Elegir Conjugation in Spanish, Translation, and Examples

A senior black man casts his ballot on election day.
Es un privilegio poder votar para elegir a nuestros representantes. (It is a privilege to be able to vote to elect our representatives).

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The verb elegir means to choose or to select. It can also mean to elect, as in electing a president. Other verbs with a similar meaning are escoger and seleccionar. A simple way to remember which of these verbs to use is the following: escoger is more closely used like "to choose" in English, seleccionar is used like "to select", and only elegir can be used with both meanings "to choose" or "to elect."

Elegir Conjugation

The verb elegir has an irregular conjugation, since it is a stem-changing verb. In stem-changing verbs, there is often a change in a vowel of the stem of the verb. This change occurs when that vowel is found in a stressed syllable. In the case of elegir, the vowel e changes to i.

Another reason why elegir is irregular is because it sometimes has a spelling change from g to j. In Spanish, the letter g makes a hard sound (like in the English word get) when it is followed by the vowels a, o, and u. When g is followed by e or i in Spanish, it makes a soft sound (like the sound the letter h makes in English). In the verb elegir, the g makes a soft sound, but in some conjugations it is followed by the vowels o or a. Therefore, in order to maintain the soft g sound, the g changes to j, as in elijo (I elect). If this change from g to j did not occur, the g would have a hard sound and it would sound like a different verb.

In this article, you can learn how to conjugate elegir in several moods and tenses: the indicative mood (present, past, conditional, future), the subjunctive mood (present and past), the imperative mood, and other verb forms.

Present Indicative

In the present indicative tense, the stem change e to i is used in all of the conjugations except nosotros and vosotros, and the spelling change g to j occurs only in the first person singular conjugation (yo).

Yo elijo Yo elijo la ropa de mi hijo. I choose my son's clothes.
eliges Tú eliges a tus amigos. You choose your friends.
Usted/él/ella elige Ella elige trabajar desde casa. She chooses to work from home.
Nosotros elegimos Nosotros elegimos al director de la organización. We elect the director of the organization.
Vosotros elegís Vosotros elegís al presidente de la nación. You elect the president of the nation.
Ustedes/ellos/ellas eligen Ellos eligen el menú para la cena. They choose the menu for the dinner.

Preterite Indicative

In the preterite tense, the stem changes from e to i only in the third person conjugations (él/ella/usted, ellos/ellas/ustedes), and the spelling change g to j does not occur at all.

Yo elegí Yo elegí la ropa de mi hijo. I chose my son's clothes.
elegiste Tú elegiste a tus amigos. You chose your friends.
Usted/él/ella eligió Ella eligió trabajar desde casa. She chose to work from home.
Nosotros elegimos Nosotros elegimos al director de la organización. We elected the director of the organization.
Vosotros elegisteis Vosotros elegisteis al presidente de la nación. You elected the president of the nation.
Ustedes/ellos/ellas eligieron Ellos eligieron el menú para la cena. They chose the menu for the dinner.

Imperfect Indicative

In the imperfect tense there are no stem changes or spelling changes. The imperfect can be translated to English as "used to choose" or "was choosing."

Yo elegía Yo elegía la ropa de mi hijo. I used to choose my son's clothes.
elegías Tú elegías a tus amigos. You used to choose your friends.
Usted/él/ella elegía Ella elegía trabajar desde casa. She used to choose to work from home.
Nosotros elegíamos Nosotros elegíamos al director de la organización. We used to elect the director or the organization.
Vosotros elegíais Vosotros elegíais al presidente de la nación. You used to elect the president of the nation.
Ustedes/ellos/ellas elegían Ellos elegían el menú para la cena. They used to choose the menu for the dinner.

Future Indicative

The future tense is conjugated by starting with the infinitive form and adding the future tense endings. Therefore, there are no stem changes or spelling changes in this tense.

Yo elegiré Yo elegiré la ropa de mi hijo. I will choose my son's clothes.
elegirás Tú elegirás a tus amigos. You will choose your friends.
Usted/él/ella elegirá Ella elegirá trabajar desde casa. She will choose to work from home.
Nosotros elegiremos Nosotros elegiremos al director de la organización. We will elect the director or the organization.
Vosotros elegiréis Vosotros elegiréis al presidente de la nación. You will elect the president of the nation.
Ustedes/ellos/ellas elegirán Ellos elegirán el menú para la cena. They will choose the menu for the dinner.

Periphrastic Future Indicative 

To conjugate the periphrastic future tense, you need the present indicative conjugation of the verb ir (to go), followed by the preposition a, and then the infinitive elegir.

Yo voy a elegir Yo voy a elegir la ropa de mi hijo. I am going to choose my son's clothes.
vas a elegir Tú vas a elegir a tus amigos. You are going to choose your friends.
Usted/él/ella va a elegir Ella va a elegir trabajar desde casa. She is going to choose to work from home.
Nosotros vamos a elegir Nosotros vamos a elegir al director de la organización. We are going to elect the director or the organization.
Vosotros vais a elegir Vosotros vais a elegir al presidente de la nación. You are going to elect the president of the nation.
Ustedes/ellos/ellas van a elegir Ellos van a elegir el menú para la cena. They are going to choose the menu for the dinner.

Present Progressive/Gerund Form

To form progressive tenses you need the auxiliary verb estar along with the present participle or gerund. For elegir, the gerund is eligiendo, which has the stem change e to i.

Present Progressive of Elegir está eligiendo Ella está eligiendo el menú para la cena. She is choosing the menu for the dinner.

Past Participle

The past participle for -ir verbs is formed with the ending -ido, so the past participle of elegir is elegido. This verb form can be used to conjugate perfect tenses like the present perfect, using the auxiliary verb haber.

Present Perfect of Elegir ha elegido Ella ha elegido trabajar desde casa. She has chosen to work from home.

Conditional Indicative

To conjugate the conditional tense you also start with the infinitive form and add the conditional endings. Therefore, this verb tense does not have spelling or stem changes either.

Yo elegiría Yo elegiría la ropa de mi hijo si él me dejara. I would choose my son's clothes if he would let me.
elegirías Tú elegirías a tus amigos si pudieras. You would choose your friends if you could.
Usted/él/ella elegiría Ella elegiría trabajar desde casa, pero no es permitido. She would choose to work from home, but it is not permitted.
Nosotros elegiríamos Nosotros elegiríamos al director de la organización si pudiéramos votar. We would elect the director or the organization if we could vote.
Vosotros elegiríais Vosotros elegiríais al presidente de la nación si fuerais ciudadanos. You would elect the president of the nation if you were citizens.
Ustedes/ellos/ellas elegirían Ellos elegirían el menú para la cena si tuvieran buen gusto. They would choose the menu for the dinner if they had good taste.

Present Subjunctive

In the present subjunctive, both the stem change e to i and the spelling change g to j are found in all of the conjugations.

Que yo elija El maestro pide que yo elija la ropa de mi hijo. The teacher asks that I choose my son's clothes.
Que tú elijas Tu padre recomienda que tú elijas a tus amigos. Your father recommends that you choose your friends.
Que usted/él/ella elija El jefe sugiere que ella elija trabajar desde casa. The boss suggests that she choose to work from home.
Que nosotros elijamos Pablo espera que nosotros elijamos al director de la organización. Pablo hopes that we elect the director of the organization.
Que vosotros elijáis Carina espera que vosotros elijáis al presidente de la nación. Carina hopes that you elect the president of the nation. 
Que ustedes/ellos/ellas elijan El chef quiere que ustedes elijan el menú para la cena. The chef wants you to choose the menu for the dinner.

Imperfect Subjunctive

The imperfect subjunctive can be conjugated in two different ways. Both of them include the stem change e to i, but not the spelling change g to j.

Option 1

Que yo eligiera El maestro pedía que yo eligiera la ropa de mi hijo. The teacher asked that I choose my son's clothes.
Que tú eligieras Tu padre recomendaba que tú eligieras a tus amigos. Your father recommended that you choose your friends.
Que usted/él/ella eligiera El jefe sugirió que ella eligiera trabajar desde casa. The boss suggested that she choose to work from home.
Que nosotros eligiéramos Pablo esperaba que nosotros eligiéramos al director de la organización. Pablo hoped that we would elect the director of the organization.
Que vosotros eligierais Carina esperaba que vosotros eligierais al presidente de la nación. Carina hoped that you would elect the president of the nation. 
Que ustedes/ellos/ellas eligieran El chef quería que ustedes eligieran el menú para la cena. The chef wanted you to choose the menu for the dinner.

Option 2

Que yo eligiese El maestro pedía que yo eligiese la ropa de mi hijo. The teacher asked that I choose my son's clothes.
Que tú eligieses Tu padre recomendaba que tú eligieses a tus amigos. Your father recommended that you choose your friends.
Que usted/él/ella eligiese El jefe sugirió que ella eligiese trabajar desde casa. The boss suggested that she choose to work from home.
Que nosotros eligiésemos Pablo esperaba que nosotros eligiésemos al director de la organización. Pablo hoped that we would elect the director of the organization.
Que vosotros eligieseis Carina esperaba que vosotros eligieseis al presidente de la nación. Carina hoped that you would elect the president of the nation. 
Que ustedes/ellos/ellas eligiesen El chef quería que ustedes eligiesen el menú para la cena. The chef wanted you to choose the menu for the dinner.

Imperative

The imperative mood is used to give orders or commands. When conjugating the imperative mood, be careful with both the stem change e to i and the spelling change g to j.

Positive Commands

elige ¡Elige a tus amigos! Choose your friends!
Usted elija ¡Elija trabajar desde casa! Choose to work from home!
Nosotros elijamos ¡Elijamos al director de la organización! Let's elect the director of the organization!
Vosotros elegid ¡Elegid al presidente de la nación! Elect the president of the nation!
Ustedes elijan ¡Elijan el menú para la cena! Choose the menu for the dinner!

Negative Commands

no elijas ¡No elijas a tus amigos! Don't choose your friends!
Usted no elija ¡No elija trabajar desde casa! Don't choose to work from home!
Nosotros no elijamos ¡No elijamos al director de la organización! Let's not elect the director of the organization!
Vosotros no elijáis ¡No elijáis al presidente de la nación! Don't elect the president of the nation!
Ustedes no elijan ¡No elijan el menú para la cena! Don't choose the menu for the dinner!