Entender in Spanish: Conjugations, Meanings & Uses


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

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

What does ‘Entender’ mean?

Definition – ‘Entender’ means to understand, to know about or to get. As a result, this verb is used to express that a person has a clear idea of what is being said or that is able to understand a certain topic. 

Below are some of the most common uses of ‘entender’ in Spanish as well as the translation that you’ll use in each context. 

  1. When expressing understanding, entender is translated as ‘to understand’, ‘to get’ or ‘to comprehend’.
  2. If describing someone’s knowledge, ‘entender’ means ‘to know about’ or ‘to understand’.  

‘Entender’ Conjugations 

In Spanish, entender is an irregular verb. In other words, this will change the spelling of the stem for some tenses and personal pronouns.

graphic explaining entender stem changes in spanish

Not to worry, though! In the conjugation charts below, I’ve given you descriptions of the irregularities that you need to take into account when conjugating this verb. You’ll also find instructions to conjugate ‘entender’ in its irregular forms. 

Indicative

Present tense conjugation

To conjugate ‘entender’ in the present tense, you’ll use the regular stem ‘entend’ for nosotros and vosotros; while for the rest of the subjects, you’ll use ‘entiend’ as the stem. Don’t forget to add the corresponding endings for -ER verbs. 

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoentiendoI understand
entiendesYou understand
Él / Ella / UstedentiendeHe/She understands
NosotrosentendemosWe understand
VosotrosentendéisYou understand
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasentiendenThey/You understand

Preterite tense conjugation

In the preterite tense, ‘entender’ is a regular verb. This means that you’ll keep ‘entend’ as the stem so you just need to add the proper endings for each subject. 

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoentendíI understood
entendisteYou understood
Él / Ella / UstedentendHe/She understood
NosotrosentendimosWe understood
VosotrosentendisteisYou understood
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasentendieronThey/You understood

Imperfect tense conjugation

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoentendíaI understood
entendíasYou understood
Él / Ella / UstedentendíaHe/She understood
NosotrosentendíamosWe understood
VosotrosentendíaisYou understood
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasentendíanThey/You understood

Future tense conjugation

In order to conjugate ‘entender’ in the future tense, we need to use the verb in its infinitive form (entender, without removing -ER) and, then, simply add the endings underlined below.

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoentenderéI will understand
entenderásYou will understand
Él / Ella / UstedentenderáHe/She will understand
NosotrosentenderemosWe will understand
VosotrosentenderéisYou will understand
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasentenderánThey/You will understand

Conditional tense conjugation

Just like the future tense, in order to conjugate entender in the conditional tense, start with the verb without removing its -ER ending (keep it in infinitive form). Then, we just need to add the conditional endings as shown below. 

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoentenderíaI would understand
entenderíasYou would understand
Él / Ella / UstedentenderíaHe/She would understand
NosotrosentenderíamosWe would understand
VosotrosentenderíaisYou would understand
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasentenderíanThey/You would understand

Progressive Tenses

Creo que no estoy entendiendo lo que dices.
I don’t think I’m understanding what you say.

Perfect Tenses

Maestra, todavía no hemos entendido el subjuntivo.
Miss, we haven’t understood the subjunctive yet.

Creí que ustedes sí habían entendido lo que les dije.
I thought that you guys had understood what I told you.

Entender Subjunctive Conjugations

Present subjunctive conjugation

Just like the present indicative, when conjugating ‘entender’ in the present subjunctive, use ‘entend’ for nosotros and vosotros. The rest of the pronouns will work with the irregular stem ‘entiend’. 

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoentiendaI understand
entiendasTo understand
Él / Ella / UstedentiendaTo understand
NosotrosentendamosTo understand
VosotrosentendáisTo understand
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasentiendanTo understand

Imperfect subjunctive conjugations

PersonConjugationTranslation
Yoentendiera / entendieseI understood
entendieras / entendiesesYou understood
Él / Ella / Ustedentendiera / entendieseHe/She understood
Nosotrosentendiéramos / entendiésemosWe understood
Vosotrosentendierais / entendiesesYou understood
Ustedes / Ellos / Ellasentendieran / entendiesenThey/You understood

Perfect subjunctive

Ojalá hayan entendido la clase.
I hope you understood the class.

Si hubiesen entendido, no me habrían hecho preguntas.
If you guys had understood, you wouldn’t have asked me questions.

Imperative

Imperative conjugation

Notice that Spanish imperative uses ‘entiend’ for and ustedes. However, for nosotros and vosotros, you need to use ‘entend’. 

PersonConjugationTranslation
entiendeUnderstand
NosotrosentendamosLet’s understand
VosotrosentendedUnderstand
UstedesentiendanUnderstand

How to Use ‘Entender’ in Spanish (with Examples)

We use ‘entender’ in Spanish when we:

  1. Talk about understanding something
  2. Describing a person’s knowledge

In the sections below I’ll provide you with some examples and explanations of how to use ‘entender’ in different situations. Make sure you follow the phrase structures so you are able to build your own sentences. 

To say ‘to understand’

‘Entender’ is the direct translation of ‘to understand’. Therefore, in Spanish, we use this verb to describe that a person has a clear idea or understanding of a topic, thing or situation.

Below there is a basic formula that we use for this situation. Notice that the noun describes the subject or topic that people are understanding. Additionally, if you want to, you can use adverbs to intensify your sentence. 

[‘Entender’ conjugated] + (adv) + [definite article] + [noun]

Creo que tus amigos no han entendido las reglas.
I think your friends haven’t understood the rules.

Cuando era niña, no entendía muy bien el inglés.
When I was a child, I didn’t understand English very well.

En cuanto entendimos las instrucciones, empezamos a trabajar.
As soon as we understood the instructions, we started working.

Take Note: If the context is clear enough and the speakers know the topic that you’re talking about, you can replace this information (the topic understood) with a direct object pronoun to make your sentences less repetitive. 

No entendí lo que dijiste, ¿podrías repetir?
I didn’t understand what you said, could you repeat it?

¿(Ustedes) Entendieron lo que explicó el profesor?
Did you understand what the teacher explained?

If instead of expressing understanding about a subject you want to express your understanding about an action, you need to use the following phrase structure:

[‘Entender’ conjugated] + que + [verb in subjunctive] + [complement]

Entiendo que quieras renunciar, pero piénsalo bien.
I understand that you want to quit, but think it through. 

Entendemos que no les guste comer verduras, pero tienen que hacerlo.
We understand that you guys don’t like eating veggies, but you have to do it.

Describing a person’s knowledge

In Spanish, entender can also be used to express that a person has a lot of knowledge and experience with a certain topic. Therefore, in this situation, this verb can be translated as ‘to know about’, ‘to know’ or ‘to understand’. Check the examples below to see how you can apply this meaning:

[Entender conjugated] + de + [topic]

Ally no entiende de física. 
Ally doesn’t know about Physics. 

Mi vecino entiende mucho de coches.

My neighbor knows a lot about cars.

Sophia y Luke entienden de impuestos, ¿por qué no les preguntas a ellos?
Sophia and Luke know about taxes, why don’t you ask them?

Entender Expressions & Idioms

Below are some common expressions that you can build with the verb entender and that you can add to your vocabulary to make your conversations more fluid and natural. 

Hacerse entender: In Spanish, this expression is used by a speaker who wants to efficiently deliver a message. It can be translated as ‘to make oneself understood’ or ‘to explain oneself’.

Dar a entender: This expression means that a speaker insinuates or suggests something in an unclear manner. ‘Dar a entender’ can be translated as ‘to lead someone to believe’ or ‘to imply’.

Synonyms of ‘Entender’ in Spanish

Comprender: In Spanish, these two verbs are often used indistinctly. However, ‘entender’ means to perceive the meaning of something, even if it is not completely understood. On the other hand, comprender implies a deeper understanding. Both verbs can be translated as ‘to understand’. 

Saber: Translated as ‘to know’, saber can be a synonym of ‘entender’ when describing someone’s knowledge.  This verb is used to describe or express that someone has the skill, the ability or the knowledge to perform a certain activity.

Asimilar: When describing that a person has taken in or absorbed information about a topic or situation, this verb can be used instead of ‘entender’. Its direct English translation is ‘to assimilate’.

Darse cuenta: ‘Darse cuenta’ is a more casual verb that expresses that a person understood or became aware of something that he or she didn’t know before. It means ‘to realize’. Notice that ‘darse cuenta’ contains the reflexive verb ‘darse’.

Captar: When talking about perceiving what is happening around you, this verb can be used instead of ‘entender’ in a more casual environment. It can be translated as ‘to get’, ‘to catch’ or ‘to grasp’.

Related Resources:
Comprender in Spanish: Conjugation, Meaning & Uses
How to say ‘I don’t Understand’ 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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