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Ahorrar: Translation, Conjugation & Past Participle

Instructor: Elena Sacramento Lechado

Elena has a PhD in linguistics from University of La Laguna (Spain). Currently, she teaches Spanish as a foreign language and creates teaching resources.

This lesson covers the Spanish verb 'ahorrar,' which means 'to save (up).' Learn how to use it properly in context in both the present and present perfect tenses through loads of examples from daily life situations.

Introducing the Verb Ahorrar

Are you a saver or more of a spendthrift? What about Christmas time and vacation? Can you manage to save anything after the vacation has finished? Do you save on gas and electricity? In this lesson we study the Spanish verb ahorrar (pronounced: ah-oh-RAHR), which means 'to save' or 'to save up', and can be used in all these contexts. Learn how to conjugate this verb in the present and present perfect tenses and use it adequately in context, as well as some useful vocabulary related to money, savings and environment.

Ahorrar (to save)
save

Using the Verb Ahorrar

You can use the verb ahorrar on its own. In this case, it will be implied that you are saving money:

  • Quiero ahorrar para comprarme un coche. ('I want to save up for buying a car'.)
  • Nos gustaría ahorrar para hacer un viaje en verano. ('We'd like to save up for a trip in the summer'.)

Are you saving up at the moment? What for? Think about how to say this in Spanish. Notice that we normally use ahorrar + para (for) when indicating the purpose.

On the other hand, you can add an object to indicate what you are saving. Ahorrar means 'to save' and, as in English, it can be used in the sense of saving up money or economizing, but also in the sense of saving energy or resources. Take a look at the table below for some frequently used vocabulary related to ahorrar.

Spanish Pronunciation Translation
ahorrar dinero (ah-oh-RAHR dee-NEH-roh) to save money
ahorrar agua/energía/
electricidad/gasolina

(ah-oh-RAHR AH-wah/eh-nehr-HEE-ah/
eh-lehk-tree-see-DAHD/gah-soh-LEE-nah)
to save water/energy/
electricity/gas
(los) ahorros (lohs ah-OH-rohs) savings
ahorrador(a)
(adjective and noun)
(ah-oh-rah-DOHR) saver
despilfarrador(a)
(adjective and noun)
(dehs-peel-fah-rah-DOHR) spendthrift

Present Tense of Ahorrar

Ahorrar is a regular verb that belongs to the first conjugation group in Spanish, that is, those verbs ending in -AR. To conjugate it in the present, just take its stem (ahorr-) and add the appropriate endings:

Subject Pronouns Ahorrar Conjugation:
Present Simple
Pronunciation Translation
yo ahorro (ah-OH-roh) I save
ahorras (ah-OH-rahs) you save
él/ella/usted ahorra (ah-OH-rah) he/she saves -
you (formal) save
nosotros/nosotras ahorramos (ah-oh-RAH-mohs) we save
vosotros/vosotras ahorráis (ah-oh-RIYS) you all save
ellos/ellas/ustedes ahorran (ah-OH-rahn) they/you all (formal) save

Example Conversation

Use the present tense to talk about routines. Do you normally save money? What for? Take a look at this conversation among Nuria and her friends about their savings:

Paula: ¿Normalmente ahorras dinero? ('Do you normally save money?')

Nuria: Sí, ahorro para viajar o para ir a festivales. ('Yes, I save up for traveling and going to festivals'.) ¿Y vosotros para qué ahorráis? ('And what do you (both) save up for?')

Mateo: Ahorramos para algo especial como conciertos o viajes también, pero ahora mismo queremos ahorrar para comprar un coche. ('We save up for something special like concerts or trips as well, but right now we want to save up for buying a car'.)

Nuria: Mi hermano también ahorra para un coche, aunque ahora tiene muchos gastos con la universidad y el nuevo piso. ('My brother also saves up for a car, although he has a lot of expenses now with the university and the new flat'.)

Note: Remember that when we there are two verbs we only conjugate the first one. Notice the example queremos ahorrar, where we keep the infinitive (ahorrar).

Ahorro para viajar = I save up for traveling
ahorros

Past Participle of Ahorrar

A past participle is a verbal form that indicates that an action is finished or completed.

In order to form past participles in Spanish, just drop the infinitive ending (-AR/-ER/-IR) and add -ado or -ido depending on the verb group (-ado for -AR verbs and -ido for the rest).

So the past participle of ahorrar is ahorrado, which means 'saved'. But we do not generally use participles on their own, so let's see how to use it in context.

Present Perfect Tense of Ahorrar

We can use past participles in combination with another verbal form, for example, in the present perfect. The present perfect is used to talk about actions that started in the past but have an influence on the moment of speaking. This tense consists of two parts - the verb haber (the auxiliary 'have') + the past participle (ahorrado in this case).

So just remember how to conjugate the first part:

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