The most common Spanish verb forms:

The verb forms in this list are all from one of the two copular verbs ser and estar, which are both usually translated by English (to) be.

When to use ser and estar?

As a rule of thumb:

  • estar is used to indicate location of physical people or objects, or with an adjective to indicate the condition or state of something, or a perception (such as how something tastes);
  • estar is also used with a present participle-- these are forms ending in -ndo and are the equivalent of English -ing forms-- so for example, from pensar (to think), está pensando means he is thinking;
  • ser is gnerally used in other cases: to indicate a characteristic or definition, to indicate the location of an event, to tell the time, and in other 'functional' uses including the passive.

Browse verbs by category: * Action * Aspectual * Auxiliary * Existential * Locative * Modal * Movement * Perception * Relationship * State * Utterance

Form typeCommon translationFrequency
esserPresent 3 Sing(he/she/it) is46.8 % of sources
fueserPreterite 3 Sing(he/she/it) was/went
Note: Also used to fill in for the preterite of 'ir' meaning 'to go'.
26.5 % of sources
estáestarPresent 3 Sing(he/she/it) is20.9 % of sources
sonserPresent 3 Plur(they) are19.1 % of sources
serserInfinitive(to) be18.9 % of sources
sidoserPast participlebeen17.4 % of sources
estadoestarPresent participlebeing
Note: As a noun, 'estado' means 'state'.
15.7 % of sources
estánestarPresent 3 Plur(they) are12.1 % of sources
fueronserPreterite 3 Plur(they) were/went
Note: Also used to fill in for the preterite of 'ir' meaning 'to go'.
11.1 % of sources
seráserFuture 3 Sing(he/she/it) will be10.1 % of sources
estarestarInfinitive(to) be7.1 % of sources
estabaestarImperfect 3 Sing(he/she/it) was6.6 % of sources
fueraserPast subjunctive 3 Sing(he/she/it) was/would have been
Note: As a preposition, also means 'outside'.
5.8 % of sources
seaserSubjunctive 1 Sing(he/she/it) will/might be4.7 % of sources
estamosestarPresent 1 Plurwe are4.6 % of sources
seránserFuture 3 Plur(they) will be4.4 % of sources
estabanestarImperfect 3 Plur(they) were3.8 % of sources
seríaserConditional 3 Sing(he/she/it) would be3.7 % of sources
siendoserPresent participlebeing3.4 % of sources
estuvoestarPreterite 3 Sing(he/she/it) was3.3 % of sources
eranserImperfect 3 Plur(they) were3.2 % of sources

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