Enseñar in Spanish: Conjugations, Meanings & Uses

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

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

What does ‘Enseñar’ mean?

Definition – ‘Enseñar’ can be used to describe that someone is explaining or communicating their knowledge to another person. It could also mean that a person is showing an object or making you look at something. Depending on the context, ‘enseñar’ means ‘to teach’ or ‘to show’. 

  1. If talking about teaching or sharing knowledge with another person, ‘enseñar’ means ‘to teach‘.
  2. When describing that someone is exhibiting or displaying, ‘enseñar’ is translated as ‘to show’ or ‘to display’. 

‘Enseñar’ Conjugations

‘Enseñar’ is a regular ‘-ar’ verb. This means you’ll only need to add the corresponding endings to the stem ‘enseñ’. Keep in mind that for the future and conditional tense you’ll work with the verb as a whole. 


Present tense conjugation

YoEnseñoI teach
EnseñasYou teach
Él / Ella / UstedEnseñaHe/She teaches
NosotrosEnseñamosWe teach
VosotrosEnseñáisYou teach
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasEnseñanThey/You teach

Preterite tense conjugation

YoEnseñéI taught
EnseñasteYou taught
Él / Ella / UstedEnseñóHe/She taught
NosotrosEnseñamosWe taught
VosotrosEnseñasteisYou taught
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasEnseñaronThey/You taught

Imperfect tense conjugation

YoEnseñabaI taught
EnseñabasYou taught
Él / Ella / UstedEnseñabaHe/She taught
NosotrosEnseñábamosWe taught
VosotrosEnseñabaisYou taught
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasEnseñabanThey/You taught

Future tense conjugation

As you can see, to conjugate this verb to the future tense, you’ll need to add the corresponding endings to its infinitive form.

YoEnseñaréI will teach
EnseñarásYou will teach
Él / Ella / UstedEnseñaráHe/She will teach
NosotrosEnseñaremosWe will teach
VosotrosEnseñaréisYou will teach
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasEnseñaránThey/You will teach

Conditional tense conjugation

YoEnseñaríaI would teach
EnseñaríasYou would teach
Él / Ella / UstedEnseñaríaHe/She would teach
NosotrosEnseñaríamosWe would teach
VosotrosEnseñaríaisYou would teach
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasEnseñaríanThey/You would teach

Progressive Tenses

graphic showing how to conjugate enseñar in progressive tenses in spanish

Mi mamá está enseñando a mi hermano a ir al baño. 
My mom is teaching my little brother to go to the bathroom. 

Mañana, estaremos enseñando esta casa. 
Tomorrow, we will be showing this house. 

Perfect Tenses

graphic showing how to conjugate enseñar in perfect tenses in spanish

¿No les he enseñado a no hablar con extraños?
Haven’t I taught you not to talk to strangers?

Mi papá todavía no nos ha enseñado a manejar. 
My dad hasn’t taught us how to drive yet. 

Enseñar Subjunctive Conjugations

Present subjunctive conjugation

YoEnseñeTo teach
EnseñesTo teach
Él / Ella / UstedEnseñeTo teach
NosotrosEnseñemosTo teach
VosotrosEnseñéisTo teach
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasEnseñenTo teach

Imperfect subjunctive conjugations

YoEnseñara / EnseñaseI taught
Enseñaras / EnseñasesYou taught
Él / Ella / UstedEnseñara / EnseñaseHe/She taught
NosotrosEnseñáramos / EnseñásemosWe taught
VosotrosEnseñareis / EnseñaseisYou taught
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasEnseñaran / EnseñasenThey/You taught

Perfect subjunctive

graphic showing how to conjugate enseñar in subjunctive perfect in spanish

Espero que no le hayas enseñado esto a Betty. 
I hope you haven’t shown this to Betty. 

Ojalá me hubieras enseñado el mensaje antes de borrarlo. 
I wish you had shown me the text before you deleted it. 


Imperative conjugation

The stem for the imperative form of this verb is ‘enseñ’ but keep in mind that to conjugate this verb in its negative imperative form, and vosotros follow the present subjunctive conjugation preceded by the word No.

NosotrosEnseñemosLet’s teach

[‘Enseñar’ in imperative form] + [indirect pronoun] + [complement]

Enséñame a bailar.

Teach me how to dance.

Hija, enséñale a tu tía dónde están los vasos. 
Daughter, show your aunt where the glasses are. 

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

No enseñes tu contraseña.
Don’t show your password.

No le enseñen sus juguetes nuevos a su hermana. 
Don’t show your new toys to your sister.

How to Use ‘Enseñar’ in Spanish with Examples

In Spanish, there are two ways to use the verb ‘enseñar’:

  1. To talk about teaching skills
  2. To explain that someone is showing or displaying something

In the next sections, I’ll explain in more depth how you can use this verb through examples and phrase structures.

To talk about teaching a skill or a topic

When talking about someone making another person learn something, ‘enseñar’ can be translated as ‘to teach’. Notice that with this meaning ‘enseñar’ is frequently used as a pronominal verb which means that, depending on what you want to express, you’ll need to use either an indirect object pronoun or a reflexive pronoun.

[Indirect pronoun] + [‘enseñar conjugated’] + [complement]

El maestro nos enseñó a multiplicar.
The teacher taught us how to multiply.

Mi hermano me enseñó a andar en bici.
My brother taught me how to ride a bike.

Sus padres les enseñaron buenos modales.
Their parents taught them good manners.

If instead, you want to talk about the subjects that a person teaches, you can use the following structure:

(Noun) + [‘enseñar conjugated’] + [complement]

Ella enseña francés en la Universidad de California.
She teaches French at the University of California.

Alexa enseña español e italiano.
Alexa teaches Spanish and Italian.

Take Note: When talking about an action that a person performs upon themselves we can use reflexive pronouns. So, if you are self-taught, you could use ‘enseñarse’ to talk about the things that you learned on your own. 

Subject + [reflexive pronoun] + [verb conjugated]

Yo mismo me enseñé a cocinar.
I taught myself how to cook.

To describe that someone is showing something

‘Enseñar’ can also be used to describe that someone is showing or exposing something so it can be seen by others. In this case, it can be translated as ‘to showor ‘to display’ and it’s usually followed by a noun that describes the object that the person is exhibiting.

[Indirect pronoun] + [‘enseñar conjugated’] + [determiner] + [noun]

Vanesa me enseñó su vestido de novia.
Vanesa showed me her wedding dress.

Te enseñaré mi álbum de fotografías.
I’ll show you my photo album.

Un compañero me enseñó la escuela.
A classmate showed me the school.

Enseñar Expressions & Idioms

In Spanish, there are many idioms and expressions that contain the verb enseñar. Some of the most common include: 

Enseñar el cobre: This expression is used when talking about someone showing a flaw or a negative aspect of themselves. A close translation could be ‘to show one’s true colors’ or ‘to show one’s real self’.

Enseñar los dientes: It is used when talking about a person making a threat or defending themselves against another person. It’s literal translation is ‘to show one’s teeth’ but the closest expression in English is ‘to get your claws out’.

Synonyms of ‘Enseñar’ in Spanish

Mostrar: This is a slightly more formal way to say ‘to show’. It is used to describe someone exhibiting something.

Educar: The direct translation is ‘to educate’. This word can be used in an academic context or as a synonym of ‘to raise’.

Explicar: This verb is used to describe someone clarifying something or making us understand a topic. It means ‘to explain’.

Daniela Sanchez

¡Hola! Soy Daniela Sanchez, I've been studying Spanish professionally as well as teaching it in Mexico and online for over 10 years. I’ve taught Spanish to a wide array of foreigners from many backgrounds. Over the years, I've made it my mission to work hard on refining many challenging to understand grammar topics to make my students' learning experiences easier, faster and more enjoyable. Read More About Me

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