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The Most Common Spanish -AR verbs 

by Melody Li
Woman hiking Machu Picchu, Peru

According to the Royal Spanish Academy, more than 80% of verbs in Spanish end in -AR. For Spanish learners, knowing how to use -AR verbs is essential for feeling comfortable in real-life conversations. Once you learn how to conjugate a few Spanish -AR verbs, you’re already well on your way to conjugating 80% of the verbs in Spanish! 

Ready to add the most common and useful Spanish -AR verbs to your vocabulary? Let’s dive in. 

A quick introduction to Spanish verbs and conjugation 

In Spanish, the majority of verbs have one of these three endings: 

  • -AR endings, e.g., hablar and usar 
  • -ER endings, e.g., beber and leer 
  • -IR endings, e.g., escribir and vivir 

When you see a verb with one of these endings, they are in their infinitive, or basic, form. 

But if you want to express that these actions are done by different subjects (you, he, they, etc.) or in different tenses (present, past, future, etc.), the Spanish verbs need to be conjugated. Conjugation is how the form of a verb changes to reflect the subject and indicate when something happens.

Let’s take a closer look at how to conjugate -AR verbs in the present and preterite tenses.

Conjugate regular -AR verbs in present tense

The tense of a verb tells you when the action is taking place. The present tense indicates that something is currently happening or regularly happens. 

To conjugate Spanish -AR verbs in the present tense, replace the “-ar” ending with the following verb endings, depending on the subject. 

Subject pronounVerb ending 
yo (I)-o
(you, informal)-as
él (he)
ella (she)
usted (you, formal)
-a
nosotros (we, masculine)
nosotras (we, feminine)
-amos
vosotros (you all, masculine and informal)*
vosotras (you all, feminine and informal)*
-áis
ellos (they, masculine)
ellas (they, feminine)
ustedes (you all, formal) 
-an
*Vosotros and vosotras are only used in Spain.

For example, here is what the verb trabajar (to work) looks like in the present tense:  

yotrabajo
trabajas
él/ella/ustedtrabaja
nosotrostrabajamos
vosotrostrabajáis
ellos/ellas/ustedestrabajan

As you can see, the verb stem (trabaj- in trabajar) never changes, while the verb ending changes depending on the subject. This is true with all regular Spanish -AR verbs.

Example sentences:

  • Alex works in an office. = Alex trabaja en una oficina. 
  • We work at the school. = Trabajamos en la escuela. 

In the second sentence, the pronoun (nosotros) is unnecessary because the conjugated verb ending clearly indicates who is doing the action. In Spanish, if it’s obvious who the subject is, pronouns are often omitted or only used for emphasis. This is especially common in spoken Spanish, and practicing it can help you sound more like a local in daily conversations!

Conjugate regular -AR verbs in simple past tense

The simple past, or preterite, tense is used to talk about things that have already happened. In English, verbs in the simple past tense typically have “-ed” endings, like “walked” or “talked.”

To conjugate Spanish -AR verbs in the simple past tense, replace the “-ar” ending with the following verb endings, depending on the subject. 

Subject pronounVerb ending 
yo (I)
(you, informal)-aste
él (he)
ella (she)
usted (you, formal)
nosotros (we, masculine)
nosotras (we, feminine)
-amos
vosotros (you all, masculine and informal)*
vosotras (you all, feminine and informal)*
-asteis
ellos (they, masculine)
ellas (they, feminine)
ustedes (you all, formal) 
-aron
*Vosotros and vosotras are only used in Spain.

Here is what the verb trabajar looks like in the simple past tense:  

yotrabajé
trabajaste
él/ella/ustedtrabajó
nosotrostrabajamos
vosotrostrabajasteis
ellos/ellas/ustedestrabajaron

Just like in the present tense, the verb stem (trabaj- in trabajar) never changes in the past tense for regular -AR verbs. 

Example sentences: 

  • I worked on a farm. = Trabajé en una granja. 
  • They worked here. = Ellos trabajaron aquí.

40 common regular Spanish -AR verbs

In Spanish, regular verbs are just that—regular. When conjugating them in the present or simple past tense, their verb stems will always stay the same, and their endings will always follow the same pattern outlined in the charts above. 

Here is a list of the most common regular -AR verbs in Spanish that are essential to know for every Spanish speaker. 

  1. llamar: to call, to name 
  2. hablar: to talk, to speak
  3. mirar: to look
  4. escuchar: to hear 
  5. comprar: to buy 
  6. necesitar: to need, to require 
  7. llevar: to carry, to take, to wear
  8. usar: to use 
  9. ayudar: to help 
  10. cambiar: to change 
  11. quedar: to stay, to remain 
  12. pasar: to pass, to spend time 
  13. dejar: to leave, to allow
  14. ganar: to win, to gain 
  15. preguntar: to ask 
  16. arreglar: to fix, to arrange
  17. preparar: to prepare
  18. parar: to stop
  19. tomar: to drink, to take 
  20. estudiar: to study
  21. trabajar: to work 
  22. presentar: to introduce 
  23. descansar: to rest 
  24. crear: to create
  25. olvidar: to forget
  26. manejar: to drive
  27. caminar: to walk 
  28. viajar: to travel 
  29. entrar: to enter 
  30. desayunar: to eat breakfast 
  31. cenar: to have dinner
  32. limpiar: to clean
  33. cocinar: to cook
  34. llorar: to cry
  35. cantar: to sing
  36. bailar: to dance 
  37. nadar: to swim 
  38. gustar: to be pleasing to
  39. disfrutar: to enjoy
  40. esperar: to wait, to hope 

Hungry for more? Check out the most common Spanish verbs across the -AR, -ER, and -IR categories.

6 common irregular Spanish -AR verbs

Now that you understand how regular -AR verbs work, it’s time to meet irregular -AR verbs. Irregular verbs in Spanish don’t follow the regular conjugation pattern. But with some memorization and practice, you’ll be able to conjugate irregular verbs just as easily. 

Here are some of the most common irregular -AR verbs and their conjugated forms in the present tense. 

1. estar: to be 

yoestoy 
estás
él/ella/ustedestá
nosotrosestamos
vosotrosestáis
ellos/ellas/ustedesestán

Example sentences:

  • I am very tired. = Estoy muy cansado. 
  • Are you happy? = ¿Estás feliz? 

2. jugar (u → ue): to play 

yojuego
juegas
él/ella/ustedjuega
nosotrosjugamos
vosotrosjugáis
ellos/ellas/ustedesjuegan

In jugar, the u changes to ue when conjugating in the present tense, except in the nosotros and vosotros forms. Example sentences: 

  • Ryan plays soccer in the morning. = Ryan juega fútbol en la mañana. 
  • We play video games every week. = Jugamos videojuegos cada semana. 

3. pensar (e → ie): to think 

yopienso
piensas
él/ella/ustedpiensa
nosotrospensamos
vosotrospensáis
ellos/ellas/ustedespiensan

When conjugating pensar and similar verbs in the present tense, the e changes to ie, except in the nosotros and vosotros forms. Example sentences:

  • Do you think this shirt is ugly? = ¿Piensas que esta camisa es fea? 
  • Michelle thinks you are smart and hardworking. = Michelle piensa que eres inteligente y trabajador. 

4. comenzar (e → ie): to start, to begin 

yocomienzo
comienzas
él/ella/ustedcomienza
nosotroscomenzamos
vosotroscomenzáis
ellos/ellas/ustedescomienzan

For comenzar, the e also changes to ie in the verb stem, except in the nosotros and vosotros forms. Example sentences: 

  • I start college next month. = Comienzo la universidad el próximo mes. 
  • She starts work today. = Ella comienza a trabajar hoy. 

5. encontrar (o → ue): to find, to meet

yoencuentro
encuentras
él/ella/ustedencuentra
nosotrosencontramos
vosotrosencontráis
ellos/ellas/ustedesencuentran

In encontrar and similar verbs, the o changes to ue when conjugating in the present tense, except in the nosotros and vosotros forms. Example sentences:

  • We meet to study English. = Encontramos para estudiar el inglés. 
  • They are meeting with their friends. = Ellos se encuentran con sus amigos. 

6. contar (o → ue): to count, to tell

yocuento
cuentas
él/ella/ustedcuenta
nosotroscontamos
vosotroscontáis
ellos/ellas/ustedescuentan

The o changes to ue in the verb stem for contar, except (you guessed it!) in the nosotros and vosotros forms. Example sentences: 

  • I am counting the stars. = Cuento las estrellas. 
  • You all count the money. = Ustedes cuentan el dinero. 

Learn Spanish verbs and conjugation naturally

While we can provide you with a longer vocabulary list, the best way to learn Spanish isn’t through memorization. Learning new words and phrases in a natural context will help you acquire the language and put it to use in real-life conversations faster. And Rosetta Stone’s unique immersion method helps you do just that! 

With Rosetta Stone, you’ll learn new languages intuitively and effectively through lessons with real-world conversations, practical topics, and audio guidance from native speakers. You’ll be reading and speaking your target language from the first lesson, mirroring how you learned your first language as a child. 

Ready to say goodbye to memorization and conjugation tables? Visit rosettastone.com or download the Rosetta Stone app to get started on your first Spanish lesson! 

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