Grammar & Vocabulary

Tense review: how many tenses do you know, remember and use?

Urban_park,_Madrid's_Parque_del_Retiro_(6382398435)
«Estamos caminando en el parque». / La Citta Vita, CC BY-SA 2.0

Here is a summary of all the Spanish indicative tenses and their uses.

Presente Simple
We use it for habits or facts.

Here is the conjugation, for caminar:

Yo Camino
Caminas
Él/Ella/Usted Camina
Nosotros/as Caminamos
(Vosotros/as) (Camináis)
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes Caminan

Examples:

Español English
Los lunes camino en el parque. I walk in the park on Mondays.
Nunca camino a mi trabajo. I never walk to work.

Presente Progresivo
We use it for actions that are happening at this current moment.

Here is the conjugation, for caminar (we are really conjugating estar in the present tense):

Yo Estoy caminando
Estás caminando
Él/Ella/Usted Está caminando
Nosotros/as Estamos caminando
(Vosotros/as) (Estáis caminando)
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes Están caminando

Examples:

Español English
Estoy caminando (ahora). I am walking (now).

Pretérito Perfecto Simple
We use it for specific actions that happened in the past.

Here is the conjugation, for caminar:

Yo Caminé
Caminaste
Él/Ella/Usted Caminó
Nosotros/as Caminamos
(Vosotros/as) (Caminasteis)
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes Caminaron

Examples:

Español English
Ayer caminé a mi trabajo. I walked to work yesterday.
Caminé mucho el viernes pasado. I walked a lot last Friday.

Pretérito Imperfecto
We use it for habits in the past. We also use it for “describing a scene” in the past.

Here is the conjugation, for caminar:

Yo Caminaba
Caminabas
Él/Ella/Usted Caminaba
Nosotros/as Caminábamos
(Vosotros/as) (Caminabais)
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes Caminaban

Examples:

Español English
Antes yo caminaba cada día. In the past, I used to walk every day.
La gente caminaba. People were walking.

Futuro Simple
We use it for actions that will happen in the future.

Here is the conjugation, for caminar:

Yo Caminaré
Caminarás
Él/Ella/Usted Caminará
Nosotros/as Caminaremos
(Vosotros/as) (Caminaréis)
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes Caminarán

Examples:

Español English
Mañana caminaré en el parque. I will walk in the park tomorrow. / I’m going to walk in the park tomorrow.

Perífrasis verbal de futuro “ir + a + infinitivo”
We also use it for actions that will happen in the future. When speaking, we tend to use this construction more often than the Futuro Simple.

Here is the conjugation, for caminar (we are really conjugating ir in the present tense):

Yo Voy a caminar
Vas a caminar
Él/Ella/Usted Va a caminar
Nosotros/as Vamos a caminar
(Vosotros/as) (Vais a caminar)
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes Van a caminar

Examples:

Español English
Mañana voy a caminar en el parque. I will walk in the park tomorrow. / I’m going to walk in the park tomorrow.

Pretérito Perfecto Compuesto
We use it for life experience or for actions that started in the past and continue in the present.

Here is the conjugation, for caminar (we are really conjugating haber in the present tense):

Yo He caminado
Has caminado
Él/Ella/Usted Ha caminado
Nosotros/as Hemos caminado
(Vosotros/as) (Habéis caminado)
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes Han caminado

Examples:

Español English
Nunca he caminado en este parque. I have never walked in this park.
He caminado todo el día, pero todavía quiero caminar más. I have walked all day, but I still want to walk more.

Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto
We use it for actions in the past that had been completed before another action in the past happened.

Here is the conjugation, for caminar (we are really conjugating haber in the imperfect tense):

Yo Había caminado
Habías caminado
Él/Ella/Usted Había caminado
Nosotros/as Habíamos caminado
(Vosotros/as) (Habíais caminado)
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes Habían caminado

Examples:

Español English
Estaba muy cansado. Nunca antes había caminado tanto. I was very tired. I had never walked that much before.

Futuro Compuesto
We use it for actions in the future that will be completed before another action in the future happens.

Here is the conjugation, for caminar (we are really conjugating haber in the future tense):

Yo Habré caminado
Habrás caminado
Él/Ella/Usted Habrá caminado
Nosotros/as Habremos caminado
(Vosotros/as) (Habréis caminado)
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes Habrán caminado

Examples:

Español English
En ese momento, Peter habrá caminado más que Mary. At that moment, Peter will have walked more than Mary.

Condicional Simple
We use it for a proposition whose validity depends on a condition.

Here is the conjugation, for caminar:

Yo Caminaría
Caminarías
Él/Ella/Usted Caminaría
Nosotros/as Caminaríamos
(Vosotros/as) (Caminaríais)
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes Caminarían

Examples:

Español English
Nunca caminaría en este parque por la noche. I would never walk in this park at night.

Condicional Compuesto
We use it for imaginary situations in the past.

Here is the conjugation, for caminar (we are really conjugating haber in the conditional tense):

Yo Habría caminado
Habrías caminado
Él/Ella/Usted Habría caminado
Nosotros/as Habríamos caminado
(Vosotros/as) (Habríais caminado)
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes Habrían caminado

Examples:

Español English
Nunca habría caminado en este parque por la noche. I would have never walked in this park at night.

 

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