Learn the Conjugation of Spanish Verb Estar

As an irregular verb the word ending follows a unique pattern

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Like many other everyday verbs in Spanish, estar is a commonly used verb to mean "to be." Estar is an irregular verb, which means it does not follow a common pattern of conjugation or word ending changes.

Estar and ser are two verbs that both mean "to be." Ser tells you what something is, more like the nature of its being, while estar refers more to what something does.

Conjugation of Estar

The conjugation of the infinitive form of estar, meaning its endings and word changes when different verb tenses are used, needs to be memorized.

The fact that it is a common word used frequently means that those who are learning Spanish will see it frequently, and it may become easier to recognize and conjugate over time.

Present Indicative Form of Estar

The present form of the verb estar means that the verb is expressing an action that is happening now or is current. Indicative means the verb is a statement of fact. In Spanish, this is called the presente del indicativo.

An example is, "How can I tell if I am speaking with a bot?" or ¿Cómo puedo saber si estoy hablando con un bot? In English, the present indicative form of estar is "am/is/are."

Another sentence example: "Dogs also wag their tails when they are sad," which translates to Los perros también mueven la cola cuando están tristes.

Person/NumberVerb Change
Yo (I)estoy
Tú (you)estás
Usted, él, ella (he, she, it)está
Nosotros (we)estamos
Vosotros (you)estáis
Ustedes, ellos, ellas (they)están

Preterite Indicative Form of Estar

The preterite indicative form is used for past actions that are completed. In Spanish, this is called the pretérito.

For example, "They were also in the family photo," is translated to También estuvieron en la foto familiar. In English, the preterite indicative form of hablar is "were."

Person/NumberVerb Change
Yo (I)estuve
Tú (you)estuviste
Usted, él, ella (he, she, it)estuvo
Nosotros (we)estuvimos
Vosotros (you)estuvisteis
Ustedes, ellos, ellas (they)estuvieron

Imperfect Indicative Form of Estar

The imperfect indicative form, or imperfecto del indicativo in Spanish, is used to talk about a past action or state of being without specifying when it began or ended. It is often equivalent to "were" in English.

As an example, "He proposed marriage to her while they were on a roller coaster," is translated to Le propuso matrimonio mientras estaban en una montaña rusa. In English, the imperfect indicative form of estar is "were."

Person/NumberVerb Change
Yo (I)estaba
Tú (you)estabas
Usted, él, ella (he, she, it)estaba
Nosotros (we)estábamos
Vosotros (you)estabais
Ustedes, ellos, ellas (they)estaban

Future Indicative Form of Estar

The future indicative form, or futuro del indicativo in Spanish, is used to tell what will or shall happen. It means "will be" in English.

For example, Creed lo que os digo, y estaráis seguros, means "Believe what I tell you, and you will be safe."

Person/NumberVerb Change
Yo (I)estaré
Tú (you)estarás
Usted, él, ella (he, she, it)estará
Nosotros (we)estaremos
Vosotros (you)estaréis
Ustedes, ellos, ellas (they)estarán

Conditional Indicative Form of Estar

The conditional indicative form, or el condicional, is used to express probability, possibility, wonder or conjecture, and is usually translated into English as would, could, must have or probably.

For example, "Some of them would be happy if the murderer were to die," would translate to Algunos de ellos estarían felices si muriera el asesino.

Person/NumberVerb Change
Yo (I)estaría
Tú (you)estarías
Usted, él, ella (he, she, it)estaría
Nosotros (we)estaríamos
Vosotros (you)estaríais
Ustedes, ellos, ellas (they)estarían

Present Subjunctive Form of Estar

The present subjunctive, or presente subjunctivo, functions much like the present indicative timewise, except it deals with mood and is used in situations of doubt, desire, emotion and is generally subjective. Use the present subjunctive when you want a subject to do something.

You also use que with the pronoun and verb.

For example, "I hope you are prepared," would be said, Espero que estés preparada.

Person/NumberVerb Change
Que Yo (I)esté
Que Tú (you)estés
Que Usted, él, ella (he, she, it)esté
Que Nosotros (we)estemos
Que Vosotros (you)estéis
Que Ustedes, ellos, ellas (they)estén

Imperfect Subjunctive Form of Estar

The imperfect subjunctive, or imperfecto del subjunctivo, is used as a clause describing something in the past and is used in situations of doubt, desire, emotion and is generally subjective. 

For example, "If I were in your place, I'd do the same thing," which translates to, Si yo estuviera en tu lugar, haría lo mismo. 

Person/NumberVerb Change
Que Yo (I)estuviera
Que Tú (you)estuvieras
Que Usted, él, ella (he, she, it)estuviera
Que Nosotros (we)estuviéramos
Que Vosotros (you)estuvierais
Que Ustedes, ellos, ellas (they)estuvieran

Imperative Form of Hablar

The imperative, or imperativo in Spanish, is used to give commands or orders. Since a person orders others, the first person is not used.

For example, "Let's be ready when they arrive," translates to Estemos listos cuando llegan.

Person/NumberVerb Change
Yo (I)--
Tú (you)está
Usted, él, ella (he, she, it)esté
Nosotros (we)estemos
Vosotros (you)estad
Ustedes, ellos, ellas (they)estén

Gerund Form of Hablar

The gerund, or gerundio in Spanish, refers to the -ing form of the verb. In Spanish the gerund functions more like an adverb. To form the gerund, like in English, all words take on the same ending, in this case, the "ing" becomes -ando.

Estar becomes estando. The active verb in the sentence is the verb that conjugates or changes. The gerund stays the same no matter how the subject and verb changes.

For example, "This is what you should do while being pregnant," translates to, Esto es lo qué debes hacer estando embarazada.

The Past Participle of Hablar

The past participle corresponds to the English -en or -ed form of the verb. It is created by dropping the -ar and adding -ado. The verb, estar, become estado.

For example, "We have been in your situation," translates to, Hemos estado en tu situación.

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Erichsen, Gerald. "Learn the Conjugation of Spanish Verb Estar." ThoughtCo, Aug. 29, 2017, thoughtco.com/conjugation-of-estar-3079622. Erichsen, Gerald. (2017, August 29). Learn the Conjugation of Spanish Verb Estar. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/conjugation-of-estar-3079622 Erichsen, Gerald. "Learn the Conjugation of Spanish Verb Estar." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/conjugation-of-estar-3079622 (accessed January 22, 2018).