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Verb Tenses

We often think of the past, present and future as the three verb tenses, although in reality Spanish has other tenses as well. Here you can learn how to conjugate and use the various tenses of Spanish.
  1. Progressive tenses (6)

Using the Present Tense for Actions That Began in the Past
In Spanish, it is not unusual to use the present tense in cases where we'd use a past tense in English. This lesson explains the common instances with examples.

Translating the Past Tense of English to Spanish
A sentence such as 'When I was a child I went to Disneyland' is ambiguous in English, for it could refer to a one-time event or something that happened multiple times. The use of two simple past tenses in Spanish eliminates that ambiguity.

Ways in Which Spanish and English Verb Tenses Differ
A look at how Spanish verb tenses are used differently than the corresponding tenses in English.

Conditional Tense Not Always the Equivalent of 'Would'
Usually, the conditional tense of Spanish is the equivalent of the English auxiliary verb 'would.' This lesson points out the times where that isn't the case.

Using the Past Tenses With Certain Common Verbs
The two simple past tenses of Spanish can be translated differently in English when used with certain common verbs, among them 'conocer,' 'saber' and 'tener'

Using the Present Perfect Tense
An explanation of the use of the present perfect tense with Spanish along with examples and English translations.

Present Participles in Spanish
Learn how present participles, also known as gerunds, are used in Spanish. They typically are the equivalent of '-ing' verbs in English.

Perfect Infinitives
An explanation, with examples, of perfect infinitives and how they're used in Spanish.

'Haber' As an Auxiliary Verb: It's Perfect!
The Spanish auxiliary verb is used to form the perfect tenses, which indicate completed action. This lesson explains the use of this important and very common verb.

Saying 'I Wonder' in Spanish
Although it is possible to translate the English verb 'wonder'as 'preguntarse' in Spanish, the same concept can also be expressed using the future or conditional tenses.

Imperfect Tense
Definition of the imperfect tense as it is used in Spanish.

Introduction to the Future Tense
Learn the usages and conjugation of the future tense in Spanish.

Using the Preterite Tense for Repeated Events
It is almost a rule of thumb that the imperfect tense, rather than the preterite tense, is used to discuss repeated or habitual events in the past. However, there are exceptions.

Spanish Verb Tenses
In the basic sense, the verb tenses are past, present and future. But when learning a foreign language, including Spanish, it's seldom that simple.

Definition of 'Tense'

Present Indicative Tense
The present indicative tense is the tense first learned by most Spanish students.

The Conditional Tense
A description of the conditional tense in Spanish with examples and their translations.

The Preterite and the Imperfect: A Quiz
Do you know the difference between the imperative and preterite tenses? Find out with this self-scoring quiz.

Forming the Future Tense
How to conjugate regular verbs, and some common irregular ones, for the indicative future tense.

Definition of 'Perfect Tense'

Definition of 'Conditional Tense'

The Subjunctive Tenses
The subjunctive mood has four tenses: present subjunctive, present perfect subjunctive, imperfect subjunctive and past perfect (or pluperfect) subjunctive.

Translating "Ago" in Spanish
In English, we talk about something happening a certain time ago. Learn how to express the same thought in Spanish.

Imperfect Tense Often Serves as Background for Preterite Tense
A selection from the Spanish-language novel 'The Shadow of the Wind' shows how the preterite and imperfect tenses are used differently.l

Meanings Change from Preterite to Imperfect
Because Spanish has both a preterite tense and an imperfect tense, Spanish can use the verb tense to make distinctions about what happened in the past, distinctions that aren't always made in English verb forms. Sometimes the distinction between tenses in Spanish is made by using different verbs in English.

Choice of Past Verb Tense Can Affect Meanings
The choice of past tense to use in Spanish can sometimes affect how a verb is translated to Enbglish.

Definition of 'preterite' as a grammatical term.

Definition of 'Pluperfect'
The pluperfect tense is sometimes known as the past perfect tense.

Use of the Subjunctive Mood In Referring to a Past Event
Answer to a question from a Spanish student about which verb tense to use.

Discussing the Future
You don't need to know the future tense to talk about future events in Spanish (but you can if you wish).

Future Perfect Tense
The future perfect tense is the equivalent of "will have" followed by the past participle. However, this tense has common uses in Spanish that it doesn't in English.

Uses of the Future Tense
If you think that the future tense in Spanish is used to talk about events that will happen in the future, you're only partially right. For the Spanish future tense also has two other uses, one of which corresponds to an English usage and one that does not.

The Future Subjunctive
Although it isn't mentioned in many textbooks, Spanish does have a future subjunctive verb form. But it isn't used very often.

'Haber' and 'Estar' Used in Forming Compound Past Tenses
Spanish has several compound past tenses that provide nuances of meaning well beyond the imperfect and preterite tenses.

Compound and Periphrastic Future Tenses
A look at the nonsimple future tenses of Spanish, with examples and translations.

Using the Imperfect Subjunctive
How to use the imperfect tense of Spanish subjunctive verbs, with sample sentences and translations.

Using the Preterite Perfect Tense of Spanish
How to use the preterite or anterior perfect tense in Spanish, with examples and translations.

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