Decir Conjugation: Free Spanish Lesson and Quiz
Let’s learn the decir conjugation! What do you say? Decir means “to say” or “to tell,” and it is an irregular verb—which means it does not follow the typical conjugation pattern for -ir verbs. It is part of the –ir verbs in Spanish such as sentir (say), oír (drive), dormir (choose), and ir (go).
Today, we’ll learn this Spanish conjugación in several ways, covering three moods:
- Indicative mood
- Subjunctive mood
- Imperative mood
Read ahead to find every tense of the decir conjugation as well as useful examples. I have also included verbals, how decir is a transitive verb, some common sayings, and slang.
At the end of this blog post, you will find a multiple-choice quiz so you can test your newly acquired knowledge. I will also provide you with useful information about bilingualism and how to learn Spanish faster.
¡No se diga más!
Say no more!
The Ultimate Guide to Decir Conjugation
If you are not familiar with the tenses of the decir conjugation, don’t worry! I’ve got your back! I am breaking down every single one for you with translations and examples.
- The infinitive form of the verb is decir.
- The past participle of decir is dicho.
- The gerund form of decir is diciendo.
The following compound tenses involve using the helping verbs haber and estar:
- Conjugation of haber + past participle of decir
- Conjugation of estar + gerund form of decir
In these tenses, the conjugation changes happen in the helping verb, while the form of decir stays the same.
Let’s see them in action:
¿Quieres decir el número ganador?
Do you want to say what the winning number is?
Me arrepiento de haberte dicho esas cosas.
I regret saying those things to you.
Él está diciendo la verdad.
He is telling the truth.
Decir – A Transitive Verb
Decir can be a transitive verb, which uses direct objects to answer the questions “who?” and “what?”
Le diré el secreto a Carlos.
I will tell Carlos the secret.
Direct object = the secret
Quiero decirte la verdad.
I want to tell you the truth.
Direct object = the truth
Decirse – A Reflexive Verb
Yo me digo.
I say to myself.
Tú te dices.
You say to yourself.
Él se dice.
He says to himself.
Nosotros nos decimos.
We say to each other.
Decir Conjugation – Indicative Mood
The indicative mood holds the most basic tenses of the Spanish verb decir. By learning the present simple, past simple, future simple, past imperfect, and conditional you will understand basic expressions and conversations with decir.
1. Present simple
The present tense of the decir verb is the most common one. The stem changes to di- in most cases.
Yo digo que vayamos al concierto en dos coches.
I say we go to the concert in two separate cars.
Ustedes dicen que el examen estuvo fácil, pero no les creo.
You say the test was easy, but I don’t believe you.
Ella dice que no es necesario llevar los documentos.
She says it isn’t necessary to bring the documents.
*The usted decir conjugation is the same as in él and ella but it is used as a formal “you.”
2. Past Simple
In the past tense—also called preterite tense or pretérito indefinido — the decir conjugation stem stays the same in all pronouns with di-.
|Él, ella, usted||dijo|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||dijeron|
Dijiste que llegaste a las 8, pero llegaste antes.
You said you arrived at 8, but you did earlier.
Usted dijo que le gustaban las manzanas así que le traje una.
You said you liked apples so I brought you one.
¿Ellas dijeron que vendrían?
Did they say they’d come?
As you can see, in the first example of the decir preterite conjugation, you can omit the pronoun when the verb implies it.
3. Past Imperfect
“Used to” is the meaning of the past imperfect form.
|Él, ella, usted||decía|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||decían|
Tú decías versos cuando eras joven.
You used to say verses when you were young.
Él decía que era mejor estudiar sin música.
He used to say that it was better to study without music.
Ellas decían que la universidad era fácil.
They used to say that the university was easy.
The decir imperfect conjugation for yo and él, ella, usted, is the same.
4. Future Simple
For the future tense, the stem stays the same and every conjugación starts with dir-, they all translate to “will say” or “will tell.”
|Él, ella, usted||dirá|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||dirán|
Ustedes le dirán a mi mamá lo que hicieron.
You will tell my mom what you did.
Nosotros diremos que no vimos nada.
We will say that we didn’t see anything.
Te diré cómo me fue, tan pronto termine la audición.
I will tell you how it went as soon as the audition is over.
In the conditional form of the verb decir, the stem stays the same and the translation to English is “would say” or “would tell.”
|Él, ella, usted||diría|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||dirían|
¿Usted diría que le gustó el chocolate?
Would you say you liked the chocolate?
Ella diría lo que sea para salir de esa situación.
She would say anything to get out of that situation.
Ellos le dirían a las autoridades inmediatamente.
They would tell the authorities immediately.
Decir Conjugation – Subjunctive Mood
We use the subjunctive mood to talk about hypotheses, hopes, wishes, or uncertainty. This is a more advanced mode of the Spanish verb decir. The forms of this mood are the present, past, past perfect, and future subjunctive. The latter one is rarely used, so I did not include it in this lesson.
1. Present Subjunctive
Here is the present Spanish subjunctive to express ideas, thoughts, desires, possibilities, and doubts.
El que tú nos digas las respuestas de los exámenes no es honesto.
The fact that you tell us the answers of the exams isn’t honest.
Lo que quiero es que nos digamos lo que sentimos.
What I want is for us to say what we feel.
Necesito que me digan sus números de cuenta.
I need you to tell me your account numbers.
2. Past Subjunctive
Here is the Spanish past subjunctive.
|Yo||dijera o dijese|
|Tú||dijeras o dijeses|
|Él, ella, usted||dijera o dijese|
|Nosotros||dijéramos o dijésemos|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||dijeran o dijesen|
Si yo dijera lo que oí, nadie me creería.
If I sat down, I would be more comfortable.
Sería mejor que usted me dijera los precios primero.
It would be better if you tell me the prices first.
Me gustaría que todos ustedes me dijeran sus nombres.
I would like all of you to tell me your names.
3. Past Perfect Subjunctive
The past perfect subjunctive is also known as el pluscuamperfecto del subjuntivo (pluperfect subjunctive) in Spanish. It explains past hypothetical situations that precede hypothetical outcomes. They often sound like a form of regret or scolding.
|Yo||hubiera o hubiese + dicho|
|Tú||hubieras o hubieses + dicho|
|Él, ella, usted||hubiera o hubiese + dicho|
|Nosotros||hubiéramos o hubiésemos + dicho|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||hubieran o hubiesen + dicho|
For the past perfect subjunctive tense, we use the auxiliary verb haber and the past participle of the decir verb.
Si el vestido se te viera mal, te hubiera dicho antes de que lo compraras.
If the dress looked bad on you I would have told you before you bought it.
Ojalá ella hubiera dicho bien la contraseña.
I wish she would have said the password correctly.
De haber sabido que se perdería, le hubiese dicho cómo llegar al restaurante.
Had I known you would get lost, I would have told you how to get to the restaurant.
Si tú hubieses dicho la respuesta correcta, hubiéramos ganado.
If you had said the correct answer, we would have won.
Notice how in this decir conjugation chart you have two choices, hubiera and hubiese. You can use them in any context, but do know that the latter one is a bit more formal.
4. Present Perfect Subjunctive
In the present perfect subjunctive or pretérito perfecto del subjuntivo, you can perceive connections from past actions to the present. They still have an effect today although they could have happened a long time ago.
|Yo||haya + dicho|
|Tú||hayas + dicho|
|Él, ella, usted||haya + dicho|
|Nosotros||hayamos + dicho|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||hayan + dicho|
For the perfect subjunctive tense, we use the auxiliary verb haber and the past participle of the decir verb.
Estuvo mal el que ustedes le hayan dicho a Erika de su fiesta sorpresa.
It was wrong of you to tell Erika about her surprise party.
Me alegra que me hayas dicho todo esto.
I am glad you have told me all of this.
¡Qué estresante que hayan dicho los resultados de la elección tan tarde!
How stressful that they announced the election results so late!
Decir Conjugation – Imperative Mood
We use the imperative mood to give an order or a command.
¡Di lo que piensas!
Say what you think!
¡No digan nada!
Do not say anything!
We have to say something!
The ustedes and usted decir conjugations are used as a formal command. It may sound a bit weird to give orders to someone who belongs to a higher rank, is older, or deserves a lot of respect. But imagine a scenario where there is an emergency situation. More than ordering, you may be helping them!
Just a Little Bit of Slang!
Here are a few colloquial sayings and expressions for sounding more like a native. As you have learned in this lesson, the decir conjugation indicates someone said or told something, but in the following cases the verb has a different meaning.
Literal translation: That’s what you are saying.
What it means: I don’t believe you.
¡No me digas!
Literal translation: Don’t tell me!
What it means: You don’t say!
You can say this one with a tone of surprise or sarcasm, just as in English.
Dicen por ahí.
Literal translation: Out there, they’re saying that.
What it means: Rumor has it.
Lo que tú digas.
Literal translation: What you say.
What it means: Whatever.
Es un decir.
Literal translation: It’s a saying.
What it means: It’s a form of speech.
You normally say this phrase to justify yourself and clear out that what you said was not literal.
Are you ready to practice what we’ve covered?
Decir Conjugation Practice Exercises
To test your newly obtained knowledge of decir conjugation, let’s practice with the following exercises! You can check your work with the answer key below.
1. Choose the mood that corresponds to this sentence: Quiero que me digas algo (I want you to tell me something).
2. What is the participle and gerund form of the verb decir?
3. Select the correct decir conjugation of the past simple: Ayer usted ________ algo que me hizo feliz (Yesterday you said something that made me happy).
4. Which ones are the object pronouns?
5. Which of these is a command for the formal form of “you” in Spanish (usted)?
6. What is the affirmative form of the imperative mood for ellos?
7. In the sentence Yo diré lo que ustedes no pudieron decir (I will say you couldn’t say), name the form of each decir conjugation.
8. Fill in the blank with a past subjunctive tense conjugation and its respective object pronoun: Me gustó que ________ lo que te gustó de la clase. (I liked that you said what you liked about the class).
9. Please translate this past imperfect sentence: Yo decía poemas.
10. What are the two things that the past perfect subjunctive and the present perfect subjunctive forms have in common?
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