Conducir in Spanish: Conjugations, Meanings & Uses


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

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

What does ‘Conducir’ mean?

DefinitionConducir means ‘to drive’, ‘to lead’, ‘to conduct’ or ‘to host’. It can be used to describe that a person drives a vehicle, that an object carries energy, to express consequences or direction, and to describe that a person hosts a show. 

Its reflexive form conducirse is used to talk about a person’s behavior or conduct in a certain situation. In short, ‘conducir’ has multiple meanings in Spanish that vary depending on the contexts to which the verb is being applied. Below there are some common definitions and their corresponding translations in English. 

  1. When talking about the ability or expertise to drive or operate a vehicle, ‘conducir’ means ‘to drive’
  2. When talking about consequences or a path to a certain destination, ‘conducir’ means ‘to lead’. 
  3. If used to talk about a person’s behaviour, conducirse means ‘to behave’, ‘to act’ or ‘to conduct oneself’. 
  4. ‘Conducir’ means ‘to carry’ or ‘to transmit’ when describing that an object transmits energy, electrical current or fluids.  
  5. It means ‘to host’ if describing that a person presents or hosts a show. 

‘Conducir’ Conjugations 

In Spanish, conducir is an irregular verb. In other words, in order to conjugate it, the stem will have some changes in most of the tenses. However, there are a few exceptions. Conducir is regular when conjugating in imperfect, future and conditional.

As mentioned before, ‘conducir’ has a reflexive form. This means that conducirse follows the same patterns that you’ll use with the non-reflexive form. However, like any other Spanish reflexive conjugation, you need to add the proper pronoun for each person. 

Below there are some conjugation charts that will help you understand better how to conjugate ‘conducir’ in Spanish. 

Indicative

Present tense conjugation

Conducir in the present tense only has irregularities for the person ‘yo’. This means that for this person, you’ll use the conduz while for the rest of the subjects you’ll use conduc. Despite the irregularities, remember that ‘conducir’ is an -IR verb. So, make sure you add the proper endings underlined in the table below.

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoconduzcoI drive
conducesYou drive
Él / Ella / UstedconduceHe/She drives
NosotrosconducimosWe drive
VosotrosconducísYou drive
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasconducenThey/You drive

Preterite tense conjugation

In the preterite tense, ‘conducir’ is an irregular verb. To conjugate this verb, you’ll use the stem conduj for all the subjects. Notice that, just like other irregular verbs, in this case there’s no need to add accent marks to your conjugations.    

PersonConjugationTranslation
YocondujeI drove
condujisteYou drove
Él / Ella / UstedcondujoHe/She drove
NosotroscondujimosWe drove
VosotroscondujisteisYou drove
Ustedes / Ellos / EllascondujisteThey/You drove

Imperfect tense conjugation

Conducir in the imperfect tense is a regular verb. In other words, you just need to delete the ending of the verb (-IR) and add the underlined endings shown in the following conjugation chart.  

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoconducíaI drove
conducíasYou drove
Él / Ella / UstedconducíaHe/She drove
NosotrosconducíamosWe drove
VosotrosconducíaisYou drove
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasconducíanThey/You drove

Future tense conjugation

To conjugate in future tense, you’ll only use the verb in its infinitive form. To put it simply, just add the underlined endings on the table below to the infinitive form conducir.

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoconduciréI will drive
conducirásYou will drive
Él / Ella / UstedconduciráHe/She will drive
NosotrosconduciremosWe will drive
VosotrosconduciréisYou will drive
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasconduciránThey/You will drive

Conditional tense conjugation

Just like in the future tense, to conjugate to the conditional tense, you’ll add the proper conditional endings to the verb conducir. In other words, you’ll work with the full verb without removing its -IR ending. Make sure that you add the proper conditional endings for each subject (person). 

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoconduciríaI would drive
conduciríasYou would drive
Él / Ella / UstedconduciríaHe/She would drive
NosotrosconduciríamosWe would drive
VosotrosconduciríaisYou  would drive
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasconduciríanThey/You would drive

Progressive Tenses

Sam estuvo conduciendo toda la noche.
Sam was driving all night.

No puedo contestar el teléfono, porque estoy conduciendo.
I can’t pick up the phone, because I’m driving.

Perfect Tenses

Nunca he conducido un carro tan grande.
I have never driven a car this big.

¿Qué es lo más rápido que han conducido
What’s the fastest that you guys have driven?

Conducir Subjunctive Conjugations

Present subjunctive conjugation

In the present subjunctive, ‘conducir’ is an irregular verb. In this case, you’ll use the stem conduz for all the subjects and you’ll just add the corresponding endings for each one of them. I’ve underlined these endings in the table below. 

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoconduzcaTo drive
conduzcasTo drive
Él / Ella / UstedconduzcaTo drive
NosotrosconduzcamosTo drive
VosotrosconduzcáisTo drive
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasconduzcanTo drive

Imperfect subjunctive conjugations

To conjugate ‘conducir’ in the imperfect subjunctive, you need to use the stem conduj. Notice that for this tense you can choose between two different sets of endings (check the underlines below). 

PersonConjugationTranslation
Yocondujera / condujeseI drove
condujeras / condujesesYou drove
Él / Ella / Ustedcondujera / condujeseHe/She drove
Nosotroscondujéramos / condujésemosWe drove
Vosotroscondujerais / condujeseisYou drove
Ustedes / Ellos / Ellascondujeran / condujesenThey/You drove

Perfect subjunctive

Ojalá hayan conducido con más cuidado
I wish you had driven more carefully

Imperative

Imperative conjugation

In the imperative conjugation, conducir uses its regular stem conduc for ‘tú’ and ‘vosotros’. However, notice that for the rest of the plural forms, you’ll need to use conduzc’. 

PersonConjugationTranslation
ConduceDrive
NosotrosConduzcamosLet’s Drive
VosotrosConducidDrive
Ustedes/UstedesConduzca / ConduzcanDrive

Take Note: Given that the negative imperative follows the conjugations of the present subjunctive, in this case, ‘conducir’ will be irregular. Don’t forget to add the word ‘no’ before the verb. 

¡No conduzca en esta área! Zona escolar.
Do not drive in this area! School zone.

How to Use ‘Conducir’ in Spanish with Examples

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

  1. Talking about driving or operating a vehicle 
  2. To say ‘to lead’
  3. Describing a person’s behavior
  4. Explaining that an object transmits energy or current
  5. Explaining who hosts a show 

Below you’ll find examples and structures that will help you understand when and how to use ‘conducir’ for each one of these situations. 

Talking about driving or operating a vehicle 

As the direct translation of ‘to drive’, in Spanish, we use conducir to talk about the ability to operate or drive a vehicle. Notice that in this case, there are two main phrase structures that you could use. 

[‘Conducir’ conjugated] + (complement)

¡Qué lento conducen
You guys drive so slow!

Nosotros condujimos toda la noche.
We drove all night.

Por favor, ¡conduzcan con cuidado!
Please, drive carefully!

No deberías usar tu teléfono cuando estás conduciendo.
You shouldn’t use your phone while driving.

If you need to express the place that you or someone else is driving to, you’ll use the following phrase structure. This formula is also useful if you want to describe the driving speed. 

[Subject]+ [‘conducir’ conjugated] + a + [place/speed]

Mara siempre conduce a 50 kilómetros por hora.
Mara always drives at 50km per hour.

Todas las mañanas conduce a la oficina. 
Every morning I drive to the office.

To say ‘to lead

As a synonym of ‘to lead’, ‘conducir’ can be used to talk about direction (where something is leading you to) or about consequences. Here are some examples that you can use as guidance. 

[‘Conducir’ conjugated] + a + (determiner) + [complement]

Sigue este camino, te conducirá a la Carretera.
Follow this path, it will lead you to the highway. 

  Esta puerta conducía al cuarto de mi abuela.
This door led to my grandmother’s room.

Nuestra mala actitud nos condujo a un mal resultado.
Our bad attitude led us to a bad result. 

Take Note: When using ‘conducir’ to explain the consequences that an action or a decision leads you to, you can use nouns or verbs to describe that consequence. Compare example #3 with the sentence below. 

Su mala actitud la condujo a perder a sus amigas.
Her bad attitude led her to lose her friends.  

Describing a person’s behaviour

The reflexive form conducirse is formally used to describe a person’s behavior in a certain situation. As a result, in this context, ‘conducirse’ is translated ‘to behave’, ‘to act’ or ‘to conduct oneself’. 

[‘Conducir’ reflexive conjugated] + [complement]

El niño se condujo muy bien en el museo.
The boy behaved very well in the museum.

Claire se está conduciendo muy bien con los invitados.
Claire is acting very well with the guests.

¡Qué mal se condujo con la maestra! ¡Fueron unos groseros!
You conducted yourselves poorly with the teacher! You were so rude!

Describing people’s motives and reasons to do something

When we speak under the passive voice formula, the verb to drive is used to identify the impulse or behavior due to a reaction, feeling or emotion. In this case conducir means ‘to be driven by’. Below there are some examples and phrase structures that you can follow to create your own examples.  

[Subject / pronoun]+ [to be] + participio + by+ [complement]

Muchas personas son conducidas por las drogas a ejecutar actos delictivos.
Many people are driven by drugs to carry out criminal acts.

Carlos fue conducido por la euforia cuando ganó la lotería.
Carlos was driven by euphoria when he won the lottery.

Quiero ser conducido por la felicidad el resto de mi vida. 
I want to be driven by happiness for the rest of my life.

Explaining that an object transmits energy or current

When talking about materials, we use conducir in Spanish to describe the abilities of an object to transmit energy, fluids or current. In this context, ‘conducir’ means ‘to carry’ or ‘to conduct’. Here are some examples that you can use:  

[Noun] + [conducir conjugated] + [complement]

Una silla no conduce electricidad.
A chair doesn’t conduct electricity.

Estas tuberías conducen agua. 
These tubes carry water.

¿Qué metales conducirán mejor la electricidad?
What metals will better conduct the electricity?

Explaining who hosts a show 

In Latin American Spanish, ‘conducir’ is commonly used to express that a person hostesses a show. Therefore, in this situation, ‘conducir’ is translated as ‘to host’ or ‘to present’. Here are some examples:

(Person) + [‘conducir’ conjugated] + [name/description of the show]

Padma Lakshmi conduce Top Chef.
Padma Lakshmi presents Top Chef.

Jeremy, Richard y James conducen programas de TV, incluido el Grand Tour. 
Jeremy, Richard and James host TV shows including the Grand Tour.

Nancy, ¿quién conducía el programa de cocina que nos gustaba?
Nancy, who used to host the cooking show that we liked?

Take Note: In Spanish, conductor or conductora are the people hosting the show (host or hostess). In Castilian Spanish, it would be presentador or presentadora.

Conducir Expressions & Idioms

There are a few expressions with ‘conducir’ that may be worth adding to your vocabulary. 

Licencia de conducir: In standard Spanish, licencia de conducir is the permit that drivers have to operate a vehicle. It means ‘driver’s license’. 

No conducir a nada: This phrase is used to express that something is not being helpful at all or it is not providing solutions or results. It means ‘lead nowhere. A common variation would be ‘no llevar a nada’. 

Synonyms of ‘Conducir’ in Spanish

Manejar: In Latin American Spanish, manejar is used to say that a person is able to drive a vehicle. Its reflexive form, ‘manejarse’, can replace ‘conducirse’ when talking about a person’s behaviour. 

Comportarse: It’s the standard Spanish word that we use to describe a person’s behavior. ‘Comportarse’ is always a reflexive verb and it’s the direct translation of ‘to behave’. 

Guiar: It means ‘to guide’ and, as a result, it’s a synonym of ‘conducir’ when describing or explaining that a path will lead to a certain place.  

Llevar: In Spanish, llevar can be used as a more casual synonym of ‘conducir’ when talking about consequences or expressing that a person is driving or transporting something or someone else to a certain place. In this context, it means ‘to lead’ or ‘to take’. 

Resources:
10 Ways to Use Llevar in Spanish
How to Conjugate Reflexive Verbs

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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