Verb Tenses

What are the verb tenses?

Verb tenses are grammatical models of verbal conjugation that place an action or state in time. In the Spanish language, verb tenses are affected by aspect and mood.

The verbal aspect either grammatical indicates whether the action is finished or unfinished with respect to the moment of enunciation. It is expressed with the terms perfect (finished action), imperfect (unfinished action) and pluperfect (one action prior to another).

The verbal mode corresponds to the different modalities in which verb tenses are expressed. The indicative mode, which indicates concrete actions, is known; the subjunctive mood, which indicates possibilities, and the imperative, which represents orders or instructions. The latter only manifests itself in one time.

There are different criteria for classifying verb tenses in the Spanish language.

According to the form of the verb or its syntactic construction:

  • Simple tenses: those of simple structure or construction, that is, that do not need auxiliary verbs to express the action. For example: “You can”.
  • Compound tenses: are those that are formed with the help of the auxiliary verb. The structure is: auxiliary + verb. For example, “would have gone if it weren’t for the rain.

According to the moment of the enunciation:

  • Absolute times: they refer to an action directly related to the moment of enunciation. Among them are the present, the preterite and the future of the indicative mood. For example, “I will go tomorrow”
  • Relative times: they refer to an action related to another moment different from the enunciation. Among them are the copreterite and postpreterite of the indicative mood, and the tenses of the subjunctive mood. For example, “I would have risked more.”
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From the conjunction of the categories of tense, mood and aspect, the following verb tenses result:

indicative mood Subjunctive mode
Time
simple

Present

copreterite or past imperfect

Simple past tense or past perfect

Future or Simple Future

Simple post-preterite or conditional

Present

Past tense or imperfect past tense

simple future or future

tempos
compounds

Past perfect compound or antepresent

Pluperfect past tense or antecopreterite

past tense or antepreterite

Past perfect compound or antepresent

Pluperfect past tense or antepreterite

Compound future or antefuture

See also:

For example:

As an example, let’s conjugate the regular verb to lovebelonging to the model of the first conjugation.

INDICATIVE MODE
simple times
Present copreterite or
Preterite
imperfect
Preterite
or Pret.
perfect
simple
future or
Future
simple
postpreterite or
conditional
simple
Person
Me
You
He she
Us
you guys
You
they/them
love
you love
loves
we love
love
you love
love
loved
you loved
loved
we loved
loved
you loved
loved
I loved
you loved
love
we love
they loved
you loved
they loved
i will love
you will love
will love
we will love
they will love
you will love
they will love
would love
you would love
would love
we would love
would love
you would love
would love
INDICATIVE MODE
Time
compounds
Price perf.
compound or
antepresent
Preterite
pluamperf.
or antecopreterite

Preterite
previous or
past tense

Person
Me
You
He she
Us
you guys
You
they/them
I have loved
You have loved
has loved
we have loved
have loved
you have loved
have loved
had loved
you had loved
had loved
we had loved
they had loved
you had loved
they had loved
I have loved
you had loved
had loved
we had loved
they had loved
you had loved
they had loved
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Person Future
compound
or antefuture
Conditional
compound or
antepos-
preterite

Me
You
He she
Us
you guys
You
they/them

I will have loved
you will have loved
will have loved
we will have loved
they will have loved
you will have loved
they will have loved
would have loved
you would have loved
would have loved
we would have loved
they would have loved
you would have loved
they would have loved
SUBJUNCTIVE MODE
simple times

Present

Price imperfect
or preterite

Simple future
or future
Person
Me
You
He she
Us
you guys
You
they/them
love
yes
love
let’s love
amen
love
amen
amara
you will love
amara
let’s love
will love
you would love
will love
I will love
To love is
I will love
we will love
love
you will love
love
SUBJUNCTIVE MODE
Time
compounds

Price perf. comp. either
antepresent

Price
pluscuam-
perfect or
past tense

Future
compound
or antefuture
Person
Me
You
He she
Us
you guys
You
they/them
have loved
have loved
have loved
we have loved
have loved
you have loved
have loved

would have* loved
you would have loved
would have loved
we would have loved
they would have loved
you would have loved
they would have loved

would have loved
you would have loved
would have loved
we would have loved
they would have loved
you would have loved
they would have loved
It is also correct to use the auxiliary verb in the form would have / would have / would have / would have / would have / would have / would have.
MODE
IMPERATIVE Affirmative
Negative
love (you)
love (you)
let’s love (we)
amen (you)
love (you)

amen (they)
don’t love
don’t love
let’s not love
don’t love
do not love

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don’t love