Conjugating the Spanish Verb Cantar (to Sing)

Spanish verbs fall into different groups, and each group is conjugated a little differently. If you’re going to master Spanish verbs like cantar, 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).

Cantar (kahn-tahr) (to sing) is a regular -ar verb, so its conjugation is pretty straightforward. Here it is in the present tense:

The Present Tense of Cantar
Conjugation Translation
yo canto I sing
tú cantas You (informal) sing
él/ella/ello/uno canta He/she/one sings
usted canta You (formal) sing
nosotros cantamos We sing
vosotros cantáis You all (informal) sing
ellos/ellas cantan They sing
ustedes cantan You all (formal) sing

The following examples show you cantar in action:

  • Ella canta en la escuela todos los días. (She sings at school every day.)

  • Canto y canto y no me canso. (I sing and sing and I don’t get tired.)

Need to know how to conjugate cantar in another tense? The following tables show you the preterit, imperfect, and future forms.

The Preterit Tense of Cantar
Conjugation Translation
yo canté I sang
tú cantaste You (informal) sang
él/ella/ello/uno cantó He/she/one sang
usted canto You (formal) sang
nosotros cantamos We sang
vosotros cantasteis You all (informal) sang
ellos/ellas cantaron They sang
ustedes cantaron You all (formal) sang

You use the preterit tense like this:

  • Cantamos el himno nacional esta mañana. (We sang the National Anthem this morning.)

  • ¿Cantaron tus padres cuando te casaste? (Did your parents sing when you got married?)

The Imperfect Tense of Cantar
Conjugation Translation
yo cantaba I used to sing
tú cantabas You (informal) used to sing
él/ella/ello/uno cantaba He/she/one used to sing
usted cantaba You (formal) used to sing
nosotros cantábamos We used to sing
vosotros cantabais You all (informal) used to sing
ellos/ellas cantaban They used to sing
ustedes cantaban You all (formal) used to sing

Here are some examples of the imperfect tense:

  • María cantaba siempre en la ducha. (Mary used to always sing in the shower.)

  • ¿Cantaban ustedes cuando subían a las montañas? (Did you sing when you used to climb mountains?)

The Future Tense of Cantar
Conjugation Translation
yo cantaré I will sing
tú cantarás You (informal) will sing
él/ella/ello/uno cantará He/she/one will sing
usted cantará You (formal) will sing
nosotros cantaremos We will sing
vosotros cantaréis You all (informal) will sing
ellos/ellas cantarán They will sing
ustedes cantarán You all (formal) will sing

The following samples put the future tense to work:

  • Jorge cantará en la boda este otoño. (Jorge will sing at the wedding this fall.)

  • Cantaré en el coro este domingo. (I will sing in the choir this Sunday.)

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