40 Essential Spanish Verbs to Communicate Fluently

Spanish verbsWhen learning Spanish one of the first things you need to do is learn the most important verbs (action words) to be able to express yourself more freely. Without learning a good stock of verbs you will be limited to what you can say in the language. By learning verbs you can talk about what you and other people do and the more verbs you learn, the more easily you can construct more complex and interesting sentences.

Here is a list of the essential verbs you need to learn.

1. Ser (to be – permanent)

There are two verbs in Spanish for “to be”. This is the one you use for permanent, general characteristics; nationality, profession, physical description, to describe personality, character and relationships.

Soy inglés – I am English.
¿Cuál es tu profeión? – What is your profession?
Son mis hermanos. – They are my brothers.

2. Estar (to be – temporary / location)

This is used for temporary states, feelings, moods as well as to talk about location (even if it is a permanent location!).

¿Dónde está el banco más cerca? – Where is the nearest bank?
Estoy bien. – I am well.
Está enfadado. – He is angry.

3. Tener (to have)

This is one of the first verbs to learn in Spanish. It is irregular and stem-changing. It is also used to say how old someone is and also many expressions that we use the verb “to be” for in English. E.g. I am hot, cold, hungry, thirsty, scared, in a hurry etc.

Tengo una hermana – I have one sister.
Tengo frío. – I feel cold.
¿Cuántos años tienes? – How old are you?

4. Ir (to go)

This is an important verb to learn which is also irregular so it has its own pattern.

Voy a casa. – I’m going home.
¿Adónde vas? – Where are you going?
Vamos a la playa. – We are going to the beach.

5. Hacer (to do/make)

Hacer is a really useful verb to know. It has two meanings; make or do. It is also used in many other expressions, such as talking about the weather, constructing “ago”.

¿Qué haces? – What are you doing?
Hace dos años – Two years ago.
Hace mucho calor. – It’s very hot.

6. Querer (to want)

Querer is the best verb to know to help you ask for things in bars, shops, restaurants or staying with friends.

Quiero una cerveza. – I want a beer.
¿Qué quieres hacer? – What do you want to do?
Queremos dos billetes. – We want two tickets.

7. Poder (to be able to / can)

This is another staple verb for beginners of Spanish. It is a stem-changing verb (o > ue).

¿Puede traerme otra copa de vino? – Can you bring me another glass of wine?

8. Necesitar (to need)

Necesitamos llegar a las seis. – We need to arrive at 6.

9. Buscar (to look for)

Busco un regalo para mi madre. – I’m looking for a gift for my mum.

10. Saber (to know – a fact)

¿Sabes a qué hora abre? – Do you know what time it opens?

11. Conocer (to know – person/place or to meet)

¿Conoces a Pedro? – Do you know Pedro?
No conocemos Madrid. – We don’t know Madrid / We aren’t familiar with Madrid.

12. Llamarse (to be called)

This is a reflexive verb so needs two parts; the reflexive pronoun (me, te, se, nos, os, se).

¿Cómo te llamas? – What are you called?
Mi profesor se llama Señor Moreno. – My teacher is called Mr Moreno.

13. Tomar (to take/have)

Tomo el tren. – I’m taking the train.
Voy a tomar un café – I’m going to have a coffee.

14. Decir (to say / tell)

¿Qué dices? – What are you saying?
Me dice la hora. – Tell me the time.

15. Comprar (to buy)

Voy a comprar las entradas. – I am going to buy the tickets.

16. Reservar (to reserve)

Reservamos una mesa para las ocho. – We reserve a table for 8 o’clock.

17. Alquilar (to rent / hire)

Queremos alquilar un coche para cuatro días. – We want to hire a car for 4 days.

18. Preferir (to prefer)

Preferimos una mesa en la terraza. – We prefer a table on the terrace.

19. Perder (to lose/miss)

He perdido mi cartera. – I have lost my wallet.
Perdí el autobús. – I missed the bus.

20. Llegar (to arrive)

Llegamos a las diez. – We arrive at ten.

21. Salir (to leave/go out)

¿A qué hora salimos? – What time shall we go out?
El tren sale a las diez y media. – The train leaves at 10.30.

22. Comer (to eat)

Comemos a las dos. – We eat at two.

23. Beber (to drink)

Bebo vino con la cena. – I drink wine with dinner.

24. Abrir (to open)

La tienda abre a las nueve. – The shop opens at nine.

25. Cerrar (to close)

El museo cierra a las ocho y media. – The museum closes at 8.30.

26. Faltar (to be lacking/missing)

Faltamos la sal. – We are missing salt.

27. Pedir (to ask for/order)

Voy a pedir los calamares. – I am going to order squid.

28. Preguntar (to ask a question)

Voy a preguntar a la recepcionista. – I am going to ask the receptionist.

29. Entender (to understand)

No entiendo. – I don’t understand.

30. Visitar (to visit)

Visitamos el castillo hoy. – We are visiting the castle today.

31. Pagar (to pay for)

Pago con tarjeta de crédito. – I’ll pay with a credit card.

32. Empezar (to start)

¿A qué hora empieza la película? – What time does the film start?

33. Terminar (to finish)

¿Han terminado las comidas? – Have you finished the meals?

34. Encender (to switch on/light)

Encendemos la calefacción a las cinco. – We switch on the heating at 5.

35. Apagar (to switch off)

Siempre apaga las luces. – He always switches off the lights.

36. Poner (to put/set)

Pongo las bolsas en el coche. – I put the bags in the car.
Voy a poner la mesa. – I am going to set the table.

37. Escuchar (to listen)

Escúchame. – Listen to me.

38. Escribir (to write)

¿Puedes escribir el precio por favor? – Can you write down the price please?

39. Dar (to give)

¿Me puedes dar un horario de trenes? – Can you give me a train timetable?

40. Deber (should/must)

Debes llegar antes de las nueve. – You should arrive before 9.

Follow Us
join us on instagram