Conjugating the Reflexive Spanish Verb Despertarse (to Wake Up)

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

Despertarse (dehs-pehr-tahr-seh) (to wake oneself up) is a stem-changing reflexive ar verb; in the present tense, it has an e-to-ie stem change in all but the nosotros and vosotros forms. Remember that reflexive verbs require reflexive pronouns. Here’s the present tense conjugation:

The Present Tense of Despertarse
Conjugation Translation
yo me despierto I wake up
tú te despiertas You (informal) wake up
él/ella/ello/uno se despierta He/she/one wakes up
usted se despierta You (formal) wake up
nosotros nos despertamos We wake up
vosotros os despertáis You all (informal) wake up
ellos/ellas se despiertan They wake up
ustedes se despiertan You all (formal) wake up

The following examples show you despertarse in action:

  • Él se despierta a las siete de la mañana todos los días. (He wakes [himself] up at 7 a.m. every day.)

  • ¿Se despiertan ellos a tiempo? (Do they wake up on time?)

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

The Preterit Tense of Despertarse
Conjugation Translation
yo me desperté I woke up
tú te despertaste You (informal) woke up
él/ella/ello/uno se despertó He/she/one woke up
usted se despertó You (formal) woke up
nosotros nos despertamos We woke up
vosotros os despertasteis You all (informal) woke up
ellos/ellas se despertaron They woke up
ustedes se despertaron You all (formal) woke up

You use the preterit tense like this:

  • ¿Te despertaste temprano? (Did you wake up early?)

  • Sí. Me desperté temprano y estaba lloviendo. (Yes. I did wake up early, and it was raining.)

The Imperfect Tense of Despertarse
Conjugation Translation
yo me despertaba I used to wake up
tú te despertabas You (informal) used to wake up
él/ella/ello/uno se despertaba He/she/one used to wake up
usted se despertaba You (formal) used to wake up
nosotros nos despertábamos We used to wake up
vosotros os despertabais You all (informal) used to wake up
ellos/ellas se despertaban They used to wake up
ustedes se despertaban You all (formal) used to wake up

Here are some examples of the imperfect tense:

  • Mis amigos se despertaban cantando. (My friendo used to get up singing.)

  • Me despertaba cada mañana a la misma hora. (I used to wake up every morning at the same time.)

The Future Tense of Despertarse
Conjugation Translation
yo me despertaré I will wake up
tú te despertarás You (informal) will wake up
él/ella/ello/uno se despertará He/she/one will wake up
usted se despertará You (formal) will wake up
nosotros nos despertaremos We will wake up
vosotros os despertaréis You all (informal) will wake up
ellos/ellas se despertarán They will wake up
ustedes se despertarán You all (formal) will wake up

The following samples put the future tense to work:

  • ¿Se despertarán ustedes a las siete de la mañana? (Will you wake up at seven in the morning?)

  • Sí. Nos despertaremos a las siete. (Yes. We will get up at seven.)