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Conjugating the Spanish Verb Esperar (to Wait)

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

Esperar (ehs-pehr-ahr) (to wait) is a regular -ar verb, so its conjugation is pretty straightforward. Here it is in the present tense:

The Present Tense of Esperar
Conjugation Translation
yo espero I wait
tú esperas You (informal) wait
él/ella/ello/uno espera He/she/one waits
usted espera You (formal) wait
nosotros esperamos We wait
vosotros esperáis You all (informal) wait
ellos/ellas esperan They wait
ustedes esperan You all (formal) wait

The following examples show you esperar in action:

  • Esperamos por el tren en la estación. (We are waiting for the train at the station.)

  • ¿Espera usted en la oficina? (Are you waiting at the office?)

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

The Preterit Tense of Esperar
Conjugation Translation
yo esperé I waited
tú esperaste You (informal) waited
él/ella/ello/uno esperó He/she/one waited
usted esperó You (formal) waited
nosotros esperamos We waited
vosotros esperasteis You all (informal) waited
ellos/ellas esperaron They waited
ustedes esperaron You all (formal) waited

You use the preterit tense like this:

  • Ellos esperaron mucho tiempo por sus pasaportes. (They waited a long time for their passports.)

  • ¿Esperaron ustedes mucho tiempo? (Did you wait for a long time?)

The Imperfect Tense of Esperar
Conjugation Translation
yo esperaba I used to wait
tú esperabas You (informal) used to wait
él/ella/ello/uno esperaba He/she/one used to wait
usted esperaba You (formal) used to wait
nosotros esperábamos We used to wait
vosotros esperabais You all (informal) used to wait
ellos/ellas esperaban They used to wait
ustedes esperaban You all (formal) used to wait

Here are some examples of the imperfect tense:

  • ¿Esperabas por el taxi todos los jueves? (Did you used to wait for the taxi every Thursday?)

  • Sí. Lo esperaba todos los jueves? (Yes. I used to wait for it every Thursday.)

The Future Tense of Esperar
Conjugation Translation
yo esperaré I will wait
tú esperarás You (informal) will wait
él/ella/ello/uno esperará He/she/one will wait
usted esperará You (formal) will wait
nosotros esperaremos We will wait
vosotros esperaréis You all (informal) will wait
ellos/ellas esperarán They will wait
ustedes esperarán You all (formal) will wait

The following samples put the future tense to work:

  • ¿Esperarán ustedes por el tren? (Will you wait for the train?)

  • No. Esperaremos por el bus (We will wait for the bus.)

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