Cerrar in Spanish: Conjugations, Meaning & Uses

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

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

What does ‘Cerrar’ mean?

In Spanish, ‘cerrar’ is the direct translation of ‘to close’. As a result, it is used to talk about closing or covering an object or place. It can also be used to express that someone is reluctant to try something new.  

Depending on the context, ‘cerrar’ can have different meanings in English. 

  1. When referring to the act of closing something, ‘cerrar’ is translated as ‘to close’, ‘to shut’, ‘to lock’, ‘to turn off’, ‘to button up’ or ‘to cover’.
  2. If describing a person manifesting unwillingness toward something, ‘cerrar’ means ‘to be closed’, ‘be close minded’, ‘dig in someone’s heels’.

‘Cerrar’ Conjugations 

In Spanish, ‘cerrar’ is an irregular verb. For this reason, the ‘e’ in the stem will change to ‘ie’ for some subjects and tenses. This spelling change is not applied to future, conditional, preterite and imperfect tenses.

graphic showing cerrar stem changes in spanish

In the conjugation charts below, I’ve included some descriptions that will help you understand cerrar changes in Spanish. 


Present tense conjugation

To conjugate to the present tense, cerrar has some irregularities that you need to keep in mind. So, the stem for ‘nosotros’ and ‘vosotros’ is cerr while for the rest of the subjects it’s cierr’.

YoCierroI close
CierrasYou close
Él / Ella / UstedCierraHe/She closes
NosotrosCerramosWe close
VosotrosCerráisYou close
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasCierranThey/You close

Preterite tense conjugation

In the preterite tense, ‘cerrar’ is a regular verb. Therefore, you’ll only need to add the proper endings to regular stem cerr.

YoCerréI closed
CerrasteYou closed
Él / Ella / UstedCerróHe/She closed
NosotrosCerramosWe closed
VosotrosCerráisYou closed
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasCerraronThey/You closed

Imperfect tense conjugation

Since in this tense it’s a regular verb, to conjugate ‘cerrar’ to the imperfect tense, you need the stem cerr’.

YoCerrabaI closed
CerrabasYou closed
Él / Ella / UstedCerrabaHe/She closed
NosotrosCerrábamosWe closed
VosotrosCerrabaisYou closed
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasCerrabanThey/You closed

Future tense conjugation

To conjugate ‘cerrar’ to the future tense, you’ll have to add the future endings to the infinitive verb.

YoCerraréI will close
CerrarásYou will close
Él / Ella / UstedCerraráHe/She will close
NosotrosCerraremosWe will close
VosotrosCerraréisYou will close
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasCerraránThey/You will close

Conditional tense conjugation

YoCerraríaI would close
CerraríasYou would close
Él / Ella / UstedCerraríaHe/She would close
NosotrosCerraríamosWe would close
VosotrosCerraríaisYou would close
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasCerraríanThey/You would close

Progressive Tenses

graphic showing how to conjugate cerrar to progressive tenses

Muchos negocios están cerrando por la pandemia.
Many businesses are closing due to the pandemic.

Un cliente llegó cuando ya estábamos cerrando el restaurante.
A customer arrived when we were closing the restaurant.

Perfect Tenses

graphic showing how to conjugate cerrar in spanish perfect tenses

Pensé que tú habías cerrado la cajuela.
I thought you had locked the trunk.

Esta herida aún no se ha cerrado.
This wound hasn’t closed yet.

Cerrar Subjunctive Conjugations

Present subjunctive conjugation

To conjugate to the present subjunctive nosotros and vosotros will use the stem cerr while the rest of the subjects will use cierr’.

YoCierreTo close
CierresTo close
Él / Ella / UstedCierreTo close
NosotrosCerremosTo close
VosotrosCerréisTo close
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasCierrenTo close

Imperfect subjunctive conjugations

When conjugating to the imperfect subjunctive, you’ll need to add the proper endings to the stem cerr.

YoCerrara / CerraseI closed
Cerraras / CerrasesYou closed
Él / Ella / UstedCerrara / CerraseHe/She closed
NosotrosCerráramos / CerrásemosWe closed
VosotrosCerrarais / CerrasesYou closed
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasCerraran / CerrasenThey/You closed

Perfect subjunctive

graphic showing how to conjugate cerrar to spanish perfect subjunctive

Si no hubieras cerrado la ventana, el viento habría tirado todo.
If you hadn’t closed the window, the wind would have blown everything away.

¿Crees que Jorge haya cerrado la puerta?
Do you think Jorge closed the door?


Imperative conjugation

Notice that the stem for and ustedes is cierr, while for the rest it’s cerr. Also keep in mind that to conjugate this verb to the negative imperative, you’ll use the present subjunctive conjugation.

NosotrosCerremosLet’s close

[‘Cerrar’ in imperative] + [complement]

Va a llover, cierren las ventanas.
It’s going to rain, close the windows.

¡Cierra la puerta cuando salgas!
Close the door when you leave! 

No + [‘Cerrar’ in present subjunctive] + [noun]

No cierres los ojos.
Don’t close your eyes.

Oigan, no cierren la puerta, Luis está abajo. 
Hey guys, don’t close the door, Luis is downstairs. 

How to Use ‘Cerrar’ in Spanish with Examples

As mentioned earlier, ‘cerrar’ is translated as ‘to close’ and it functions very similarly in English and Spanish.

  1. To describe the act of closing something
  2. To express reluctance

In the next sections, I’ll provide some examples accompanied by their phrase structures to help you practice creating your own sentences.

Talking about closing something

In Spanish, ‘cerrar’ means ‘to close’ or ‘to shut’. So, most of the time, this verb can be used the same as in English. However, depending on what you’re closing, the translation could vary. 

For example, when talking about some types of clothes it can be translated as ‘to button up’, ‘to fasten’ or ‘to zip up’, but if you refer to a faucet, ‘cerrar’ means to ‘turn off’.

[‘Cerrar’ conjugated] + [definite article] + [noun]

¿Cerraste la llave de la regadera?
Did you turn off the shower faucet?

Cerraré las cortinas para que no entre luz.
I will close the curtains so the light doesn’t come through.

¿A qué hora cierra el supermercado?
What time does the supermarket close?

Julián me dijo que cerrara la puerta con llave. 
Julian told me to lock the door

If instead of focusing on the thing that is being closed, you want to talk about the time when something closes, you’ll need to use the following structure. Notice in example #3 that if you don’t want to say a specific hour, you can use an adverb of time. 

[‘Cerrar’ conjugated] + a + [definite article] + [time]

Cerramos a las diez de la noche.
We close at ten at night.

Mañana estaremos cerrando a las cuatro
Tomorrow, we’ll be closing at four

Señorita, ¿por qué están cerrando tan temprano?
Miss, why are you closing so early?

To express reluctance to new ideas

When describing a person that is not open to new ideas, activities or arguments, ‘cerrar’ is used as a reflexive verb (cerrarse) and it means ‘to be closed’, ‘to be closed minded’, ‘to dig in someone’s heels’ or ‘to close yourself off’.

[Reflexive pronoun] + [‘cerrar’ conjugated] + [complement]

¿Por qué te cierras a probar nuevos sabores?
Why do you close yourself off tasting new flavors?

Le ofrecí alternativas pero siempre se cierra.
I offered her alternatives but she is always closed-minded.

 [‘Cerrar’ in infinitive form] + [reflexive pronoun] + [complement]

No me gusta cerrarme a nuevas experiencias.
I don’t like closing myself off to new experiences.

No puedes cerrarte a conocer nuevas personas.
You cannot close yourself off to meeting new people.

Cerrar Expressions & Idioms

Cerrar con broche de oro describes a spectacular way to finish something, usually an event. It can be translated as ‘to give a grand finale’ or ‘to close with a final flourish’.

Cerrar el asunto is used to express that someone is giving a final conclusion to a certain matter. It’s close in meaning to ‘end a letter’ or ‘wrapping something up’. 

Abrir y cerrar de ojos refers to something that happened in an instant. It means ‘in the blink of an eye’.

Cerrar con llave describes the act of locking a door. It’s translated as ‘to lock’.

Cerrar el pico is an informal way to ask someone to shut up in Spanish and it can be translated as ‘shut it’ or simply ‘shut up’.  

Synonyms of ‘Cerrar’ in Spanish

Tapar means ‘to cover’ or ‘to put a lid on’.

Bloquear is the direct translation of ‘to block’. It is used in more formal contexts.

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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