Hablar in Spanish: Conjugations, Meanings & Uses

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

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

What does ‘Hablar’ mean?

 In Spanish, the word ‘hablar’ describes the act of communicating with others through words. It is most commonly translated as ‘to speak’ or ‘to talk’.

The verb ‘hablar’ can have different meanings depending on whether the context is formal or informal. Its most common definitions are:

  • If referring to the act of communicating through the use of spoken words, ‘hablar’ means ‘to talk’.
  • ‘Hablar’ means ‘to call’ or ‘to look for’ when expressing that someone is calling another person. 
  • To indicate that someone is able to communicate in a certain language, ‘hablar’ can be translated as ‘to speak’.

Take Note: in some contexts, ‘decir’ and ‘hablar’ are translated as synonyms. However, these words are not interchangeable. In Spanish, we use ‘decir’ to express some thought or information to another person and the translation is ‘to tell’. On the other hand, hablar describes the action of speaking. 

‘Hablar’ Conjugations

In Spanish, ‘hablar’ is a regular verb. As a result, with the exception of the future and conditional tense, all the conjugations will follow the stem habl.


Present tense conjugation

YoHabloI talk
HablasYou talk
Él / Ella / UstedHablaHe/She talks
NosotrosHablamosWe talk
VosotrosHabláisYou talk
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasHablan They/You talk

Preterite tense conjugation

YoHabléI talked
HablasteYou talked
Él / Ella / UstedHablóHe/She talked
NosotrosHablamosWe talked
VosotrosHabláisYou  talked
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasHablaronThey/You talked

Imperfect tense conjugation

YoHablabaI talked
HablabasYou talked
Él / Ella / UstedHablabaHe/She talked
NosotrosHablábamosWe talked
VosotrosHablabaisYou  talked
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasHablabanThey/You talked

Future tense conjugation

 To conjugate ‘hablar’ to the future tense you just need to add the corresponding endings to the infinitive verb.

YoHablaréI will talk
HablarásYou will talk
Él / Ella / UstedHablaráHe/She will talk
NosotrosHablaremosWe will talk
VosotrosHablaréisYou will talk
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasHablaránThey/You will talk

Conditional tense conjugation

YoHablaríaI would talk
HablaríasYou would talk
Él / Ella / UstedHablaríaHe/She would talk
NosotrosHablaríamosWe would talk
VosotrosHablaríaisYou  would talk
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasHablaríanThey/You would talk

Progressive Tenses

graphic explaining how to conjugate progressive tenses in spanish

Estuve hablando con mi amiga acerca de nuestro viaje.
I was talking to my friend about our trip.

Ustedes estaban hablando sobre el concierto de Imagine Dragons.
You were talking about the Imagine Dragons concert.

Perfect Tenses

graphic explaining how to conjugate hablar to spanish indicative perfect tenses

María ha hablado con su padre acerca de la fiesta.
Maria has spoken to her father about the party.

Juan y yo habríamos hablado sobre ese problema.
Juan and I would have talked about that problem.

Nunca había hablado sobre esto en público.
I had never spoken about this in public.

Hablar Subjunctive Conjugations

Present subjunctive conjugation

YoHableTo talk
HablesTo talk
Él / Ella / UstedHableTo talk
NosotrosHablemosTo talk
VosotrosHabléisTo talk
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasHablenTo talk

Imperfect subjunctive conjugations

YoHablara / HablaseI talked
Hablaras / HablasesYou talked
Él / Ella / UstedHablara / HablaseHe/She talked
NosotrosHabláramos / HablásemosWe talked
VosotrosHablarais / HablasesYou  talked
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasHablaran / HablasesThey/You talked

Perfect subjunctive

graphic showing how to conjugate hablar to perfect subjunctive

Sofía y yo hubiésemos hablado por ti. Sin embargo, no fue posible.
Sofia and I would have spoken for you. However, it wasn’t possible.

Si hubieras hablado con tu madre, esto no estaría pasando.
If you had talked to your mother, this wouldn’t be happening.


Imperative conjugation

NosotrosHablemosLet’s talk

[‘Hablar’ in imperative] + [complement]

Hablemos de lo que pasó ayer.
Let’s talk about what happened yesterday.

Yo no sé qué pasó, habla con tu hermana. 
I don’t know what happened, talk to your sister. 

No + [‘hablar’ in present subjunctive] + [complement]

No hablen mal de otra persona. 
Don’t speak ill of another person. 

Oye, no hables durante la película.
Hey, don’t talk during the movie. 

How to Use ‘Hablar’ in Spanish with Examples

There are several uses for the verb ‘hablar’. However, the main ones are: 

  1. To describe the action of communicating with people.
  2. To express that a person is calling someone.
  3. To indicate knowledge of a language.

In the sections below, you’ll find more examples of how to use ‘hablar’ in each one of these contexts. 

To describe the action of communicating with people

As you may imagine, the simplest and most common use of ‘hablar’ is to describe the action of communicating orally or having a conversation with another person. As a result, ‘hablar’, in this context, can be translated as ‘to talk’ or ‘to speak’. Some examples of this can be:

[Noun] + [‘hablar’ conjugated] + [preposition] + [complement]

Ellos hablarán con la profesora.
They will talk to the teacher.

Tania siempre habla sobre sus problemas.
Tania always talks about her problems.

José y yo hablamos con la recepcionista del hotel.
Jose and I spoke with the hotel receptionist.

Yo estuve hablando con Sergio de la nueva película de Marvel.
I was talking to Sergio about the new Marvel movie.

If you want to indicate who someone is talking to, you’ll need to use indirect object pronouns.  

[Indirect object pronoun] + [‘hablar’ conjugated] + [complement]

No me hables así.
Don’t talk to me like that.

Mis papás no se hablan.
My parents don’t speak to each other.

To express that a person is calling someone

In casual Spanish, we also use ‘hablar’ as a synonym of ‘to call’ or ‘to look for’. In other words, we use this verb to describe that a person is calling someone over the phone or other sources. Although this is a common meaning, keep in mind that there are other synonyms that you can use instead of this verb. 

[Indirect object pronoun] + [‘hablar’ conjugated] + [complement]

Me hablaron del hospital.
They called me from the hospital.

Noah, ¿le hablaste a tu papá?
Noah, did you call your dad?

Oye mamá, te habla la vecina, ¿le digo que no estás?
Mom, the neighbor is looking for you, should I tell her that you’re not here?

If you pay attention, you’ll notice that we use indirect object pronouns to explain who someone is calling to. 

To indicate knowledge of a language

‘Hablar’ also describes a person’s ability to communicate in a certain language. In this case ‘hablar’ means ‘to speak’. As you can imagine, you can add adjectives to explain how well or how bad hablas un idioma. 

[‘Hablar’ conjugated] + (adjective) + [language]

Lo siento, no hablo francés.
I’m sorry, I don’t speak French.

Hablo un poco de español.
I speak a little bit of Spanish.

¿Sabías que Nadia habla mandarín?
Did you know that Nadia speaks Mandarin?

Hablar Expressions & Idioms

In Spanish, there are many idioms and expressions that use the verb hablar and that can help you increase your vocabulary. Some of the most common include: 

Hablar por los codos is used to describe that someone talks too much, too often and without stopping. This expression can be translated as ‘to talk a lot’ and is used in informal contexts.

Ni hablar is an expression used to deny or omit something and it means ‘to way’ or ‘forget it’. It can be used in an informal context.

Hablar en chino is an informal expression used to point out that the person who is speaking is not being understood at all. It can be translated as ‘’to speak gibberish’.

‘Hablar’ Synonyms in Spanish

Platicar describes the action of people having a conversation. It means ‘to chat’ or ‘to talk’.

Cotorrear is a Mexican slang verb that expresses that someone talks a lot without saying anything important. We use this word in an informal context and can be translated as ‘to chatter’ or ‘to babble’.

Charlar is a verb that people use to refer to having a conversation with another person in a friendly way about inconsequential topics. It means ‘to talk’ or ‘to gab’.

Llamar is a verb that expresses that a person is calling someone over the phone. It means ‘to call’ and can be used instead of ‘hablar’ in some contexts. 

Related Resources:
Difference between ‘Contar’, ‘Hablar’ and ‘Decir’: Hablar, Contar and Decir are verbs that can be easily confused since in some contexts they all mean ‘to talk’. But since these words have different purposes, you may want to learn how to use them properly. 

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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