Learn to Conjugate the Spanish Verb Vivir

Learning One Verb Change Pattern Can Help You Learn Thousands More

El tucán vive en la selva. (The toucan lives in the jungle.). Photo by Adalberto H Vega, licensed by Creative Commons.

Spanish has regular rules and adheres to most, but where it becomes complex is regarding verbs. There are about 16 ways to express a verb, which changes depending upon person, mood, number, tense, personal or formal, aspect and voice.

As in other languages, Spanish verbs express an action or a state of being. Like verbs in most Romance languages, Spanish verbs undergo inflection, which changes the verb, requiring the word to be conjugated.

Learn Conjugation Patterns

The beauty of learning to conjugate a regular verb in Spanish, like vivir, which means "to live," is that once you learn to change the ending, those changes translate to all the other regular verbs with the same -ir ending.

Person, Number and Familiarity Matters

Spanish verbs are conjugated in three persons, each having a singular, plural and formal and familiar form. In Spain, there is another conjugation form, a second-person, informal or familiar form for "you," that is used when speaking directly to a familiar group of people.

First Person Form

In Spanish, like in English, the first person singular is "I" or yo and the first person plural is "we" or nosotros.

Second Person Form

The singular second person or familiar "you" is tú. The singular, second person formal "you" is Usted, also written as Ud. The formal form is used as a form of respect in formal address. The plural, formal form is Ustedes, also written as Uds.

Most only used in Spain is another conjugation form, a second-person, informal or familiar form for "you," that is used when speaking directly to a familiar group of people. It is vosotros, for a mixed group of people or males only, or vosotras, for a group of females.

Third Person Form

The singular third-person form "he, she or it," translates to el, ella or ello, and the plural third person is "they" or ellos for a group or ellas for a group of women.

Conjugation of Vivir

Review the conjugation of the regular verb vivir, "to live," below. By learning this conjugation pattern for this and other regular verbs ending in -ir, you can learn the conjugation pattern for all other regular verbs ending in -ir. To conjugate the verb, drop the ending -ir and add the new ending. The verb is also known as the infinitive.

Present Indicative Form of Vivir

The present form of the verb vivir 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, "I live in the city," or Vivo en la ciudad. In English, the present indicative form of vivir is "live," "lives" or "am/is/are living."

Person/NumberVerb Change
Yo (I)Vivo
Tú (you)Vives
Usted, él, ella (he, she, it)Vive
Nosotros (we)Vivimos
Vosotros (you)Vivís
Ustedes, ellos, ellas (they)Viven

Preterite Indicative Form of Vivir

The preterite indicative form is used for past actions that are completed. In Spanish, this is called the pretérito. For example, "My parents lived in Europe," is translated to, Mis padres vivieron en Europa. In English, the preterite indicative form of vivir is "lived."

Person/NumberVerb Change
Yo (I)Viví
Tú (you)Viviste
Usted, él, ella (he, she, it)Vivió
Nosotros (we)Vivimos
Vosotros (you)Vivisteis
Ustedes, ellos, ellas (they)Vivieron

Imperfect Indicative Form of Vivir

The imperfect indicative form, or imperfecto del indicativo, is used to talk about a past action or state of being without specifying when it began or ended. It is equivalent to "was living" in English. As an example, "When I was living in Paris, I loved to eat chocolate" is translated to Cuando vivía en París me encantó comer chocolate. In English, the imperfect indicative form of vivir is "was living" or "used to live." 

Person/NumberVerb Change
Yo (I)Vivía
Tú (you)Vivías
Usted, él, ella (he, she, it)Vivía
Nosotros (we)Vivíamos
Vosotros (you)Vivíais
Ustedes, ellos, ellas (they)Vivían

Future Indicative Form of Vivir

The future indicative form, or futuro del indicativo in Spanish, is used to tell what will or shall happen, in this case, the form of vivir is translated to "will live" in English.

For example, Un día viviré en Españameans "One day I will live in Spain."

Person/NumberVerb Change
Yo (I)Viviré
Tú (you)Vivirás
Usted, él, ella (he, she, it)Vivirá
Nosotros (we)Viviremos
Vosotros (you)Viviréis
Ustedes, ellos, ellas (they)Vivirán

Conditional Indicative Form of Vivir

The conditional indicative form, or el condicional, is used to express probability, possibility, wonder or conjecture, and is usually translated in English as would, could, must have or probably. For example, "Would you live in this house," would translate to ¿Vivirías en esta casa?

Person/NumberVerb Change
Yo (I)Viviría
Tú (you)Vivirías
Usted, él, ella (he, she, it)Viviría
Nosotros (we)Viviríamos
Vosotros (you)Viviríais
Ustedes, ellos, ellas (they)Vivirían

Present Subjunctive Form of Vivir

The present subjunctive, or presente subjunctivo, functions much like the present indicative in tense, except it deals with mood and is used in situations of doubt, desire, emotion and is generally subjective. Use the Spanish subjunctive when you want a subject to do something. Also, use que with the pronoun and verb. For example, "I want you to live here," would be, Yo quiero que usted viva aquí.

Person/NumberVerb Change
Que Yo (I)Viva
Que Tú (you)Vivas
Que Usted, él, ella (he, she, it)Viva
Que Nosotros (we)Vivamos
Que Vosotros (you)Viváis
Que Ustedes, ellos, ellas (they)Vivan

Imperfect Subjunctive Form of Vivir

The imperfect subjunctive, or imperfecto del subjuntivo, is used as a clause describing something in the past and is used in situations of doubt, desire, emotion and is generally subjective. Also, in some cases you can use que with the pronoun and verb. An example of the imperfect subjunctive is, "While he lived, I did not marry anyone else" which translates to, Mientras él viviera no me casaría con ningún otro.

Person/NumberVerb Change
Que Yo (I)Viviera
Que Tú (you)Vivieras
Que Usted, él, ella (he, she, it)Viviera
Que Nosotros (we)viviéramos
Que Vosotros (you)Vivieseis
Que Ustedes, ellos, ellas (they)Vivieran

Imperative Form of Vivir

The imperative, or imperativo in Spanish, is used to give commands or orders.

There is no first-person form, since a person gives commands to others. For example, "Long live Europe," translates to ¡Viva la Europa!

Person/NumberVerb Change
Yo (I)--
Tú (you)Vive
Usted, él, ella (he, she, it)Viva
Nosotros (we)Vivamos
Vosotros (you)Vivid
Ustedes, ellos, ellas (they)Vivan

Gerund Form of Vivir

The gerund, or gerundio in Spanish, refers to the -ing form of the verb, but in Spanish the gerund behaves more like an adverb. To form the gerund, like in English, all words take on the same ending, in this case, the "ing" becomes -endo. The -ir verb,vivir, becomes viviendo. 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, "She is living," translates to, Ella esta viviendo.

The Past Participle of Vivir

The past participle corresponds to the English -en or -ed form of the verb. It is created by dropping the -ir and adding -iado. The verb, vivir, become vivido. For example, "I have lived," translates to, Ha vivido.