4.1 Present Tense of -er and -ir Verbs

When a regular –er or -ir verb is conjugated, the –er or –ir of the infinitive is dropped, and the following endings are added: -o, -es, -e, emos (for –er verbs) or -imos (for -ir verbs), éis (for -er verbs) or ís (for -ir verbs), and -en.

Note the similarity with hablar: all of the consonants are the same; only the vowels differ.

Hablar Beber Abrir
yo hablo bebo abro
hablas bebes abres
él, Ella, Ud. habla bebe abre
Nosotros hablamos bebemos abrimos
Vosotros habláis bebéis abrís
ellos, ellas, Uds. hablan beben abren

Verb forms from now on will be presented without the subject pronouns. As each form has its unique vowel or vowel + consonant ending, you should regularly be able to deduce the subject from the verb form.

Remember the four possible common translations of the present tense. Bebo, for example, may translate as:

  1. I drink.
  2. I am drinking.
  3. I do drink.
  4. I will (am going to) drink. (According to the context.)

Vocabulario básico 


abrir- to open
aprender- to learn
asistir- to attend (false friend)
beber- to drink (cognate: imbibe)
comer- to eat
contestar- to answer
creer- to believe (cognates: credible, credo)
discutir- to argue, to discuss
enviar- to send (cognate: envoi)
escribir- to write
leer- to read (cognate: legible)
mandar- to send, to order (cognate: mandate)
recibir- to receive
subir- to go up, to climb
vender- to sell
vivir- to live


el asunto- matter, issue, affair (esp. in pl.), question
el barrio- neighborhood
la calle- street
la carta- letter, playing card
el colegio- high school (false friend)
el correo- mail
el correo electrónico- e-mail
la dirección- address, direction on compass
el estado- state
el extranjero- abroad, foreign countries
el extranjero/-a- foreigner
la guerra- war
la letra- letter of alphabet, handwriting (false friend)
la oficina de correos- post office
el sello- stamp
la tarjeta- card, greeting card (tarjeta postal- postcard)
la tienda- store
el/la vecino/-a- neighbor (cognate: vicinity)


extranjero- foreign


contra- against
durante- during


al extranjero- abroad (destination)
creer que no- to think not, not to think so
creer que sí- to think so
en el extranjero- abroad (location)
por lo menos, al menos- at least

Last revised on June 18, 2021.