Spanish IR verbs blog post, man smiling covered in post it notes

Most Common IR Verbs in Spanish: A Guide to Conjugating and Using Them

Spanish verbs have three possible endings: -ar, -er and -ir

In this post, we’ll shine our spotlight exclusively on the Spanish -ir verbs.

Why? Well odds are, you will use -ir verbs in almost every Spanish conversation you have.

And lucky for you, you’ll be well equipped after reading this guide—so get ready to learn the 24 most common -ir verbs in Spanish, plus how to conjugate and practice them. 


Most Common Regular IR Verbs in Spanish

There are quite a few -ir verbs that will follow the conjugation rules without any strange changes. These are 12 of the most common regular -ir verbs that you will use. 

1. Escribir — To write

You will see this verb pretty often as most Spanish courses will teach it right away.

Escribo un correo electrónico a mi madre cada semana. — I write an email to my mother every week.

2. Vivir — To live

Another one of the most common –ir verbs is vivir. You can use this verb with con (with) to talk about your and others’ present living situations.

Vivo con mi padre. — I live with my father.

3. Confundir — To confuse

If there’s one thing you must know how to talk about as you’re learning Spanish, it’s how to express your own confusion and mistakes. This verb can help.

Siempre confundo la bachata con el merengue. — I always get bachata mixed up with merengue.

If you’ve already learned about reflexive verbs, you’ll definitely want the reflexive form as well, confundirse (to get mixed up, be confused, make mistakes):

Laura se confunde con todo. — Laura’s got everything all wrong.

4. Discutir — To argue

Be careful! This verb usually signifies more combativeness than a mere “discussion,” so native English speakers tend to use it incorrectly. 

Siempre discutimos sobre eso. — We’re always arguing about that.

5. Subir — To rise up 

Unless you’re climbing on a lot of things, the most common ways you’ll use this verb in civilized life are to talk about getting on public transport and uploading things.

Suben al autobus. — They’re getting on the bus.

6. Descubrir — To discover

The uses for this verb are very similar to the English “discover.”

Ahora descubrimos nuestros límites. — Now we’re discovering our limits.

7. Existir — To exist 

If vivir isn’t enough for you, you can wax on about existing!

Pienso, luego existo. — I think, therefore I am. (The translation of Descartes’ famous cogito ergo sum.)

8. Permitir — To permit

This Spanish -ir verb might seem a little formal but you’ll actually see it quite a bit out in public, especially on “don’t do this” signs.

No se permite nadar. — No swimming allowed.

9. Recibir — To receive

Whether it’s messages, gifts or calls, this verb will allow you to say you received them!

¿Recibiste mi correo? — Did you receive my email?

10. Describir — To describe

If you want to describe something in Spanish, it’s probably a good idea to know the word for “to describe.”

Él describió al asesino. — He described the murderer.

11. Decidir — To decide

You will make decisions every day, so here’s a word that will come in handy when talking about them.

Decidimos que no deberíamos ir. — We decided that we shouldn’t go.

12. Compartir — To share

Spanish culture is all about family and community, so it’s good to know how to share!

Ellos comparten la comida. — They share the food.

Most Common Irregular IR Verbs in Spanish

13. Decir — To say

You will hear this verb quite often, but when conjugated, the e will turn into an for all singular forms and then third person plural. 

The first person singular will also have a stem change from dec- to dig- in the present tense.

Le digo hola al policía cada día. — I say hello to the policeman every day.

14. Oír — To hear

For the singular second and third person as well as the third person plural in present tense, the stem for oír will be oy-. 

For the first person singular, the stem will be oig-. The first and second person plural will not have a stem change.

¿Oyes eso? — Do you hear that?

15. Ir — To go

You will hear this irregular verb quite frequently as it’s used in all kinds of contexts. 

This one has a stem of v- for every perspective except for the singular first person, which is conjugated as voy.

Rafael va a cocinar la cena esta noche. — Rafael is going to cook dinner tonight.

16. Servir — To serve

This is another e to i stem change, so the stem will be sirv- for all subjects except for the first and second person plural. 

Sirven alcohol hasta la medianoche. — They serve alcohol until midnight.

17. Pedir — To ask

Pedir follows the same pattern as servir, so the stem is pid- for every subject but nosotros and vosotros.

Los estudiantes están pidiendo más tiempo para terminar el examen. — The students are asking for more time to finish the exam.

18. Venir — To come

Venir has an to ie stem change, so the stem is vien- for the singular second and third person and the third person plural. 

The first person singular is vengo and both nosotros and vosotros maintain ven- as the stem.

Vengo de Guatemala. — I come from Guatemala.

19. Repetir — To repeat

The second in repetir will change to an i, so the stem is repit- for all singular forms and the third person plural.

Repites después de mí. — You repeat after me.

20. Dormir — To sleep

This verb has a o to ue stem change, so the stem will be duerm- for all singular forms and the third person plural.

Ella duerme todo el día. — She sleeps all day.

21. Reírse — To laugh

Note that this is a reflexive Spanish -ir verb, so the reflexive pronoun will come before it when conjugated. 

The stem for this one is rí- for everything but nosotros and vosotros. The stem for nosotros is reí-.

Se ríe de los chistes del comediante. — He laughs at the comedian’s jokes.

22. Sentir — To feel

The stem for sentir will be sient- for all singular forms and the third person plural. A lot of times this will be reflexive as well.

Se sienten tristes por la muerte de su madre. — They feel sad about their mother’s death.

23. Seguir — To follow

The stem for seguir is a little funky. For the first person singular, the conjugation is sigo.

For the second and third person singular and third person plural, the stem is sigu-.

Sigo a su novia en Instagram. — I follow his girlfriend on Instagram.

24. Morir — To die

The stem for this verb is muer- for all forms but nosotros and vosotros.

Me muero de hambre. — I’m dying of hunger.

Conjugating Spanish IR Verbs

To form the present tense of an -ir verb, drop the -ir from the infinitive (base) form of the verb, and add the following endings:

SubjectEndingExample Using Escribir
Yo-oYo escribo
-esTú escribes
Él/Ella/Usted-eElla escribe
Nosotros-imosNosotros escribimos
Vosotros-ísVosotros escribís
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes-enEllos escriben

Note that vosotros (the plural informal “you”) is only used in Spain. If you’re planning on just speaking Spanish in the Americas, you’ll use ustedes with any groups of people you encounter.

When it comes to irregular -ir verbs, every conjugation may be a little bit different.

You mostly have to memorize irregular verbs and their conjugations, but there are patterns that will help you.

One of the best ways to pick up on these patterns is to listen to native speakers and how they use these verbs in their speech.

If you aren’t able to listen to native speakers in person, you can still do it from home with Spanish media like movies, YouTube videos and more.

FluentU is a great option as well, as it’s geared to help you learn native Spanish through authentic video clips and interactive subtitles.

On FluentU, you’ll hear both regular and irregular verbs be used by native Spanish speakers in all kinds of contexts. You’ll even have learning tools like quizzes and flashcards available as well.

The language learning program is also available on iOS and Android if you like more flexibility with your study. 

How to Learn and Practice Spanish Verb Conjugations

Here are some tips on how to learn and practice verb conjugation:

  • Spend time making real sentences with these verbs conjugated in the present tense. This is how the conjugations start to feel natural.
  • Try them out in writing and speech. The more you apply things to your own speech and writing, the more you’ll understand.
  • Memorize entire short sentences when you study, instead of just learning each verb conjugation by itself. This way you’ll learn vocabulary and context along with the conjugations.
  • Study with flashcards. This is a quick way to pick up on conjugations.
  • Write a list of things you do on an average day or in an average week. Use as many of your newly-learned -ir verbs as you possibly can.


Now that you know how to conjugate -ir verbs, you’ll be able to talk about all kinds of important things!

The more you practice, the more natural it will be!

Enter your e-mail address to get your free PDF!

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe