Learn how to state your preferences in Spanish with the verb ‘preferir’ conjugation (to prefer). In this lesson we take a close look at its structure and conjugation in the present indicative and progressive tenses.
Coffee or tea? Are you a cat person or a dog person? Do you prefer the beach or the mountain? We always express our preferences and share our opinions with other people. To talk about this with native Spanish speakers, you’ll need the verb preferir (pronounced: preh-feh-REER). Keep reading to learn how to conjugate this irregular verb in the present indicative and the present progressive, and how to use it in context, through lots of examples.
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Using The Verb Preferir
Now that you’re familiar with the conjugation of preferir, let’s comment on a few things regarding the use of this verb.
When we say that we prefer one thing to another, we need to use the following structures:
- preferir + noun + A + noun
- preferir + infinitive + QUE/A + infinitive
For example, you could say:
- Prefiero la playa a la montaña. (I prefer the beach to the mountain.)
- Mi madre prefiere el té al café. (My mother prefers tea to coffee.)
Note: A + the masculine article el becomes al.
- Con este tiempo lluvioso, preferimos ver una película en casa que salir. (In this rainy weather, we prefer watching a movie at home rather than going out.)
It’s also possible not to mention the second element, when it’s evident or known by our interlocutor. In this case, there are these possibilities:
- preferir + noun or infinitive
- preferir + que + subjunctive
Take a look at these examples:
- Prefiero pescado para cenar. (I prefer fish for dinner.)
- ¿Prefieres quedarte en casa hoy? (Do you prefer staying at home today?)
- ¿Prefieren que venga más temprano? (Do you (all) prefer me coming earlier?)
Preferir Preterite Conjugation
The preterite is a past tense we use to talk about finished actions that happened once or momentarily.
Desear is a regular verb, so to conjugate it in the preterite, take its stem (dese-) and add the endings below.
Note: Pay attention to the accent marks (´) on the forms corresponding to yo and él/ella/usted. It’s very important not to omit them or they might be confused with other tenses.
|VERB: desear (deh-seh-AHR) – to wish|
|deseó||(deh-seh-OH)||he/she wished –
you (formal) wished
|deseasteis||(deh-seh-AHS-tays)||you all wished|
you all wished
Note: You’ll only hear the form vosotros/as in Spain, where speakers use it to address more than one person in informal situations. In the rest of the Spanish-speaking countries, everyone uses the form ustedes in any situation.
Preferir Conjugation Spanish
Spanish verbs are a complex area of Spanish grammar, with many combinations of tenses, aspects and moods (up to fifty conjugated forms per verb). Although conjugation rules are relatively straightforward, a large number of verbs are irregular. Among these, some fall into more-or-less defined deviant patterns, whereas others are uniquely irregular. This article summarizes the common irregular patterns.
As in all Romance languages, many irregularities in Spanish verbs can be retraced to Latin grammar.
Borrowed from Latin praeferre, present active infinitive of praeferō, with a change of conjugation.
preferir (first-person singular present prefiero, first-person singular preterite preferí, past participle preferido)
- Rule: e becomes a ie in stressed syllables and i in certain conjugations.
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How To Translate Presente To English?
Notice that the English phrases provided below next to each conjugation are not direct translations from Spanish to English. They are usually the closest general equivalents. The example differences are:
- In Spanish conjugation, there is the form usted in the third person singular. But this person does not translate to the English third person singular. It translates to the so called formal you and uses the inflected form which is most often represented as he/she/it in English conjugation charts.
- Similar situation happens in the third person plural, where ustedes translates to the English plural formal you but uses the form which corresponds to the they form in English.
- Tenses are used differently in Spanish and English, so the actual translation should always take into account the context and focus on translating the meaning, not just words.
- In both languages each verb may have multiple meanings and not every meaning translates directly to the other language. Here also, the context and focusing on the particular meaning helps to create the most accurate translation.