16 Useful Spanish Verbs For Your Survival Abroad

Last updated on November 16th, 2022 at 10:00 am

While speaking in Spanish, are you perhaps having trouble expressing actions and more complex situations? You are not alone! Everyone who learns a new language goes through the same problem. Your next step is to know Spanish Verbs, the most significant part of your language journey. The Verbs are precisely what you need to improve your conversational skills.

We understand that the structure of a sentence is one of the most challenging parts, not to mention the famous difficulty of conjugations. But let’s go one step at a time. Today’s article will show you the most valuable verbs (‘Verbos’) in the Spanish language that you need to learn before any other terms. During a trip or while meeting a native Spanish speaker, you will be able to express different actions, states, or occurrences.


Why Are Verbs Important To Learn?

A verb helps give meaning to the action performed by a person. They describe the action or state of the subject. When making sentences, we can add verbs and transform or modify them according to what we want to convey.

Verbs also play an essential grammatical role in determining the division between the person who did the action and the predicate. They provide a link between the meaning and the structure of our sentences. It is because of the verbs that we can establish actions between the elements of a sentence.

Consequently, for a person who is learning a new language, such as Spanish, it is crucial to focus on learning the most used verbs in order to communicate with ease in different kinds of situations.


The 16 Most Essential Spanish Verbs You Will Have To Use Abroad

Before going through this list of verbs, you should learn how to say in Spanish the term ‘verbs.’

Los verbos (The verbs – Plural) 

El verbo (The verb – Singular) 

Los verbos en español the verbs

So what common Spanish verbs will be helpful to you during your stay in Spanish-speaking countries? 

  • Ser
  • Estar
  • Ir
  • Tener
  • Saber
  • Querer
  • Pensar
  • Ver
  • Mirar
  • Decir
  • Hacer
  • Comer
  • Haber
  • Tomar
  • Hablar
  • Comprar

Let’s understand their definitions and literal English translations. With this list of common Spanish verbs, you will learn how to use them in sentences and listen to their respective pronunciations. 

Note: the pronunciations added to the following verbs are Latin American Spanish accents


Literal translation: Be

Definition:  You can use the verb ‘ser’ to express the subject’s essential qualities or permanent characteristics.

Sentence examples: 

  • Tú eres buen actor. (You are a good actor.)
  • Usted es muy divertido. (You are so fun.)
  • Yo soy actriz. (I am an actress.)
  • Yo no soy alta. (I am not tall.)
  • Esta mascota es de mi mamá. (This is my mother’s pet.)
  • Ustedes son altos. (You are tall. – Plural)


Literal translation: To be

Definition: Don’t get confused with the verb ‘to be.’ For native speakers, these two verbs are different. Use ‘estar’ to express transitory characteristics or states that depend on various circumstances.

Sentence examples: 

  • Ustedes están atrasados. (You are late.)
  • El hospital está a una cuadra del hotel. (The hospital is one block from the hotel.)
  • Estoy por ir al centro comercial. (I’m about to go to the mall.)


Literal translation: To go

Definition: According to the RAE dictionary, this verb means to go from one side to the other or to go to another place. 

Sentence examples: 

  • Si pudiera, iría a la playa hoy. (If I could, I’d be at the beach.)
  • Me encanta ir a la piscina con mis amigos. (I love going to the pool with my friends.)
  • Ustedes van de vacaciones todos los años. (You guys go on vacation every year.)
  • Estoy yendo a la fiesta. (I am going to the party.)
Spanish verb ir


Literal translation: To have

Definition: This is a crucial verb that you can use to express ownership or relationship.

Sentence examples: 

  • Yo tengo una piscina. (I have a swimming pool.)
  • El tiene un auto caro. (He has an expensive car.)
  • Nosotros tenemos una casa en la playa. (We have a house on the beach.)
  • Ustedes tienen mis llaves. (You have my keys.)


Literal translation: To know

Definition: The verb ‘saber’ has different meanings, including ‘taste.’ For now, let’s focus on its most common definition: to know something. It can also help you express the capacity that someone has to do an action. 

Sentence examples: 

  • Mi madre sabe hablar español. (My mother knows how to speak Spanish.)
  • Yo escribir en Japonés. (I know how to write in Japanese.)
  • Ustedes saben cantar muy bien. (You know how to sing very well. – Plural)
  • Ustedes saben cómo me siento. (You know how I feel. – Plural)


Literal translation: To Want

Definition: The meaning of this verb is to have the will or determination to execute something. You can also use it if you have affection or inclination for something or someone. 

Sentence examples: 

  • Yo quiero comprarme una computadora. (I want to buy a computer.)
  • Ella quiere viajar por el mundo. ( She wants to travel the world.)
  • Ellos quieren comer pizza hoy. (They want to eat pizza today.)
  • Ustedes quieren competir. (You want to compete.)
spanish ver querer


Me detuve a pensar en lo que hablamos ayer. (I stopped to think about what we talked about yesterday.)

  • Estabas pensando demasiado. (You were thinking too much.)
  • Ella piensa en ti siempre. (She thinks of you always.)
  • Ustedes piensan diferente a mi. (You think differently from me.)
  • Ellos piensan que podemos lograrlo. (They think we can do it.)


Literal translation: See

Definition: It involves perceiving or knowing through the use of sight.

Sentence examples: 

  • Ver películas es mi pasatiempo favorito. (Watching movies is my favorite hobby.)
  • Veamos cómo juegan fútbol. (Let’s see how they play soccer.)
  • Ustedes ven lo que está sucediendo en el gobierno. (You see what is happening in the government.)


Literal translation: Look at

Definition: The meaning of ‘mirar’ is different from ‘ver.’ If you say this verb, you refer to someone directing their sight toward an object or focusing on something in particular.

Sentence examples: 

  • Vamos a mirar hacia adelante. (Let’s look forward.)
  • ¿Qué estás mirando? (What are you looking at?)
  • Todos miramos hacia el sitio de la explosión. (We all look toward the site of the explosion.)
  • Esa persona te estaba mirando desde lejos. (That person was looking at you from afar.)
  • Ustedes estaban mirando el horizonte. (You were looking at the horizon.)
spanish verbs mirar


Literal translation: To tell

Definition: This Spanish verb helps communicate our thoughts or beliefs. You can translate it as ‘to tell’ or ‘to say.’ 

Sentence examples: 

  • ¿Qué es lo que quieres decir? (What do you mean?)
  • Ustedes dicen mentiras. (You tell lies.)
  • Te dije que si quiero ir al cine hoy. (I told you I do want to go to the movies today.)
  • El me dijo lo que pensaba. (He told me what he thought.)


Literal translation: To do

Definition: This verb means ‘do or execute’ something.

Sentence examples: 

  • Ustedes hacen fiestas todos los sábados. (You guys have parties every Saturday.)
  • Hiciste bien en estudiar español antes de tu viaje. (You did well in studying Spanish before your trip.)
  • Hicieron una celebración por el día de la madre. (They had a Mother’s Day celebration.)
  • Mi abuelita y yo solíamos hacer pastel todas las semanas. (My grandmother and I used to make cake every week.)
  • ¡Hiciste un desastre en mi sala! (You made a mess in my living room!)


Literal translation: To eat

Definition: You can use this verb to express that someone has chewed and swallowed solid food.

Sentence examples: 

  • ¿Qué vamos a comer hoy? (What are we going to eat today?)
  • Siempre comemos pavo en Navidad. (We always eat turkey at Christmas.)
  • Ustedes siempre comían alimentos muy picantes. (You always ate very spicy food.)
buy comprar in spanish


Literal translation: have

Definition: This verb can be confusing for beginners, but it is one of the most important Spanish verbs to learn. It means ”to exist or to occur.’

Sentence examples: 

  • Él ha estado muy ocupado últimamente. (He has been very busy lately.)
  • Pudiste haber comprado esto en la otra tienda. (You could have bought this at the other store.)
  • Hubieron varias personas en el concierto de hoy. (There were several people at the concert today.)
  • Ustedes han hecho demasiado por mí. (You guys have done too much for me.)


Literal translation: To take/To drink

Definition: An interesting thing about Spanish is how many words can mean different things. And also how each word has different meanings depending on the country. 

This Spanish verb can mean to take something, and in many countries, it can mean ‘to drink’ as well. Although the most used verb for drinking is ‘beber.’ 

In addition, you can also use this verb to say that you are taking photographs. 

Sentence examples: 

  • ¡Tomaré prestado uno de tus pantalones! (I’ll borrow one of your pants!)
  • Fuimos a tomar fotografías en el campo. (We went to take pictures in the field.)
  • Tomé demasiado alcohol ayer. (I had too much alcohol yesterday.)
  • El tomó la costumbre de dormir después de comer. (He got into the habit of sleeping after eating.)


Literal translation: To talk 

Definition: Discuss something by talking to someone else. 

Sentence examples: 

  • Hoy hablaré con mi profesor. (Today I will talk to my teacher.)
  • Necesito hablar contigo. (I need to talk with you.)
  • El habló en Coreano. (He spoke in Korean.)
  • Hablamos toda la noche por teléfono. (We talked all night on the phone.)


Literal translation: To buy

Definition: The meaning of this verb is to obtain something for a price. 

Sentence examples: 

  • Fuí al centro comercial a comprar un nuevo celular. (I went to the mall to buy a new cell phone.)
  • Compramos los boletos de avión a un buen precio. (We bought the plane tickets at a good price.)
  • Ellos compraron todos los muebles de la casa. (They bought all the furniture in the house.)
buy comprar in spanish


Learning Spanish Verbs Is Just The Beginning!

After knowing the most common Spanish verbs that I have explained to you in this post, you have a much clearer idea of ​​communicating actions and states fluidly. Dialogues are impossible to achieve without verbs since people always talk about what we have done or what we will do.

The list of 20 essential Spanish verbs that I have compiled for you and the different verbs with their translations will help you during a trip to a Spanish-speaking country. Now you can have countless conversations with native speakers!

They are the verbs that allow you to survive. So start practicing them with your Spanish-speaking friends now!

However, what we have just seen in today’s article is only the beginning of an unforgettable adventure of learning a beautiful language.

You can fill in your Spanish vocabulary knowledge with our blog. From history to culture. From interesting phrases about Christmas to food flavors or emergency survival vocab. You can even learn fun slang from different Spanish-speaking countries.


Learn The Spanish Language With Ling App!

Why Ling? If you are new to our blog and app, I’m eager to let you know you have found the most efficient way to learn this gorgeous language. In fact, with Ling, you can learn more than 60 languages, from beginner to advanced! 

All the lessons are built by language experts, demonstrating credibility, professionalism, and effort in our mission to help people worldwide learn new languages every day. 

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