamos el curso de español para principiantes.
We all passed the Spanish course for beginners.

Si no estudiamos, no aprobaremos matemáticas.
If we don’t study, we won’t pass Maths. 

La nueva Range Rover Sport pasó la prueba de emisiones.
The new Range Rover Sport passed the emissions test.

Aprobar Expressions & Idioms

Here we have a few expressions in Spanish that use the verb ‘aprobar’. Take a look at the definition and translation in English so you understand when to apply it. The examples show you how to conjugate it along with other prepositions and nouns.

Aprobar por los pelos: This expression means to achieve something by a small margin or to barely reach something. It can be translated as ‘to pass by the skin of your teeth’ or ‘to barely pass’.

Aprobar de panzazo: In Spanish, this expression is also used when someone barely passes an exam or manages to achieve something. It can be translated as ‘to pass by the skin of your teeth.

Synonyms of ‘Aprobar’ in Spanish

Pasar: Although this is the direct translation of ‘to pass’, ‘pasar’ is a more casual way to express that someone passes a test or course. 

Admitir: When talking about someone who agrees or accepts something as satisfactory, this Spanish verb can be used instead of ‘aprobar’. It is translated as ‘to admit’. 

Aceptar: If we are speaking about allowing, consenting or agreeing to something, this verb can be used instead of ‘aprobar’. It is the translation of ‘to accept’.

Permitir: In case we are talking about agreeing or accepting something, ‘aprobar’ can be substituted for this verb. It is the translation of ‘to allow’ or ‘to permit’.

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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