The Spanish present tense, called el presente, is quite similar in usage to the English present tense.
The present tense can express:
I. Current actions and situations.
|Estoy listo.||I am ready.|
|Vamos al mercado.||We are going to the market.|
II. Habitual actions.
|Voy a la escuela todos los días.||I go to school every day.|
|Veo una película los sábados.||I see a movie on Saturdays.|
III. Absolute and general truths.
|La tierra es grande.||The earth is big.|
|La escuela es importante.||School is important.|
IV. Actions which will occur in the near future.
|Voy al mercado lunes.||I’ll go to the store Monday.|
|Ana llega a las dos.||Ana’s arriving at two.|
V. Conditions in si clauses
|Si puedo, iré contigo.||If I can, I will go with you.|
The present tense has three different English equivalents. The English helping verbs "to be" and "to do" are not translated into the Spanish present tense.
|I eat||}||Yo como.|
|I am eating|
|I do eat|
If you want to emphasize the fact that something is happening right now, you can use the present progressive:
|I am eating (right now)||}||Estoy comiendo.|
|I’m in the process of eating|
Present Tense Quiz
Think you’ve got it? Test yourself on the Spanish present tense with this fill-in-the-blanks exercise: