Spanish Verb Esperar Conjugation

Esperar Conjugation, Usage, and Examples

Esperar, Spanish verb for waiting
Esperan en una cola. (They are waiting in a line).

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Esperar is a common Spanish verb that can mean "to hope for," "to wait," and "to expect." You can figure out which meaning is intended by looking at the context, sentence structure, and whether esperar is followed by a verb in the subjunctive mood.

This article explains some of the different uses of esperar in Spanish, as well as esperar conjugations in the present, past, conditional, and future indicative, the present and past subjunctive, the imperative, and other verb forms.

Four Ways of Using the Verb Esperar

'Esperar Que' Followed by a Verb

The phrase esperar que is typically followed by a verb. If that verb is in the subjunctive mood, esperar can often be understood to mean "hope," while if that verb is in the indicative mood, it usually can be understood to mean "expect."

The use of the indicative mood suggests some degree of certainty, while the subjunctive mood indicates desire. The use of the subjunctive following esperar que is far more common. Also, the following phrases are common:

  • ¡Espero que sí! (I hope so!)
  • ¡Espero que no! (I hope not!)

'To Wait' or 'To Wait For'

This is one of the most common meanings of esperar, as seen in the following examples:

  • Por favor espera aquí por un momento. (Please wait here for a moment.)
  • Bajaron al andén y esperaron el tren. (They stepped down to the platform and waited for the train.)
  • Esperamos la llegada de la policía federal. (We are waiting for the arrival of the federal police.)

'To Expect'

This is another common meaning that is determined by the context:

  • El amor llega cuando uno menos lo espera. (Love comes when you least expect it.)
  • Para el 2028 esperamos la llegada de unos 406 mil turistas. (For 2028 we are expecting the arrival of some 406,000 tourists. Note how in some contexts "hope for" could be a suitable translation.)

The phrase estar esperando can be used in the same way as the English "to be expecting" when referring to pregnancy: Carme Chacón confirma que el bebé que está esperando es un niño. (Carme Chacon confirms that the baby she is expecting is a boy.)

Using Esperar Like Gustar

Esperar is sometimes used in a sentence with inverted word order, like gustar and some other verbs. A better translation in such cases is "await":

  • Al dólar le esperan tiempos peores. (Worse times await the dollar.)
  • Me espera una vida nueva en algún lugar del mundo. (A new life awaits me somewhere in the world.)
  • ¿Qué avances tecnológicos nos esperan en el futuro? (What technological advancements await in the future?

Present Indicative

Esperar is conjugated in the same way as other regular -ar verbs.

Yo espero Yo espero el autobús por la mañana. I wait for the bus in the morning.
esperas Tú esperas a tu amigo en el aeropuerto. You wait for your friend at the airport.
Usted/él/ella espera Ella espera triunfar en la competencia. She hopes to succeed in the competition.
Nosotros esperamos Nosotros esperamos verte pronto. We hope to see you soon.
Vosotros esperáis Vosotros esperáis al bebé para agosto. You expect the baby in August.
Ustedes/ellos/ellas esperan Ellos esperan lluvia esta tarde. They expect rain this afternoon.

Preterite Indicative

The preterite tense is used to talk about events that happened in the past and have been completed.

Yo esperé Yo esperé el autobús por la mañana. I waited for the bus in the morning.
esperaste Tú esperaste a tu amigo en el aeropuerto. You waited for your friend at the airport.
Usted/él/ella esperó Ella esperó triunfar en la competencia. She hoped to succeed in the competition.
Nosotros esperamos Nosotros esperamos verte pronto. We hoped to see you soon.
Vosotros esperasteis Vosotros esperasteis al bebé para agosto. You expected the baby in August.
Ustedes/ellos/ellas esperaron Ellos esperaron lluvia esta tarde. They expected rain this afternoon.

Imperfect Indicative

The imperfect tense is used to talk about actions in the past that were ongoing or repeated, and it can be translated to English as "was waiting" or "used to wait."

Yo esperaba Yo esperaba el autobús por la mañana. I used to wait for the bus in the morning.
esperabas Tú esperabas a tu amigo en el aeropuerto. You used to wait for your friend at the airport.
Usted/él/ella esperaba Ella esperaba triunfar en la competencia. She was hoping to succeed in the competition.
Nosotros esperábamos Nosotros esperábamos verte pronto. We were hoping to see you soon.
Vosotros esperabais Vosotros esperabais al bebé para agosto. You were expecting the baby in August.
Ustedes/ellos/ellas esperaban Ellos esperaban lluvia esta tarde. They were expecting rain this afternoon.

Future Indicative

Yo esperaré Yo esperaré el autobús por la mañana. I will wait for the bus in the morning.
esperarás Tú esperarás a tu amigo en el aeropuerto. You will wait for your friend at the airport.
Usted/él/ella esperará Ella esperará triunfar en la competencia. She will hope to succeed in the competition.
Nosotros esperaremos Nosotros esperaremos verte pronto. We will hope to see you soon.
Vosotros esperaréis Vosotros esperaréis al bebé para agosto. You will expect the baby in August.
Ustedes/ellos/ellas esperarán Ellos esperarán lluvia esta tarde. They will expect rain this afternoon.

Periphrastic Future Indicative 

The periphrastic future is sometimes called the near future and is translated to English as "going to + verb."

Yo voy a esperar Yo voy a esperar el autobús por la mañana. I am going to wait for the bus in the morning.
vas a esperar Tú vas a esperar a tu amigo en el aeropuerto. You are going to wait for your friend at the airport.
Usted/él/ella va a esperar  Ella va a esperar triunfar en la competencia. She is going to hope to succeed in the competition.
Nosotros vamos a esperar Nosotros vamos a esperar verte pronto. We are going to hope to see you soon.
Vosotros vais a esperar Vosotros vais a esperar al bebé para agosto. You are going to expect the baby for August.
Ustedes/ellos/ellas van a esperar Ellos van a esperar lluvia esta tarde. They are going to expect rain this afternoon.

Present Progressive/Gerund Form

The verb form that ends in "-ing" in English is called the gerund or present participle in Spanish. It is often used to form progressive tenses like the present progressive.

Present Progressive of Esperar está esperando Ella está esperando triunfar en la competencia. She is expecting to succeed in the competition. 

Past Participle

In Spanish, the past participle usually ends in -ado or -ido, and is used to form perfect tenses like the present perfect.

Present Perfect of Esperar ha esperado Ella ha esperado triunfar en la competencia. She has expected to succeed in the competition.

Esperar Conditional Indicative

The conditional tense is used to talk about possibilities, and is usually translated to English as "would + verb."

Yo esperaría Yo esperaría el autobús por la mañana si me despertara temprano. I would wait for the bus in the morning if I were to wake up early .
esperarías Tú esperarías a tu amigo en el aeropuerto si te viniera a visitar. You would wait for your friend at the airport if he came to visit you.
Usted/él/ella esperaría Ella esperaría triunfar en la competencia, pero no es optimista. She would hope to succeed in the competition, but she is not optimistic.
Nosotros esperaríamos Nosotros esperaríamos verte pronto, pero sabemos que es complicado. We would hope to see you soon, but we know it is complicated.
Vosotros esperaríais Vosotros esperaríais al bebé para agosto si lo dijera el doctor. You would expect the baby in August if the doctor said so.
Ustedes/ellos/ellas esperarían Ellos esperarían lluvia esta tarde si el pronóstico lo indicara. They would expect rain this afternoon if the forecast were to indicate it.

Esperar Present Subjunctive

Que yo espere Mi madre sugiere que yo espere el autobús por la mañana. My mother suggests that I wait for the bus in the morning.
Que tú esperes Marta pide que tú esperes a tu amigo en el aeropuerto. Marta asks that you wait for your friend at the airport.
Que usted/él/ella espere El entrenador recomienda que ella espere triunfar en la competencia. The coach recommends that she hope to succeed in the competition.
Que nosotros esperemos Erica desea que nosotros esperemos verte pronto. Erica wishes that we hope to see you soon.
Que vosotros esperéis El médico recomienda que vosotros esperéis al bebé para agosto. The doctor recommends that you expect the baby in August.
Que ustedes/ellos/ellas esperen El meteorólogo sugiere que ellos esperen lluvia esta tarde. The meteorologist suggests that they expect rain this afternoon.

Esperar Imperfect Subjunctive

There are two different ways for conjugating the imperfect subjunctive. The first option below is more common.

Option 1

Que yo esperara Mi madre sugería que yo esperara el autobús por la mañana. My mother suggested that I wait for the bus in the morning.
Que tú esperaras Marta pidió que tú esperaras a tu amigo en el aeropuerto. Marta asked that you wait for your friend at the airport.
Que usted/él/ella esperara El entrenador recomendaba que ella esperara triunfar en la competencia. The coach recommended that she hope to succeed in the competition.
Que nosotros esperáramos Erica deseaba que nosotros esperáramos verte pronto. Erica wished that we hope to see you soon.
Que vosotros esperarais El médico recomendó que vosotros esperarais al bebé para agosto. The doctor recommended that you expect the baby in August.
Que ustedes/ellos/ellas esperaran El meteorólogo sugirió que ellos esperaran lluvia esta tarde. The meteorologist suggested that they expect rain this afternoon.

Option 2

Que yo esperase Mi madre sugería que yo esperase el autobús por la mañana. My mother suggested that I wait for the bus in the morning.
Que tú esperases Marta pidió que tú esperases a tu amigo en el aeropuerto. Marta asked that you wait for your friend at the airport.
Que usted/él/ella esperase El entrenador recomendaba que ella esperase triunfar en la competencia. The coach recommended that she hope to succeed in the competition.
Que nosotros esperásemos Erica deseaba que nosotros esperásemos verte pronto. Erica wished that we hope to see you soon.
Que vosotros esperaseis El médico recomendó que vosotros esperaseis al bebé para agosto. The doctor recommended that you expect the baby in August.
Que ustedes/ellos/ellas esperasen El meteorólogo sugirió que ellos esperasen lluvia esta tarde. The meteorologist suggested that they expect rain this afternoon.

Esperar Imperative

The imperative mood is used to give commands, and it has both positive and negative forms.

Positive Commands

espera ¡Espera a tu amigo en el aeropuerto! Wait for your friend at the airport!
Usted espere ¡Espere triunfar en la competencia! Hope to succeed in the competition!
Nosotros esperemos ¡Esperemos verte pronto! Let's hope to see you soon!
Vosotros esperad ¡Esperad al bebé para agosto! Expect the baby in August!
Ustedes esperen ¡Esperen lluvia esta tarde! Expect rain this afternoon!

Negative Commands

no esperes ¡No esperes a tu amigo en el aeropuerto! Don't wait for your friend at the airport!
Usted no espere ¡No espere triunfar en la competencia! Don't hope to succeed in the competition!
Nosotros no esperemos ¡No esperemos verte pronto! Let's not hope to see you soon!
Vosotros no esperéis ¡No esperéis al bebé para agosto! Don't expect the baby in August!
Ustedes no esperen ¡No esperen lluvia esta tarde! Don't expect rain this afternoon!