Dirigir: Conjugation & Translation

Instructor: Yolanda Reinoso Barzallo

Yolanda holds a CELTA Cambridge, a Juris Doctorate, and a Master of Public Administration. She is a published author of fiction in Spanish.

The English verbs 'to lead,' 'to manage,' and 'to guide' have their Spanish equivalent in the verb 'dirigir.' This lesson covers its conjugation in the present tense along with some great examples to illustrate the practical use of this verb.

Meanings of Dirigir

What characteristics should a person who governs/leads a country have? Do you find it easy to direct/manage people at work? Is there anyone you guide so that they succeed in some specific area? All these different ways in English that basically imply guiding someone or something are expressed in Spanish with the verb dirigir (dee-ree-HEER). Thus, this verb means 'to lead/manage' and 'to guide.' Sometimes the translation into English requires a verb other than these, but we will see practical examples of this. First, let's learn to conjugate this verb in the present tense.

Conjugation of Dirigir

The present tense of dirigir is to express usual or habitual situations and facts. Here is a chart with dirigir in this tense:

Verb dirigir (dee-ree-HEER) - to lead / to manage / to guide

Dirigir Conjugation Pronunciation Translation
yo dirijo dee-REE-hoh I lead / manage / guide
diriges dee-REE-hehs you (singular/informal) lead / manage / guide
dirige dee-REE-heh he/she/you (singular/formal) lead(s) / manage(s) / guide(s)
dirigimos dee-ree-HEE-mohs we lead / manage / guide
dirigís dee-ree-hees you (plural/informal) lead / manage / guide
dirigen dee-REE-hen they/you (plural/formal) lead / manage / guide

Note that the 'g' changes into a 'j' for the subject pronoun yo (I). Before we move on, here is a quick trivia piece for you: the words director/directora (male director/female director) derive from the verb dirigir as directors do the work of directing people.

Translation: Clara manages the Human Resources Department.

Examples with Dirigir

There are many ways to use the verb dirigir along with different nouns. The most common ways to use this verb are below along with different subject pronouns so we can practice the conjugation we just learned.

Manage and Direct

The verb dirigir can mean both 'to manage' and 'to direct.' We see both meanings in this example Camila gives us:

  • Yo dirijo una compañía que importa suéteres de alpaca desde Sudamérica. (I manage a company that imports alpaca sweaters from South America.)
  • Sin embargo, mi hermana Clara es quien dirige a los trabajadores de la compañía. (However, my sister Clara is the one who directs the employees at the company.)

Translation: Carlos directs theater plays in Mexico.

Lead and Govern

Also, dirigir can mean both 'to lead' and 'to govern,' like in this example that a professor of political science gives us:

  • Los buenos gobernantes dirigen honestamente a su país pero también dirigen a la gente para que cumpla sus objetivos. (Good government representatives govern their country honestly but also lead people so that they achieve their goals.)

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