Atreverse Conjugation: Present & Preterite

Instructor: Elena Sacramento

Elena teaches Spanish as a foreign language and has a PhD in linguistics.

In this lesson we will learn about the Spanish verb ''atreverse'', which means 'to dare'. We will study its conjugation in the present tense, as well as its use in one of the Spanish past tenses, i.e. the preterite, using both of them in real contexts.

Using the Verb Atreverse

Are you brave enough to go parachuting or hang-gliding? And what about water sports such as surfing or jet skiing? What were you afraid of when you were a child? In order to talk about these topics in Spanish, you will need to learn the verb atreverse, which means 'to dare' or 'to be brave enough to do something because it is risky or you are afraid of it'.

This verb can be used on its own when both speaker and interlocutor share a context. But normally, we will need to specify which action we dare or don't dare to do, so we will use the structure: atreverse + a + infinitive.


  • atreverse a hacer puenting ('to dare to go bungee jumping')
  • atreverse a hacer caída libre ('to dare to go skydiving')
  • atreverse a volar en parapente ('to dare to go paragliding').

Parapente = Paragliding

Present of Atreverse

In order to form the present tense of atreverse we just need to take the stem atrev- and add the endings following the regular pattern for verbs ending in -ER. But notice it is pronominal! This means that we will have to add the reflexive pronouns me/te/se/nos/os/se (depending on the subject pronoun) IN FRONT of the verb when conjugating it.

VERB: atreverse (ah-treh-BEHR-seh) - to dare

Subject Pronouns Atreverse Conjugation: Present Simple Pronunciation Translation
yo me atrevo meh ah-TREH-boh I dare
te atreves teh ah-TREH-behs you dare
él/ella/usted se atreve seh ah-TREH-beh he/she dares - you formal dare
nosotros/as nos atrevemos nohs ah-treh-BEH-mohs we dare
vosotros/as os atrevéis ohs ah-treh-BAYS you all dare
se atreven seh ah-TREH-behn they/you all formal dare

Translation: Do you dare?

Example Conversation

Marta is having a great time with her friends, Ylenia and David, at the aquatic park. It's her first time there and she is eager to try all the attractions.

Marta: Mira esa atracción, Ylenia. ('Look at that attraction, Ylenia!') ¿Te atreves a tirarte? ('Do you dare to jump?')

Ylenia: No me atrevo. ('I don't.) Me da miedo. ('I'm scared'.)

Marta: Voy a preguntarle a David, a ver si él se atreve a saltar. ('I'm going to ask David and see if he dares to jump'.)

David arrives at that moment and says: Chicas, ¿os atrevéis a probar el tobogán gigante?. ('Girls, do you dare to try the giant waterslide?')

Translation: Aquatic park

Preterite of Atreverse

We use the preterite in order to talk about finished actions in the past. Atreverse is a regular verb, so we will only need to add the adequate preterite endings to its stem (atrev-). But, again, remember to add the reflexive pronouns in front of the verbal forms.

VERB: atreverse (ah-treh-BEHR-seh) - to dare

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