Using the Verb ‘Seguir’

Meanings include ‘to continue’ and ‘to follow’

Couple in Barcelona maze
¡Sígueme! (Follow me!).

Artur Debat / Getty Images

The verb seguir carries with it the idea of "to continue" or "to follow," but it can be used in a variety of ways that have other translations to English.

Using Seguir by Itself

Standing alone, seguir typically means "to go on" or "to continue":

  • A 20 bajo cero la vida sigue. (At 20 below life goes on.)
  • ¡Sigue! ¡Puedes hacerlo! (Keep it up! You can do it!)
  • Estaba sana fisicamente, pero la depresión seguí y seguía. (She was physically healthy, but the depression dragged on and on.)

Using Seguir With Gerunds

Seguir is most commonly used to precede the gerund, where it functions as a type of auxiliary verb meaning "to continue" or "to keep on." In this way it is forms a type of progressive tense:

  • Tengo un crédito por minivan usada y no la puedo seguir pagando. (I have a loan for a used minivan and I can't continue paying for it.)
  • Siguió corriendo a pesar del dolor. (He kept on running despite the pain.)
  • Cuando tenga la oportunidad, seguiré estudiando inglés. (When I have the opportunity, I will continue studying English.)
  • Siga aprendiendo. (Keep on learning.)
  • La cantante chilena sigue rompiendo sus propios récords. (The Chilean singer keeps on breaking her own records.)
  • Seguía pensando en el tiempo perdido en pensar en el tiempo que pierdo. (She kept on thinking about the time lost thinking about the time lost.)

Such sentences frequently carry the connotation of "to still be (verb + ing)":

  • El actor sigue buscando la felicidad. (The actor is still looking for happiness.)
  • Sí, sigue nevando afuera. (Yes, it's still snowing outside.)
  • Sigo tratando de fotografiar a mi gato, pero no me deja. (I'm still trying to take a picture of my cat, but he's not letting me.)

Following Seguir With an Adjective

When seguir is followed by an adjective, the meaning of "to still be (adjective)" also is common:

  • Cynthia sigue feliz con su esposo. (Cynthia is still happy with her husband.(
  • Si la situación sigue difícil durante tres o cuatro meses, algunas operaciones se cancelarán. (If the situation is still difficult for three or four months, some operations will be canceled.)
  • Ella se siente feliz, pero sigue asustada. (She feels happy, but she's still afraid.)
  • Hoy amanecí un poco mejor, pero de todas maneras sigo triste. (Today I got up a little bit better, but in any case I'm still sad.)

Prepositional Phrases Using Seguir

Similarly, seguir en commonly means "to still be in":

  • El piloto español sigue en coma. (The Spanish pilot is still in a coma.)
  • Mucha gente sigue en vacaciones y llegan hasta las clases de mañana. (Many people are still on vacation and will arrive in classes tomorrow.)
  • Seguiré en contacto contigo, te lo prometo. (I promise you, I'll still be in touch with you.)

Seguir sin often means "to still be without." An infinitive often follows, making a sentence construction quite unlike what is used to say the same thing in English:

  • Un tercio de la capital sigue sin electricidad. (A third of the capital is still without electricity.)
  • Seguimos sin reconocer los culpables de la crisis. (We still don't recognize who is responsible for the crisis.)
  • Siguen sin pagarme. (They still aren't paying me.)
  • Siguieron sin hacer nada productivo. (They still hadn't done anything productive).
  • Hay algunas cosas de mi madre que sigo sin entender. (There are some things about my mother that I still don't understand.)

Using Seguir With a Direct Object

One common meaning of seguir is "to follow," either literally or figuratively, especially when seguir is used with a direct object:

  • A mi casa me siguió un perrito. (A puppy followed me home.)
  • No me sigas, no tengo la menor idea de lo que hago. (Don't follow me, I don't have the least idea what I'm doing.)
  • Sigue las instrucciones que te vamos a dar. (Follow the instructions that we are going to give you.)
  • Hay nivel para principiantes de Guitar Hero donde sólo se necesita seguir el ritmo. (There is a level for Guitar Hero beginners where all you have to do is follow the rhythm.)

Conjugating Seguir

Note that seguir is conjugated irregularly.

Unlike many irregular verbs, which change in their endings, seguir usually changes in the stem when it breaks the pattern. For example, its gerund is siguiendo, not the seguiendo you might expect. Seguir is irregular in all of its subjunctive form as well as present and preterite indicative.

The forms for the present indicative are: sigo, sigues, sigue, seguimos, seguis, siguen. Irregular forms are in boldface.

Key Takeaways

  • In many situations, seguir can be translated as "to continue" or informally as "to keep on."
  • Seguir often carries the connotation that something has been happening for longer than might be expected or desired.
  • Seguir is an irregularly conjugated verb.
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Your Citation
Erichsen, Gerald. "Using the Verb ‘Seguir’." ThoughtCo, Aug. 28, 2020, Erichsen, Gerald. (2020, August 28). Using the Verb ‘Seguir’. Retrieved from Erichsen, Gerald. "Using the Verb ‘Seguir’." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 22, 2023).

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