Leer Conjugation: Free Spanish Lesson and Quiz
Read this lesson about leer conjugation! The verb leer means “to read.”
The Spanish verb leer conjugation falls under the category of irregular -er verbs—just like that of the verbs ser and caber. In this lesson, I will cover how leer changes depending on not only the pronoun but also the tense we look to use.
Prepare yourself to learn the leer conjugation in three moods:
- Indicative mood (present, past, past imperfect, conditional, and future tense)
- Subjunctive mood (present, present perfect, past, and past perfect tense)
- Imperative mood
The Ultimate Guide to Leer Conjugation
Let me start by reassuring you that if you come across a few tenses you are still not familiar with, there is nothing to worry about! In this complete overview of the leer conjugation you will find that with enough practice you’ll be able to correctly use and remember all of them.
I have also included some practice exercises at the end of this post just for you!
Leer Conjugation – Verbals
For these leer conjugations, there are two forms of the verb leer that you need to learn.
1. Conjugation of haber + past participle of leer
2. Conjugation of estar + gerund form of leer
Check out how to form past participles in Spanish here, and our ultimate guide to Spanish Gerunds here.
- The infinitive form of the verb is leer.
- The past participle of leer is leído.
- The gerund form of leer is leyendo.
These compound tenses involve using the helping verbs haber and estar. The conjugation changes in these tenses happen within the helping verbs, while the form of the verb leer stays the same.
Let’s see them in action!
Quiero leer tu libro.
I want to read your book.
Lisa está leyendo.
Lisa is reading.
Ya había leído ese libro antes.
I had read that book before.
Leer Conjugation – Indicative Mood
Join me as I cover the indicative mood for Present Simple, Past Simple, Past Imperfect, Conditional, and Future Simple for the leer conjugation.
1. Present simple
The present tense of leer is the most common one. Notice I am adding the usted pronoun in the leer conjugation chart below. People in Spanish-speaking countries use it to replace the pronoun “you” as a sign of respect.
|Él, ella, usted||lee|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||leen|
Yo leo sesenta páginas todas las noches antes de dormir.
I read sixty pages every night before going to sleep.
Nosotros leemos juntos el periódico después de trabajar.
We read the newspaper together after work.
Tú lees todo lo que encuentras.
You read everything you find.
2. Past Simple
You will come across the words preterite or pretérito quite often. It simply means past tense conjugation in Spanish.
|Él, ella, usted||leyó|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||leyeron|
Él leyó las instrucciones cuidadosamente antes de armar el mueble.
He carefully read the instructions before assembling the cabinet.
Ustedes leyeron la revista mientras estaban en el hotel.
You read the magazine while you were at the hotel.
Yo leí las reglas antes de empezar el juego por si las dudas.
I read the rules before starting the game just in case.
3. Past Imperfect
The leer imperfect conjugation is perfect to describe something that used to happen continuously and more than one time. It could happen sporadically or systematically.
|Él, ella, usted||leía|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||leían|
Usted leía en voz alta todas las lecciones para practicar.
You used to read every lesson out loud to practice.
Ellas leían cerca de la ventana cuando llovía.
They used to read by the window whenever it rained.
Tú leías un libro al mes pasara lo que pasara.
You used to read one book a month no matter what.
In the leer conditional form, the stem doesn’t change and it translates to “would read.”
|Él, ella, usted||leería|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||leerían|
Nosotros leeríamos más si pudiéramos.
We would read more if we could.
Yo leería si tuviera más tiempo en mis manos.
I would read if I had more time in my hands.
Ellos leerían si no tuvieran tanto trabajo.
They would read if they didn’t have so much work.
5. Future Simple
Once again, the stem of the leer conjugation doesn’t change and in the future tense, it translates to “will read.” Notice how some example sentences do not have a pronoun. That’s because the conjugation gives away who is doing or will do the action.
|Él, ella, usted||leerá|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||leerán|
Leerás todos los libros en poco tiempo, ya lo verás.
You will read all the books in no time, you will see.
Ella leerá el resumen hoy y lo demás mañana porque está cansada.
She will read the summary today and the rest tomorrow because she is tired.
Leeré todo lo que pueda esta semana y continuaré después.
I will read as much as I can this week and I will continue afterwards.
Leer Conjugation – Subjunctive Mood
We use the subjunctive conjugation to talk about hypotheses, hopes, wishes, or uncertainty. This is a more advanced mode of the Spanish verb leer. The forms of this mood are the present, past, past perfect, and future subjunctive. We hardly ever use the latter, 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.
|Él, ella, usted||lea|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||lean|
Dales tu libro para que lean algo en lo que llega el avión.
Give them your book so they can read something while the airplane gets here.
Juan espera que lea este libro hoy y no después.
Juan expects me to read this book today and not afterwards.
Quiero que leas la dedicatoria para que veas cuánto te quiero.
I want you to read the dedication so you see how much I love you.
2. Past Subjunctive
Here is the Spanish past subjunctive.
|Yo||leyera o leyese|
|Tú||leyeras o leyeses|
|Él, ella, usted||leyera o leyese|
|Nosotros||leyéramos o leyésemos|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||leyeran o leyesen|
Intenté que Alexa leyera lo que le escribiste, pero no lo logré.
I tried to get Alexa to read what you wrote to her, but I couldn’t.
Era importante que leyesen el reglamento antes de venir.
It was important that you read the regulations before coming.
Si nosotros leyéramos seguido, tendríamos acceso a más información.
If we read more often, we would have access to more information.
3. Past Perfect Subjunctive
The past perfect subjunctive is also known as el pluscuamperfecto del subjuntivo (pluperfect subjunctive) in Spanish. But don’t let the name scare you! We use it to explain past hypothetical situations that precede hypothetical outcomes. They often sound as a sort of regret.
|Yo||hubiera o hubiese + leído|
|Tú||hubieras o hubieses + leído|
|Él, ella, usted||hubiera o hubiese + leído|
|Nosotros||hubiéramos o hubiésemos + leído|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||hubieran o hubiesen + leído|
For the past perfect subjunctive tense, we use the auxiliary verb haber and the past participle of the leer verb.
Si él hubiera leído el libro no hubiera reprobado el examen.
If he had read the book, he wouldn’t have failed the exam.
Ojalá usted hubiese leído las preguntas antes del ejercicio.
I wish you had read the questions before the exercise.
De haber sabido que perderíamos, hubiera leído las instrucciones.
Had I known we would lose, I would have read the instructions.
Notice how in this leer 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 + leído|
|Tú||haya + leído|
|Él, ella, usted||haya + leído|
|Nosotros||haya + leído|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||haya + leído|
For the perfect subjunctive tense we use the auxiliary verb haber and the past participle of the verb leer.
Da igual que hayas leído el libro porque se pospuso el examen.
It doesn’t matter that you read the book because they postponed the exam .
No te importó que haya leído la carta en voz alta.
You didn’t care that I read the letter out loud.
Me alegra que hayan leído toda la lección antes de la clase.
I am glad that you read the whole lesson before class.
Leer Conjugation – Imperative Mood
We use the imperative mood to give commands. The imperative mood emphasizes the verb, as the sentence normally starts with it unless it is a negative form.
¡No leas lo que dice en el cuaderno!
Don’t read what the notebook says!
¡Leamos rápidamente para salir temprano de clase!
Let’s read quickly to get out of class early!
¡Lean las conclusiones hasta que se las aprendan de memoria!
Read the conclusions until you learn them by rote!
The ustedes and usted command conjugations are used as formal commands. It may sound strange to give orders to someone of a different rank, different age, or different educational level. But imagine a scenario where there is an emergency situation. More than a command, it would be an instruction or guideline to be of help for them and to others.
Just a Little Bit of Slang!
Here are some colloquial sayings and expressions in case you want to sound like a native. As you have seen in this lesson, the meaning of leer is “to read”, but in the following cases the leer conjugation holds a different meaning:
Leer entre líneas.
Literal translation: Read between the lines.
What it means: To find a hidden meaning in words or actions.
Leer en voz alta.
Literal translation: Read out loud.
What it means: To read something for more people to listen or for you to listen to yourself.
Leer en voz baja.
Literal translation: Read in low voice.
What it means: Reading silently or almost silently.
Leer el pensamiento a alguien.
Literal translation: Read someone else’s thoughts.
What it means: To read someone’s mind.
Leer los labios.
Literal translation: Read lips.
What it means: To read someone’s lips. You can use this phrase literally or sarcastically.
Ok, now that you have finished this leer conjugation lesson, it’s time to practice what we’ve covered!
Leer Conjugation Practice Exercises
Check your understanding of leer conjugation with the following exercises! Be sure to check each answer with the answer key below. ¡Buena suerte!
1. Choose the mood that corresponds to this sentence: Nosotros leímos rápidamente (We read fast).
2. What is the participle and gerund form of the verb leer?
3. Select the correct leer conjugation of the past simple: Ayer usted ________ algo que me hizo feliz (Yesterday you read something that made me happy).
4. What is the formula of the present perfect subjunctive?
5. Which of these is a command for the formal “you” pronoun?
6. What is the most formal form of the auxiliary verbs that we used in the subjunctive mood?
7. In the sentence Yo leeré lo que ustedes estaban leyendo (I will read what you were reading), name the form of each leer conjugation.
8. Fill in the blank with a past perfect subjunctive tense conjugation and its respective reflexive pronoun: Ojalá tú ________ toda la lección. (I wish you had read the whole lesson).
9. What tense means “used to”?
10. What are the two things that the past subjunctive form and the present perfect Subjunctive form have in common?
Read in Spanish!
Congratulations! You have successfully learned the leer conjugation alongside with the various uses of the verb. The best way to keep on practicing this, and other verbs, is to take lessons from our native Spanish teachers who can’t wait to help you. Ask them for tips to memorize each tense, when to use common sayings, and how to take your Spanish to the next level.
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