Spanish Verb Cenar Conjugation

Cenar Conjugation, Usage, and Examples

Mom & child having meal in Korean restaurant
La niña cena con su madre en un restaurante. (The girl eats dinner with her mother at a restaurant). Images By Tang Ming Tung / Getty Images

The Spanish verb cenar means to eat dinner or to have dinner. It is a regular -ar verb, like caminar or parar. This article includes tables with cenar conjugations in the present, past and future indicative, and the present and past subjunctive, as well as the imperative mood. You can also find other verb forms like the gerund and present participle.

Using the Verb Cenar

The verb cenar can be used whenever you would talk about eating dinner, having dinner, or dining.

It is similar to the verbs desayunar (to have breakfast) and almorzar (to have lunch), in that a single verb communicates eating a certain meal, unlike in English where you have to use the verb to eat, followed by the specific meal.

You can use the verb cenar as an intransitive verb, as in Ella cena en el restaurante (She eats dinner at the restaurant) or Nosotros cenamos temprano (We eat dinner early). However, you can also use cenar as a transitive verb, where the direct object expresses what you eat for dinner, as in Me gusta cenar pasta (I like to have pasta for dinner). 

Cenar Present Indicative

YocenoI have dinnerYo ceno con mi familia.
cenasYou have dinnerTú cenas en tu apartamento.
Usted/él/ellacenaYou/he/she has dinnerElla cena en el restaurante.
NosotroscenamosWe have dinnerNosotros cenamos comida china.
VosotroscenáisYou have dinnerVosotros cenáis muy tarde.
Ustedes/ellos/ellas cenanYou/they have dinnerEllos cenan a las 7 p.m.

Cenar Preterite Indicative

There are two past tense conjugations in Spanish: the preterite and the imperfect. The preterite is used to talk about completed actions or events that have a defined ending in the past. 

YocenéI had dinnerYo cené con mi familia.
cenasteYou had dinnerTú cenaste en tu apartamento.
Usted/él/ellacenóYou/he/she had dinnerElla cenó en el restaurante.
NosotroscenamosWe had dinnerNosotros cenamos comida china.
VosotroscenasteisYou had dinnerVosotros cenasteis muy tarde.
Ustedes/ellos/ellas cenaronYou/they had dinner Ellos cenaron a las 7 p.m.

Cenar Imperfect Indicative

The imperfect tense is used to talk about background events and ongoing or habitual actions in the past. It can be translated to English as "was eating dinner" or "used to eat dinner." 

YocenabaI used to have dinnerYo cenaba con mi familia.
cenabasYou used to have dinnerTú cenabas en tu apartamento.
Usted/él/ellacenabaYou/he/she used to have dinnerElla cenaba en el restaurante.
NosotroscenábamosWe used to have dinnerNosotros cenábamos comida china.
VosotroscenabaisYou used to have dinnerVosotros cenabais muy tarde.
Ustedes/ellos/ellas cenabanYou/they used to have dinnerEllos cenaban a las 7 p.m.

Cenar Future Indicative

YocenaréI will have dinnerYo cenaré con mi familia.
cenarásYou will have dinnerTú cenarás en tu apartamento.
Usted/él/ellacenaráYou/he/she will have dinnerElla cenará en el restaurante.
Nosotroscenaremos We will have dinnerNosotros cenaremos comida china
VosotroscenaréisYou will have dinnerVosotros cenaréis muy tarde.
Ustedes/ellos/ellas cenaránYou/they will have dinner Ellos cenarán a las 7 p.m.

Cenar Periphrastic Future Indicative

Yovoy a cenarI am going to have dinner Yo voy a cenar con mi familia.
vas a cenarYou are going to have dinner Tú vas a cenar en tu apartamento.
Usted/él/ellava a cenarYou/he/she is going to have dinner Ella va a cenar en el restaurante.
Nosotrosvamos a cenarWe are going to have dinner Nosotros vamos a cenar comida china.
Vosotrosvais a cenarYou are going to have dinner Vosotros vais a cenar muy tarde.
Ustedes/ellos/ellas van a cenarYou/they are going to have dinner Ellos van a cenar a las 7 p.m.

Cenar Conditional Indicative

The conditional tense is used to talk about conjectures or possibilities. For example, Cenaría en casa si tuviera comida (I would eat dinner at home if I had food). Note that there is always an accent mark on the í in the conditional endings.

YocenaríaI would have dinner Yo cenaría con mi familia si vivieran cerca.
cenaríasYou would have dinner Tú cenarías en tu apartamento si tuvieras comida.
Usted/él/ellacenaríaYou/he/she would have dinner Ella cenaría en el restaurante, pero es muy caro.
Nosotroscenaríamos We would have dinner Nosotros cenaríamos comida china si nos gustara.
VosotroscenaríaisYou would have dinner Vosotros cenaríais muy tarde, pero os da hambre temprano.
Ustedes/ellos/ellas cenaríanYou/they would have dinner Ellos cenarían a las 7 p.m., pero deben marcharse.

Cenar Present Progressive/Gerund Form

For regular -ar verbs, to form the present participle or gerund you need the ending -ando. One of the uses of the present participle is to form the progressive tenses, such as the present progressive.

Present Progressive of Cenarestá cenando She is having dinner Ella está cenando en el restaurante.

Cenar Past Participle

For regular -ar verbs, to form the past participle you need the ending -ado. One of the uses of the past participle is to form compound tenses, such as the present perfect

Present Perfect of Cenarha cenado She has had dinner Ella ha cenado en el restaurante. 

Cenar Present Subjunctive

To talk about subjective situations such as emotions, doubts, desires, and possibilities, you need the subjunctive mood. The subjunctive is used in sentences that have two clauses: the main clause has a verb in the indicative mood, and the subordinate clause has a verb in the subjunctive mood.

Que yoceneThat I have dinner Carlos quiere que yo cene con mi familia.
Que túcenesThat you have dinner Marta quiere que tú cenes en tu apartamento.
Que usted/él/ellaceneThat you/he/she have dinner Manrique quiere que ella cene en el restaurante.
Que nosotroscenemosThat we have dinner Miguel quiere que nosotros cenemos comida china.
Que vosotroscenéisThat you have dinner Melisa quiere que vosotros cenéis muy tarde.
Que ustedes/ellos/ellas cenenThat you/they have dinner Marco quiere que ellos cenen a las 7 p.m.

Cenar Imperfect Subjunctive

The use of the imperfect subjunctive is similar to that of the present subjunctive, but it is used in situations that happened in the past.

There are two ways of conjugating the imperfect subjunctive.

Option 1

Que yocenaraThat I had dinnerCarlos quería que yo cenara con mi familia.
Que túcenarasThat you had dinnerMarta quería que tú cenaras en tu apartamento.
Que usted/él/ellacenaraThat you/he/she had dinnerManrique quería que ella cenara en el restaurante.
Que nosotroscenáramosThat we had dinnerMiguel quería que nosotros cenáramos comida china.
Que vosotroscenaraisThat you had dinnerMelisa quería que vosotros cenarais muy tarde.
Que ustedes/ellos/ellas cenaranThat you/they had dinnerMarco quería que ellos cenaran a las 7 p.m.

Option 2

Que yocenaseThat I had dinnerCarlos quería que yo cenase con mi familia.
Que túcenasesThat you had dinnerMarta quería que tú cenases en tu apartamento.
Que usted/él/ellacenaseThat you/he/she had dinnerManrique quería que ella cenase en el restaurante.
Que nosotroscenásemos That we had dinnerMiguel quería que nosotros cenásemos comida china.
Que vosotroscenaseisThat you had dinnerMelisa quería que vosotros cenaseis muy tarde.
Que ustedes/ellos/ellas cenasenThat you/they had dinner Marco quería que ellos cenasen a las 7 p.m.

Cenar Imperative 

The imperative mood is used to give direct orders or commands. Therefore, there are commands for all the persons except for the first person singular yo and third person él, ella, ellos, ellas. Notice that the affirmative and negative commands differ for tú and vosotros.

Positive Commands

cenaHave dinner!¡Cena en tu apartamento!
UstedceneHave dinner!¡Cene en el restaurante! 
Nosotros cenemosLet's have dinner! ¡Cenemos comida china!
VosotroscenadHave dinner!¡Cenad muy tarde! 
UstedescenenHave dinner!¡Cenen a las 7 p.m.!

Negative Commands

no cenesDon't have dinner!¡No cenes en tu apartamento!
Ustedno ceneDon't have dinner!¡No cene en el restaurante! 
Nosotros no cenemosLet's not have dinner! ¡No cenemos comida china! 
Vosotrosno cenéisDon't have dinner!¡No cenéis muy tarde!
Ustedesno cenenDon't have dinner!¡No cenen a las 7 p.m.!