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Spanish Present Tense - Rules and Uses
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Spanish Present Tense Verbs

The present tense verbs can be used in a variety of situations. We've outlined the different situations where you can use the present tense verb forms.

While it is fairly obvious that the present tense is used for actions that occur now, there are in fact other uses as well.

The present tense can be used in situations where the past action continues in teh present and also for historic events.

Uses of the Present Tense

Occurs Now

The most common and obvious use for using verbs in the present tense is because you are describing an action that occurs right now.

Examples

  • Tengo hambre.
  • Quiero comer ahora.
  • La cena está lista
  • Tengo much frio.
  • Ellas necesitan un café caliente.

All of these examples show an action that is happening right now and therefore uses the present tense for of the verbs.

Habitual Action

An habitual action is one that is on going and can occurr over and over now and in the future.

Examples

  • Aquí venden pan.
  • Cada mañana camino a la escuela.
  • Siempre vamos a la iglesia.
  • Todos los días voy a la escuela.
  • Cada día la abuela besa a su nieto.

The present tense is used in each of these examples because they all demonstrate an action that not only happens today but continues regularly.

Past Action

If the action started in past and continues in the present then the present tense verb form can be used. In these cases the sentences are formed with the verb 'hacer' + the expression of time + 'que' + the present tense verb.

Examples

  • Hace doce años que trabajo en la escuela.
  • Hace mucho tiempo que canta en la iglesia.
  • Hace dos horas que llueve sin parar.
  • Hace un año que estudia aquí.
  • Hace más de un mes que viaja por Europa.

Historic Present

The present tense can be used to express an event in the past.

Examples

  • Cristóbal Colon descubre América en el año de 1492.
  • La NASA halla agua en el planeta marte en el 2008.
  • Encuentran un agujero negro cinco veces más grande que el sol.
  • Tecún Uman muere en los llanos de Urbina.
  • Los españoles llegan a Guatemala en 1954.

While these events occurred in the past, it is acceptable to use the present tense to describe historic events.

Present for Future

You can use the present tense to describe a future action that has not yet happened.

Examples

  • Llamo más tarde.
  • El martes vamos a Miami.
  • Salgo para la tienda en la noche.
  • Tienes que venir esta tarde.
  • Voy mañana a la escuela.