Conjugating the Irregular Spanish Verb Probar (to Try)

Spanish verbs fall into different groups, and each group is conjugated a little differently. If you’re going to master Spanish verbs like probar, you need to be able to identify which group a verb belongs to: regular (follows regular conjugation rules for -ar, -er, and -ir verbs), stem-changing (morphs depending on how you use it in a sentence), spelling-changing (has consonant-spelling changes in some forms to follow pronunciation rules), or reflexive (reflects the action back on the subject of the sentence).

In the present tense, probar (proh-bvahr) (to try) has an o-to-ue stem change in all but the nosotros and vosotros forms. Here’s the present tense conjugation:

The Present Tense of Probar
Conjugation Translation
yo pruebo I try
tú pruebas You (informal) try
él/ella/ello/uno prueba He/she/one tries
usted prueba You (formal) try
nosotros probamos We try
vosotros probáis You all (informal) try
ellos/ellas prueban They try
ustedes prueban You all (formal) try

The following examples show you probar in action:

  • Ella se prueba los zapatos. (She is trying the shoes on.)

  • Yo me pruebo mi camisa. (I am trying my new shirt on.)

And that’s the end of probar’s stem change; it conjugates normally in the preterit, imperfect, and future tenses. Take a look at the following tables and examples:

The Preterit Tense of Probar
Conjugation Translation
yo probé I tried
tú probaste You (informal) tried
él/ella/ello/uno probó He/she/one tried
usted probó You (formal) tried
nosotros probamos We tried
vosotros probasteis You all (informal) tried
ellos/ellas probaron They tried
ustedes probaron You all (formal) tried

You use the preterit tense like this:

  • ¿Se probaron ustedes los ternos? (Did you try the suits on?)

  • Sí. Nos probamos los ternos dos veces. (Yes. We tried the suits on twice.)

You’re off the hook with the stem change in the imperfect and future forms; probar conjugates normally in these tenses. Check out the following tables and examples.

The Imperfect Tense of Probar
Conjugation Translation
yo probaba I used to try
tú probabas You (informal) used to try
él/ella/ello/uno probaba He/she/one used to try
usted probaba You (formal) used to try
nosotros probábamos We used to try
vosotros probabais You all (informal) used to try
ellos/ellas probaban They used to try
ustedes probaban You all (formal) used to try

Here are some examples of the imperfect tense:

  • La compañía probaba los programas. (The company used to test the programs.)

  • Probaban ustedes las cámaras antes de comprarlas? (Did you use to try the cameras before buying them?)

The Future Tense of Probar
Conjugation Translation
yo probaré I will try
tú probarás You (informal) will try
él/ella/ello/uno probará He/she/one will try
usted probará You (formal) will try
nosotros probaremos We will try
vosotros probaréis You all (informal) will try
ellos/ellas probarán They will try
ustedes probarán You all (formal) will try

The following samples put the future tense to work:

  • ¿Probarán ustedes el vino antes de comprarlo? (Will you try the wine before buying it?)

  • Sí. Lo probaremos antes de comprarlo. (Yes. We will try it before buying it.)

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