A Semi-Comprehensive List of -ER Verbs in Spanish
A list of -er verbs in Spanish can come in handy in many situations. Whether you want to impress your Spanish-speaking friends or your college professor. This list will also help you write flawless essays.
However, if you want to quickly learn and use all the verbs that you’ll find on the list, you should get to know some rules that govern the -er verbs in different tenses in Spanish.
I’ll show you everything you need to grasp the -er conjugation concepts. You’ll learn to conjugate them in various tenses and get to know the irregularities—and regularities within the irregularities.
Three Types of Conjugation
You surely remember that -er conjugation is one of the three conjugations you use in Spanish: -ar, -er, and -ir. The great thing about Spanish conjugation groups is that after you learn one type, you know how to conjugate all the other verbs in the same group.
In English verbs used to fully conjugate in the past, and started losing their endings in the times of Shakespeare. However, still reading his plays, we have to decipher all these “willst”, “canst”, and “doth” forms. Luckily, for all the English learners, verbs are pretty straightforward and if you know the infinitive you can make an elaborate conversation.
In Spanish, there is more to understand before you start talking. Infinitives are the starting point and yo estudiar español en una escuela won’t take you far.
Let’s make then another step in your Spanish journey and learn how to conjugate -er verbs.
-ER Verb Conjugation
Probably you already know the –ar conjugation, and you’ll see that in the -er group things work similarly.
The -er verbs look like this in their infinitive form:
Verb stem + infinitive ending -er
For example coser (to sew), poner (to put), beber (to drink).
If you feel like jumping directly into the list of -er verbs in Spanish, hold your horses. Let me split the -er verbs into smaller subgroups for you.
You’ll learn how to conjugate -er verbs in six different indicative tenses:
- Simple present
- Present progressive
- Simple future
Don’t worry about the subjunctive for now. There’s time for everything, and today let’s just focus on the indicative mood.
Conjugation of Regular -ER Verbs in the Simple Present Tense
Everybody loves regular verbs. The stem of the verb looks exactly the same with all grammatical subjects, so you just need to add a correct ending and—voilá!
The simple present tense is one of the first Spanish tenses you get to know. You use it to talk about habitual actions, routines, general truths, facts, and things happening now and in the near future.
Mi mamá bebe agua con vinagre todas las mañanas.
My mom drinks water with vinegar every morning.
In the present simple tense, cut the -er infinitive endings and substitute them as follows:
Present tense endings for -er verbs
|yo bebo||I drink|
|tú bebes||you drink|
|él, ella, usted bebe||he, she, it, drinks (fml. you drink)|
|nosotros bebemos||we drink|
|ustedes beben||you drink|
|ellos, ellas beben||they drink|
Check out the list of –er verbs in Spanish at the end of this post to learn more.
Irregular Yo Forms
There is a group of Spanish -er verbs that have irregular yo form in the simple present tense. All the other forms follow the patterns for regular verbs.
This is how it looks with the verb hacer:
|yo hago||I do|
|tú haces||you do|
|él, ella, usted hace||he, she, it, does (fml. you do)|
|nosotros hacemos||we do|
|ustedes hacen||you do|
|ellos, ellas hacen||they do|
Other verbs that undergo changes in the first person singular form in the simple present tense are, for example, saber – sé (to know), traer – traigo (to bring), valer – valgo (to be worth).
Since some Spanish letters can be pronounced differently according to the vowel that follows them, there are several Spanish verbs that undergo spelling changes in some of the simple present tense forms.
The rule is simple, in the yo form, the g in the stem of the verb changes to j.
I’ll show you how it looks with the verb proteger (to protect).
|yo protejo||I protect|
|tú proteges||you protect|
|él, ella, usted protege||he, she, it, protects (fml. you protect)|
|nosotros protegemos||we protect|
|ustedes protegen||you protect|
|ellos, ellas protegen||they protect|
Can you try conjugating another verb in this subgroup? Try encoger (to shrink) or choose another from the -er verbs list in Spanish at the end.
There are two cases in the -cer verbs subgroup.
- -er verbs that have a consonant before -cer
- -er verbs that have a vowel before -cer
In both groups, you make changes in the first person singular since the letter c + the o would be pronounced as /k/ and not /s/ as it sounds in the infinitive form.
1. Consonant + –cer
This subgroup also has a simple rule to remember. If the letter that appears before -cer is a consonant, the c changes to a z in the yo form.
Let’s see a conjugation example for the verb convencer (to convince).
|yo convenzo||I convince|
|tú convences||you convince|
|él, ella, usted convence||he, she, it, convinces (fml. you convince)|
|nosotros convencemos||we convince|
|ustedes convencen||you convince|
|ellos, ellas convencen||they convince|
Yo convenzo a cualquiera bajo estas circunstancias.
I convince anyone under these circumstances.
2. Vowel + -cer
If a vowel appears before -cer, you’ll need to add the letter z before c in the yo form.
Look at the verb empobrecer (to impoverish)
|yo empobrezco||I impoverish|
|tú empobreces||you impoverish|
|él, ella, usted empobrece||he, she, it, impoverishes (fml. you impoverish)|
|nosotros empobrecemos||we impoverish|
|ustedes empobrecen||you impoverish|
|ellos, ellas empobrecen||they impoverish|
You’ll find more -cer verbs in the -er verbs list in Spanish.
Just as in the -ar conjugation, some -er verbs undergo a stem change in the present tense. The endings are the same as in the regular conjugation but there is a vowel change in all but one forms.
There are two types of stem changes in the -er verbs.
1. e-ie Changes
The rule is: change the letter e in the last syllable of the stem to ie.
Let’s do it with the verb querer (to want).
|yo quiero||I want|
|tú quieres||you want|
|él, ella, usted quiere||he, she, it, wants (fml. you want)|
|nosotros queremos||we want|
|ustedes quieren||you want|
|ellos, ellas quieren||they want|
Take note there is no stem change in the nosotros form. This is the only one that maintains the infinitive stem spelling.
Other verbs that follow the same pattern are defender (to defend), entender (to understand), perder (to lose). Try conjugating them or choose another one from the er verb list in Spanish at the end.
2. o-ue Changes
-ER verbs in this group change the last o in the stem to ue.
Check out an example for the verb devolver (to return).
|yo devuelvo||I return|
|tú devuelves||you return|
|él, ella, usted devuelve||he, she, it, returns (fml. you return)|
|nosotros devolvemos||we return|
|ustedes devuelven||you return|
|ellos, ellas devuelven||they return|
Watch out for the verb oler (to smell) since apart from the stem change, as you must add the letter h at the beginning of the word in the present tense. All the forms but nosotros!
La sopa huele muy rico.
The soup smells delicious.
Nosotros no olemos nada.
We don’t smell anything.
Completely Irregular -ER Verbs
There are two completely irregular -er verbs: ser (to be) and haber (auxiliary to have).
|yo soy||I am|
|tú eres||you are|
|él, ella, usted es||he, she, it, is (fml. you are)|
|nosotros somos||we are|
|ustedes son||you are|
|ellos, ellas son||they are|
Yo soy española pero mi papá es mexicano.
I am Spanish but my dad is Mexican.
|yo he||I have|
|tú has||you have|
|él, ella, usted ha||he, she, it, has (fml. you have)|
|nosotros hemos||we have|
|ustedes han||you have|
|ellos, ellas han||they have|
He aquí algunos ejemplos.
Here you have some examples.
The sentence above sounds formal or old fashioned, but you still hear the verb haber used like this occasionally. However, you mostly see it as an auxiliary verb in compound tenses.
¡Mamá, he terminado la tarea!
Mom, I have finished my homework!
Check out other irregular verbs in How to Use the 50 Most Common Spanish Irregular Verbs.
Conjugation of Regular -ER Verbs in the Present Progressive
The present progressive tense is like the present continuous in English (I am writing and you’re reading). You use it for actions happening at the moment of speaking or around now.
To construct the present progressive in Spanish, you need to use this formula:
Subject + conjugated estar + gerund.
Tú estás comiendo.
You are eating.
All the gerunds of the -er verbs end in –iendo. Just cut off the infinitive -er and add the gerund ending.
Let’s see one example of the present progressive tense conjugation of the -er verbs with the verb comer (to eat).
|yo estoy comiendo||I am eating|
|tú estás comiendo||you are eating|
|él, ella, usted está comiendo||he, she, it, is eating (fml. you are eating)|
|nosotros estamos comiendo||we are eating|
|ustedes están comiendo||you are eating|
|ellos, ellas están comiendo||they are eating|
There are some irregular -er gerunds that instead of -iendo finish in -yendo. The most common ones are: caer (to fall), creer (to believe), leer (to read), and traer (to bring). This change is necessary as you have two consecutive vowels in the stem of the verb.
Se me está cayendo la cadena de mi bici.
My bike chain is falling off.
Conjugation of Regular -ER Verbs in the Preterite.
Now, I’ll show you how to use -er verbs in the simple past. The regular forms are easy to remember. Let’s use comer again.
|yo comí||I ate|
|tú comiste||you ate|
|él, ella, usted comió||he, she, it, ate (fml. you ate)|
|nosotros comimos||we ate|
|ustedes comieron||you ate|
|ellos, ellas comieron||they ate|
Note that the first and the third person singular have an accent over the preterite ending.
¡Mi perro se comió mi desayuno!
My dog ate my breakfast!
Stem-changing -ER Verbs in the Preterite
There are stem-changing verbs in the preterite. Notice that none of the preterite stem-changing -er verbs have accent marks.
Change to -uv-
This change occurs with some common Spanish verbs. However, of the -er verbs, only the verb tener (to have) follows this pattern.
|yo tuve||I had|
|tú tuviste||you had|
|él, ella, usted tuvo||he, she, it, had (fml. you had)|
|nosotros tuvimos||we had|
|ustedes tuvieron||you had|
|ellos, ellas tuvieron||they had|
Change to -j-
These verbs use j in all forms of the preterite forms. On the list of -er verbs in Spanish, only the verb traer (to bring) follows this pattern.
|yo traje||I brought|
|tú trajiste||you brought|
|él, ella, usted trajo||he, she, it, brought (fml. you brought)|
|nosotros trajimos||we brought|
|ustedes trajeron||you brought|
|ellos, ellas trajeron||they brought|
Change to -i-
In this group, swap the vowel in the infinitive form with the letter i to make a new preterite stem.
Verbs that conjugate like this are hacer (to do) and querer (to want). In the 3rd person singular (he, she, formal you), you’ll swap the c with a z. In the verb querer, change the letter r for s in all forms.
|yo hice||I did|
|tú hiciste||you did|
|él, ella, usted hizo||he, she, it, did (fml. you did)|
|nosotros hicimos||we did|
|ustedes hicieron||you did|
|ellos, ellas hicieron||they did|
Yo hice la comida y mi pareja hizo el postre.
I made lunch, and my partner made the dessert.
Yo quise salir pero nadie más quiso hacerlo.
I wanted to go out but no one else wanted to.
Change to -u-
Some verbs in the preterite tense change the first vowel in the infinitive form to make a new stem with u. Verbs that will follow this pattern are for example caber (to fit), haber (to have), poder (can), poner (to put), and saber (to know).
|yo pude||I could|
|tú pudiste||you could|
|él, ella, usted pudo||he, she, it, could (fml. you could)|
|nosotros pudimos||we could|
|ustedes pudieron||you could|
|ellos, ellas pudieron||they could|
The verb poner (to put), in addition to the u change in the stem, changes the n to an s. And the verbs caber and saber change the b to a p.
Te juro que lo puse aquí.
I swear that I put it here.
No me cupieron tus libros en la maleta.
Your books didn’t fit in my suitcase.
-ER verbs with Stems Ending in a Vowel
These verbs add a y in the 3rd person singular (él, ella, usted) and the 3rd person plural (ellos, ellas, ustedes) forms.
Let’s have a look at the verb caer (to fall).
|yo caí||I fell|
|tú caíste||you fell|
|él, ella, usted cayó||he, she, it, fell (fml. you fell)|
|nosotros caímos||we could|
|ustedes cayeron||you could|
|ellos, ellas pudieron||they could|
Watch out because the verb traer also has a stem ending in a vowel, but it does not follow this pattern. As I told you earlier, traer and its derivatives add a j in all preterite forms.
Ser is completely irregular in the preterite tense as it is in the present simple tense. You just need to practice and learn the forms by heart.
|yo fui||I was|
|tú fuiste||you were|
|él, ella, usted fue||he, she, it, was (fml. you were)|
|nosotros fuimos||we were|
|ustedes fueron||you were|
|ellos, ellas fueron||they were|
If you feel like reading more about the Spanish preterite, read All You Ever Needed to Know about Spanish (Simple) Past Tense Verbs.
Conjugation of Regular -ER Verbs in the Imperfect Tense
The imperfect tense talks about past actions that are in progress or incomplete or about past habits.
There are no irregularities in this tense. You just have to swap the infinitive ending -er with the correct imperfect ending.
Let’s check out comer (to eat) as an example.
|yo comía||I ate / was eating|
|tú comías||you ate / were eating|
|él, ella, usted comía||he, she, it, ate / was eating (fml. you ate / was eating)|
|nosotros comíamos||we ate / were eating|
|ustedes comían||you ate / were eating|
|ellos, ellas comía||they ate / were eating|
You can see other verbs like this one on the list of -er verbs in Spanish at the end of this article.
Conjugation of Regular -ER Verbs in the Future Simple Tense
This is another painless tense for -er verbs with no irregularities. Just add the future simple endings to the infinitive.
You use the future simple tense in Spanish to talk about forthcoming things that will happen at a certain point in the future.
Let’s look again at comer.
|yo comeré||I will eat|
|tú comerás||you will eat|
|él, ella, usted comerá||he, she, it, will eat (fml. you will eat)|
|nosotros comeremos||we will eat|
|ustedes comerán||you will eat|
|ellos, ellas comerán||they will eat|
Conjugation of Regular -ER Verbs in the Conditional Tense
The conditional tense works in the same way as the future tense, but this time you add the conditional endings to the infinitive.
|yo comería||I would eat|
|Tú comerías||you would eat|
|él, ella, usted comería||he, she, it, would eat (fml. you would eat)|
|nosotros comeríamos||we would eat|
|ustedes comerían||you would eat|
|ellos, ellas comerían||they would eat|
A List of -ER Verbs in Spanish
Finally, here’s the list of -er verbs in Spanish. Try to conjugate them in different tenses. Of course, the list is far from complete but there is enough here to broaden your vocabulary and boost your grammar skills.
Regular Spanish -ER Verbs in the Present Simple Tense
Irregular Yo forms for Spanish -ER Verbs in the Present Simple Tense
|caber (yo quepo)||to fit|
|caer (yo caigo)||to fall|
|hacer (yo hago)||to do|
|poner (yo pongo)||to put|
|saber (yo sé)||to know|
|traer (yo traigo)||to bring|
|valer (yo valgo)||to be worth|
|ver (yo veo)||to see|
-ER Verbs with Spelling Changes in the Present Simple Tense (-ger, -cer)
-ER Verbs with Stem Changes in the Present Simple Tense (e-ie)
|encender||to turn on|
-ER Verbs with Stem Changes in the Present Simple Tense (o-ue)
|devolver||to give back|
|soler||to (usually) do|
-ER Verbs with Stem Changes in the Preterite (-u-)
-ER Verbs with Changes in the Third Person in the Preterite
Congratulations! You just learned a big chunk of Spanish grammar that takes you far on your path to fluency. Now, you can use the list of -er verbs to conjugate them by yourself and use your newly acquired skills. You can say them out loud or write down sentences to use them in a context.
Read how to Master the 18 Spanish Tenses and use these -er verbs in context.
You can also sign up for a free class and practice with one of our friendly native-speaking teachers from Guatemala. Don’t forget to bring your list of -er verbs in Spanish and tell them what you want to work on at the beginning of the lesson!
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