Ayudar in Spanish: Conjugation, Meaning & Uses

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

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

What does ‘Ayudar’ mean?

Definition – In Spanish, ayudar means ‘to aid’, ‘to help’ or ‘to assist’. This verb is used to express that a person (or object) provides assistance so another person can solve a problem. It is most commonly translated as ‘to help’.

‘Ayudar’ has a reflexive form (ayudarse). Below are some of the most common translations for this verb. 

  1. When expressing that a person or object helps someone else, ‘ayudar’ means ‘to help’, ‘to assist’, or ‘to aid’
  2. The pronominal form ayudarse can be translated as ‘to help oneself’ or ‘to help each other’ if referring to two or more people. 

‘Ayudar’ Conjugations 

In Spanish, ‘ayudar’ is a regular verb. This means that when conjugating ‘ayudar’, its verb stem does not change. And, as a result, you just need to follow the conjugation model for each tense.  

Keep in mind that the form ayudarse requires a reflexive conjugation which just means that, in addition to following the patterns presented in the conjugations charts below, you need to add the proper reflexive pronoun

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Present tense conjugation

As a regular verb, to conjugate ayudar, you need to remove the ending of the verb (-AR) and add the conjugation endings for the person you need. 

YoAyudoI help
AyudasYou help
Él / Ella / UstedAyudaHe/She helps
NosotrosAyudamosWe help
VosotrosAyudáisYou help
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasAyudanThey/You help

Preterite tense conjugation

In the preterite tense, ayudar doesn’t present any irregularity. Meaning that after you identified the stem (ayud), you need to use the underlined endings. 

YoAyudéI helped
AyudasteYou helped
Él / Ella / UstedAyudóHe/She helped
NosotrosAyudamosWe helped
VosotrosAyudasteisYou  helped
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasAyudaronThey/You helped

Imperfect tense conjugation

YoAyudabaI helped
AyudabasYou helped
Él / Ella / UstedAyudabaHe/She helped
NosotrosAyudábamosWe helped
VosotrosAyudabaisYou  helped
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasAyudabanThey/You helped

Future tense conjugation

When conjugating ayudar in the future tense, you do not need to work with the verb stem. This is because in the future tense, you’ll just make sure to add the corresponding endings to the infinitive verb.  

YoAyudaréI will help
AyudarásYou will help
Él / Ella / UstedAyudaráHe/She will help
NosotrosAyudaremosWe will help
VosotrosAyudaréisYou will help
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasAyudaránThey/You will help

Conditional tense conjugation

Just like in the future, ayudar in the conditional tense requires you to work with the infinitive verb and add the proper endings (underlined) for each person.

YoAyudaríaI would help
AyudaríasYou would help
Él / Ella / UstedAyudaríaHe/She would help
NosotrosAyudaríamosWe would help
VosotrosAyudaríasYou would help
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasAyudaríanThey/You would help

Progressive Tenses

Spanish conjugation chart ayudar in progressive tenses

Clara está ayudando a Paty
Clara is helping Patty

Perdón, estábamos ayudando con la comida
Sorry, we were helping with the food

Perfect Tenses

Conjugation chart Spanish perfect tenses

En el pasado, he ayudado en eventos de caridad locales
I have helped with local charity events in the past

Molly sí te había ayudado
Molly had helped you

Ayudar Subjunctive Conjugations

Present subjunctive conjugation

Ayudar in Spanish present subjunctive is a regular verb. This means that you will use the stem ayud and will add the subjunctive endings for each person. 

YoAyudeTo help
AyudesTo help
Él / Ella / UstedAyudeTo help
NosotrosAyudemosTo help
VosotrosAyudéisTo help
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasAyudenTo help

Imperfect subjunctive conjugations

I helped
You helped
Él / Ella / UstedAyudara
He/She helped
We helped
You  helped
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasAyudaran
They/You helped

Perfect subjunctive 

Spanish conjugation chart showing the conjugations for ayudar in the perfect subjunctive

Espero que esto te haya ayudado
I hope that this has helped you

¿Por qué no me dijiste? Yo te hubiera ayudado
Why didn’t you tell me? I would have helped you


Imperative conjugation

NosotrosAyudemosLet’s help

Take Note: To conjugate ‘ayudar’ in the negative imperative, you need to add the word No before the conjugated verb. Note in negative commands, follows the conjugation of the present subjunctive. 

¡No me ayuden! Yo puedo sola
Don’t help me! I got it

Oye, no ayudes a tu hermano a hacer la tarea
Hey, don’t help your brother with his homework

How to Use ‘Ayudar’ in Spanish (with examples)

These are the different situations where you can use the verb ayudar in Spanish:

  1. As a synonym of ‘to help’, ‘to aid’ or ‘to assist’ 
  2. As a pronominal verb
  3. To express that an object solves or make things easier for people

In the sections below we’ll provide examples and phrase structures that will help you apply ayudar in your daily conversations. 

To say of ‘to help’, ‘to aid’

Ayudar is the direct translation of ‘to help’, ‘to aid’ or ‘to assist’. As a result, it can be used to describe that a person is helping another to do something (an action) or with something (activity or thing).

Below are some examples and phrase structures that you can follow to create your own sentences with it in this context. Notice that each structure works with a verb or noun depending if you’re talking about helping with an action or with an object. 

[Indirect object pronoun]+ [ayudar conjugated] + a + [complement]

Mañana, ayudaré a mi mamá a preparar la comida
Tomorrow, I’ll help my mom to prepare lunch

Si fueras más amable, yo te ayudaría a estudiar
If you were nicer, I would help you study

[Indirect object pronoun]+ [ayudar] + con + [determiner] + [noun]

Matt me ayudó con mi tarea
Matt helped me with my homework

¿Me ayudas con estas bolsas?
Can you help me with these bags?

As a pronominal verb

As established before, ayudarse is the pronominal form of ‘ayudar’. This means that, depending on the context, this verb can work as a reflexive verb to express that a person is helping him or herself, or as a reciprocal verb to express that two or more people help each other. 

[Ayudarse conjugated] + [complement]

Debes ayudarte a ti misma
You must help yourself

Ustedes siempre se ayudaban en todo
You girls always helped each other on everything

Mis amigos y yo nos ayudamos cuando tenemos problemas
My friends and I help each other when we have troubles

To express that an object helps people

In Spanish, ‘ayudar’ can also be used to express that an object or activity makes things easier or helps people to solve certain problems. Below there are some phrases structures that you can use. 

If you want to express what is the activity that you’re getting help to resolve, you need to use the following structure. Note that the verb in infinitive helps you describe the activity that you’re referring to. 

[Indirect object pronoun]+ [ayudar] + a + [verb in infinitive]

Estas pastillas le ayudarán a dormir
These pills will help you sleep

Este libro no me ayudó a aprender español
This book didn’t help me to learn Spanish

Escuchar música me ayuda a concentrarme mejor
Listening to music helps me concentrate better

If you want to put emphasis on the object that helps you, you can follow the next structure:

[Ayudar conjugated] + [preposition] + [object]

Para poder subir la montaña, nosotros podríamos ayudarnos con la soga
To climb the mountain, we could use the rope

Desde el accidente tiene que ayudarse de un bastón 
Since the accident, he has to use a walking stick

Ayudar Expressions & Idioms

Ayúdate que yo te ayudaré: This Spanish phrase is used to express that even though people might be receiving help, they need to have initiative and make the effort to improve their situation. It’s close in meaning to ‘God helps those who help themselves’. 

Al que madruga Dios le ayuda: This idiomatic phrase expresses that a person who arrives or starts an activity first has better chances of success. It’s close in meaning to ‘early bird gets the worm’. 

Echar una mano: It is an informal expression that is used either to ask for or describe that a person is helping another. ‘Echar una mano’ and its variation dar una mano mean ‘to give a hand’. 

Synonyms of ‘Ayudar’ in Spanish

Asistir: In Spanish, asistir can also be used to express that a person is providing help or support to someone. This verb is slightly more formal than ‘ayudar’ and can be translated as ‘to assist’ or ‘to help’.   

Auxiliar: Auxiliar is a formal synonym for ‘ayudar’. Given its characteristics, It’s more commonly used in hospitals, work environments and formal contexts. It means ‘to help’, ‘to aid’ or ‘to assist’. 

Apoyar: Apoyar is a synonym of ‘ayudar’ and it expresses that a person provides help or collaborates with someone or with a cause in order to achieve something. It can be translated as ‘to support’ or ‘to help out’. 

Related Resources
How to Ask for Favors in Spanish
Conjugating Reflexive verbs 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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