Hablar is the Spanish verb for “to speak” or “to talk”. Let’s learn Hablar and all of its conjugations, including the present, past, future, and subjunctive. We’ll also get lots of practice using Hablar in real sentence contexts.
Hablemos de eso.
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Today we’re going to learn the verb Hablar, which is what we call a “regular verb”.
We’ve now learned 15 verbs on this podcast, and as we’ve pointed out, there were some patterns that were pretty predictable from verb to verb, for example all the third person plural conjugations end with N, such as estaban and quieren. But there have also been a lot of irregularities. For example, in the present tense, sometimes the “I” form ends with g-o, as in hago and tengo, and sometimes with o-y, as in soy and voy. And the preterite for he/she follows all kinds of different patterns, from fue to hizo to dio.
Well, the good news is that most of that hard work is behind us. Going forward, most of the verbs that we learn will be what we call regular verbs, which means they’ll follow one of three extremely predictable patterns, or templates, for how all the different tenses are conjugated.
The most common regular verbs are verbs whose infinitives end with A-R. We’ve already learned a couple of verbs that end with A-R, namely Estar and Dar, but these verbs don’t fit the normal A-R pattern. But the normal A-R pattern IS exemplified by today’s verb, Hablar, which means “to talk” or “to speak”.
The infinitive of this verb is spelled h-a-b-l-a-r. As we learn more and more forms of this verb, pay careful attention to what happens at the very end, where the AR is in the infinitive. That’s the only part of the word that will change from form to form, and those specific changes that you see will be the same changes that all regular AR verbs make going forward.
Here’s an example of the infinitive:
I want to talk about this.
Quiero hablar de esto.
Note that we put the preposition de after hablar, so this is literally “I want to talk of this” or “I want to speak of this”. It IS also possible to put sobre after Hablar, which feels more natural in English, because in English we tend to talk “about” things rather than “of” things. But it’s much more common to put de after Hablar in Spanish, so that’s how we’ll generally do it.
Hablar’s participle is hablado, and the gerund is hablando for “speaking” or “talking”. For example:
We haven’t talked with him.
No hemos hablado con él.
In this example, notice that we use con after the form of Hablar, emphasizing talking “with” someone rather than talking “to” them. In Spanish, you won’t typically use a after Hablar; even when the English refers to talking “to” someone, you’ll still translate it as talking “with” someone in Spanish. For example:
She’s still talking to him.
Ella todavía está hablando con él.
Let’s practice these unconjugated forms, hablar, hablado, and hablando.
There is a need to talk to Juan about that problem.
Hay que hablar con Juan sobre ese problema.
Talking to that dude is not good.
Hablar con ese tipo no es bueno.
We have already talked about the car before.
Ya hemos hablado del auto antes.
Who is the one that has talked to her?
¿Quién es el que ha hablado con ella?
Are you talking to Maria or Ana?
¿Estás hablando con María o con Ana ?
Now for the fun part: Let’s start conjugating this verb! As I mentioned earlier, the only part of the word that will change is the part after the L in hablar. We’ll begin with the present-tense forms. The word for “he/she/usted talks” is habla, which is hablar but without the R. And then the word for “I talk” is hablo. (In fact, in all regular verbs, the first-person “I” form in the present tense ends with O.)
Here’s a simple example:
I talk about this and she talks about that.
Yo hablo de esto y ella habla de eso.
Notice that the stress of these words is on the first syllable, which sounds like “AB”. The part that changes doesn’t get stressed.
That’s also the case with the forms hablas for “you talk” and hablan for “they talk”. For example:
They don’t talk while you talk.
Ellos no hablan mientras tú hablas.
The form for “we talk” is hablamos, which is like hablar but with mos at the end to replace the letter R. This is the one form that has a stress on the second syllable instead of the first syllable. Here’s an example.
We don’t talk much anymore.
Ya no hablamos mucho.
Let’s practice all these present-tense forms.
When I talk to that boy everything is fine.
Cuando hablo con ese chico todo está bien.
I never speak to that man.
Nunca hablo con ese hombre.
She talks to me every day.
Ella habla conmigo todos los días.
Who is that woman that talks to him?
¿Quién es esa mujer que habla con él?
You(formal) always talk about that and we never talk about another thing.
Usted habla siempre de eso y nunca hablamos de otra cosa.
You all never speak about Marcos’s car, do you?
Ustedes nunca hablan del auto de Marcos ¿verdad?
This last one is pretty tricky, using the phrase “of which they speak”, or del que ellos hablan.
Why don’t you talk about that day that they speak about?
¿Por qué no hablas de ese día del que ellos hablan?
Now let’s learn the preterite forms so that we can say things like “he talked” and “we talked”. These are probably the trickiest to learn because they follow a pattern we haven’t seen yet in any other verbs. (In other words, none of the 15 irregular verbs that we previously learned on this show follow the regular pattern for AR verbs.)
The form for “I talked” is hablé, with the stress on the second syllable. So this is spelled h-a-b-l-e, with an accent mark on the E. For example:
I talked with you yesterday.
Hablé contigo ayer.
And then the form for “he/she/usted talked” is habló, also with the stress on the second syllable. This can be a little confusing, because the letters and sounds are exactly the same as for hablo, which means “I talk” in the first person. The difference is that there is an accent mark on the O at the end, and this changes the stress to the second syllable, which changes the meaning completely. Here’s an example of a sentence that uses both hablo and habló.
He didn’t talk but I do talk.
Él no habló, pero yo sí hablo.
Let’s do a little quiz to practice hablé for “I talked” and habló for “he/she/usted talked”, and I’ll also throw in a couple of other forms of Hablar, including hablo, just to help you practice guessing the correct forms.
He talked with her this morning.
Él habló con ella esta mañana.
When did Tamara talk to Michael? I didn’t know.
¿Cuándo habló Tamara con Michael? Yo no sabía.
In truth, I don’t know why I talked to them.
En verdad, no sé por qué hablé con ellos.
I did not talk to that woman in the past, I never talk to her.
Yo no hablé con esa mujer en el pasado, nunca hablo con ella.
Tomás talks about that all the time, right?
Tomás habla sobre eso todo el tiempo, ¿verdad?
You (formal) talked to us and as such we know about the water.
Usted habló con nosotros y como tal sabemos sobre el agua.
All right, let’s learn some more preterite forms. The form for “you talked”, in an informal voice, is hablaste. This might remind you of some other second-person preterite forms that we’ve learned, such as fuiste and pusiste, but this one ends with “aste”, which is how this form ends in all regular AR verbs. Here’s an example:
You didn’t talk to her?
¿No hablaste con ella?
And then “they talked” is hablaron. Again, this is kind of similar to forms like fueron and hicieron, but there’s an A in there. Here’s an example that applies hablaron to ustedes, which means that the speaker is talking to a group of people:
You talked among yourselves?
¿Hablaron entre ustedes?
The word for “we talked” is hablamos. And yes, this is exactly the same as the word for “we talk” in the present tense. There’s no difference either in spelling or in pronunciation. For example:
We talk every day! We talked yesterday.
¡Hablamos todos los días! Hablamos ayer.
This can result in some confusion, but it’s generally easy to tell from context whether hablamos refers to the present tense or the past tense.
Let’s practice hablaste, hablaron, and hablamos.
Did you talk with them about the house?
¿Ya hablaste con ellos de la casa?
Yesterday you talked with Juan and they talked with María.
Ayer hablaste con Juan y ellos hablaron con María.
Alejandro and José talked about your car.
Alejandro y José hablaron de tu auto.
Certain men spoke with those women.
Ciertos hombres hablaron con esas mujeres.
All right, that’s most of the hard work of learning this verb! We still have to learn the imperfect, future, and subjunctive forms, but they’re not too hard. Now before we go on to those, let’s make extra sure that you’re solid on all the forms that we’ve learned so far. Here’s a quick quiz that practices all the unconjugated, present, and preterite forms.
You don’t have to talk to me like that, it’s not OK.
No me tienes que hablar así, no está bien.
Pedro talked to those girls in the past.
Pedro habló con esas chicas en el pasado.
We want to talk to them about Canada.
Queremos hablar con ellos sobre Canadá.
We are not talking to her anymore since that day.
Ya no estamos hablando con ella desde ese día.
Why does he talk about the dollars?
¿Por qué él habla de los dólares?
You always speak when I speak.
Siempre hablas cuando yo hablo.
Every day we talk to that boy.
Todos los días hablamos con ese chico.
When we talked with you you said that you weren’t able.
Cuando hablamos contigo tú nos dijiste que no podías.
In the past we have talked about that table.
En el pasado hemos hablado de esa mesa.
I talked little today, but I always talk too much.
Hoy hablé poco, pero yo siempre hablo demasiado.
I know that you talked to her, but Juan also talked before.
Sé que hablaste con ella, pero Juan también habló antes.
They never talk about what you talked about yesterday.
Ellos nunca hablan de lo que tú hablaste ayer.
In that last example, something a little unusual happened; to say “what you talked about”, we say lo que tú hablaste, and the word “about” from the English simply disappeared. In complex sentences like this there’s really no good place to put the word de or sobre, so it simply disappears, treating what you’re talking about almost like a direct object instead. Here’s one more example of that for practice:
I talked about what he talked about.
Hablé de lo que él habló.
Next let’s learn the imperfect forms. The imperfect past of Hablar is not nearly as common as the preterite, because talking is usually an event or a one-time action. But sometimes you’ll use the imperfect to talk about something that happened repeatedly in the past. For example:
I used to talk with her every day.
Hablaba con ella todos los días.
So the basic form is hablaba, kind of like estaba. (In the case of Hablar, some students like to think of the syllables “blah blah blah”, to refer to talking repeatedly in the past; this mnemonic might help you remember the word hablaba.)
Let’s practice used hablaba to refer to either “I talked” or “he/she/usted talked”.
I used to speak with my friends(f) in the afternoons.
Yo hablaba con mis amigas por las tardes.
David used to talk with his friend about cars.
David hablaba con su amigo sobre los autos.
Every time you(formal) talked, she was happy.
Cada vez que usted hablaba, ella estaba feliz.
Next let’s learn the future-tense forms of this verb. They’re exactly what you would expect them to be: The infinitive, hablar, plus a little extra stressed part at the end. “I will talk” is hablaré, and “he/she/usted will talk” is hablará. For example:
You(formal) will talk, but I won’t talk.
Usted hablará, pero yo no hablaré.
The forms for “they will talk” and the informal “you will talk” are both based on hablará. So they’re hablarán and hablarás. And then the form for “we will talk” is hablaremos, which is based on hablaré.
Let’s practice these.
Later I will talk with them, now I can’t.
Más tarde hablaré con ellos, ahora no puedo.
Tomorrow I will talk to the man, OK?
Mañana hablaré con el hombre, ¿está bien?
When will you talk to them in order to tell them the truth?
¿Cuándo hablarás con ellos para decirles la verdad?
They will talk to Ana and we will talk to Daniel.
Ellos hablarán con Ana y nosotros hablaremos con Daniel.
She will talk with you, but only if you speak with him less and less.
Ella hablará contigo pero solo si tú hablas con él cada vez menos.
All of the subjunctive forms of Hablar are based on hable, which is just like habla, but with an E instead of an A at the end. The form hable can replace either habla (for “he/she/usted talks”) or hablo (for “I talk”). For example:
They don’t want me to talk about that.
No quieren que hable de eso.
The other forms are hables, hablen, and hablemos. If you compare these to their normal present-tense forms, you’ll see that the letter A has been replaced by the letter E. This is the normal way to make a regular AR verb subjunctive.
Let’s practice these forms.
That woman wants me to talk to you.
Esa mujer quiere que yo hable contigo.
When you(formal) speak with her, I will go to that house.
Cuando usted hable con ella, yo iré a esa casa.
I am here so that he talks to me and you talk with him.
Estoy aquí para que él hable conmigo y tú hables con él.
Maybe they(f) talk about the food and we talk about another thing.
Quizás ellas hablen de la comida y nosotros hablemos de otra cosa.
Let’s wrap up this lesson by learning the imperatives. To order someone to talk, in an informal voice, you’ll use the word habla. This is spelled and pronounced exactly the same way as the third person present-tense form, which normally means “he talks” or “she talks”. But it’s usually pretty clear from context when this is being used as an imperative. For example:
Talk to her!
¡Habla con ella!
The other imperatives are based on subjunctives. To tell someone to speak, in a formal voice, you’ll use hable. For example:
(formal) Talk with her.
Hable con ella.
And then to say “let’s talk”, you’ll use hablemos. For example:
Let’s talk about that.
Hablemos de eso.
Let’s practice these.
Talk at another moment, we are at work.
Habla en otro momento, estamos en el trabajo.
Don’t talk about any boy, please!
¡No hables de ningún chico, por favor!
Talk to her, you(both) can’t be without talking.
Habla con ella, no pueden estar sin hablar.
OK, let’s speak with the truth once and for all.
Bueno, hablemos con la verdad de una vez por todas.
For more practice with any of this, feel free to dig deeper at LCSPodcast.com/101. Or if you’re ready, let’s go on to today’s final quiz.
This first example uses the word for Spanish, español, to mention speaking “in Spanish” or en español.
By that day he will speak in Spanish about the equipment.
Para ese día él hablará en español del equipo.
I don’t want anyone to talk about the light.
No quiero que nadie hable de la luz.
I talked to him about some cars; perhaps it’s enough.
Hablé con él de algunos autos, tal vez sea suficiente.
We have not talked in such a long time and, for that reason we have to do it.
No hemos hablado en tanto tiempo y por tal razón tenemos que hacerlo.
Some afternoon they will talk about that book about which you talked.
Alguna tarde hablarán de ese libro del que tú hablaste.
Diana talks about what Janet was talking all the time in the past.
Diana habla de lo que Janet hablaba todo el tiempo en el pasado.
I am sure(f) that we will not talk about the house.
Estoy segura de que no hablaremos de la casa.
When I was talking about Uruguay they were not there.
Cuando yo hablaba de Uruguay ellos no estaban ahí.
I want them to talk about any place.
Quiero que hablen de cualquier lugar.
I am going to go in order for you to talk with her of such a book.
Voy a ir para que hables con ella de tal libro.
Don’t talk about that with them because there is little time.
No hables de eso con ellos porque hay poco tiempo.
Someday I will talk about that if I have some time.
Algún día hablaré de eso si tengo algo de tiempo.
When will you talk about what you did that day?
¿Cuándo hablarás de lo que hiciste ese día?
Since we are talking, you can tell me what that is.
Ya que estamos hablando, me puedes decir qué es eso.
I talk to my friends, but he doesn’t want me to talk to them.
Yo hablo con mis amigos, pero él no quiere que hable con ellos.
How about the day? I am here so that we talk.
¿Qué tal el día? Estoy aquí para que hablemos.
Talk about your children, please!
¡Habla de tus hijos, por favor!
Talk about your(formal) job because it’s very safe.
Hable sobre su trabajo porque es muy seguro.
When we talked to him that night he had quite a few things.
Cuando hablamos con él esa noche tenía bastantes cosas.
Now they are talking about Chicago and they do it more and more.
Ahora hablan de Chicago y lo hacen cada vez más.
There are many cars and I want to have one(some).
Hay muchos autos y quiero tener alguno.
We never talk about the house and this time I want us to talk about that.
Nunca hablamos de la casa y esta vez quiero que hablemos de eso.
Several times you speak about your sons; you have to speak about your daughters.
Algunas veces hablas de tus hijos, tienes que hablar de tus hijas.
He talked about that, and they talked about the food.
Él habló de eso, y ellos hablaron de la comida.
For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/101.
In tomorrow’s episode, we’re going to learn about some more verbs that use the exact same conjugation pattern as Hablar.
This show is brought to you by LearnCraftSpanish.com. The Spanish voice in this episode was our coach Michael Agudelo. Our music was performed by the Seattle Marimba Quartet, and I’m Timothy, encouraging you to do the hard work of learning Spanish. Acquiring a second language is one of the most fulfilling things you can do, so start your fluency journey today at LCSPodcast.com.