Mostrar Conjugation: Preterite & Subjunctive

Instructor: Elena Sacramento Lechado

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

The Spanish verb 'mostrar' means 'to show.' Learn how to talk about past situations with its preterite, and express wishes or possibilities with its present subjunctive. We'll learn its conjugation through daily life situations and examples.

Using the Verb Mostrar

Let's say you just came back from an amazing trip to South America. Your family and friends are looking forward to seeing the pictures you took. Your mom says, ''I hope you show us the pictures this evening.'' The following day, your brother says that he loved the photo album you showed them.

To express these ideas in Spanish, you need to use the verb mostrar (pronounced: mohs-TRAHR), which means 'to show.' You can use it to talk about the things your friends showed to you, or to tell someone that you hope they show you how to use a new program you just installed.

In the following sections, we'll take a close look at the conjugation of mostrar in the preterite and the present subjunctive, as well as at the use of this verb in context.

Translation: To show a photo album.

Preterite of Mostrar

We use the preterite to talk about completed actions that have already happened. For example, say that your friend showed you his new bike yesterday, or that you showed your Granny how to use her phone.

To form the preterite of mostrar, we need to add the endings below to its regular stem mostr-:

VERB: mostrar (mohs-TRAHR) - to show

Pronunciation Translation
yo mostré (mohs-TREH) I showed
mostraste (mohs-TRAHS-teh) you showed
mostró (mohs-TROH) he/she showed
you (formal) showed
mostramos (mohs-TRAH-mohs) we showed
mostrasteis (mohs-TRAHS-tays) you all showed
mostraron (mohs-TRAH-rohn) they showed
you all showed

Note: The form vosotros/as is only used in Spain when addressing more than one person in informal situations. In the rest of the Spanish-speaking world, everyone uses the form ustedes.

Examples of Mostrar in the Preterite

Note: When mentioning to whom we show something, use the indirect pronouns me/te/le/nos/os/les IN FRONT of the verb.

Celia loves spending time with her grandparents. Yesterday, she and her brother visited them. She tells us:

  • Mis abuelos nos mostraron algunos álbumes con fotos antiguas. (My grandparents showed us some albums of old pictures.)
  • Mi abuelo me mostró su colección de vinilos. (My grandfather showed me his vinyl record collection.)

Celia's grandmother had bought a new mobile phone, but she didn't know how to use it. Celia says:

  • Le mostré cómo enviar mensajes y utilizar algunas aplicaciones. (I showed her how to send text messages and use some apps.)

Translation: My grandmother showed us many old pictures.

What about yourself? Try and answer these questions in Spanish:

  • ¿Cuándo fue la última vez que mostraste a alguien cómo usar un programa o un aparato? (When was the last time you showed someone how to use a program or a device?)
  • ¿Alguien te mostró fotos ayer? (Did anyone show you any photos yesterday?)

Present Subjunctive of Mostrar

The subjunctive is a set of verbal forms we use to express subjective (rather than certain or factual) information, such as wishes, hopes or possibilities.

To form the present subjunctive of mostrar, we need to use TWO different stems:

  • its irregular stem muestr- for all singular forms and ellos/ellas/ustedes.
  • mostr- for nosotros/as and vosotros/as.

Then, add the endings below and you'll have the conjugation:

VERB: mostrar (mohs-TRAHR) - to show

Pronunciation Translation
yo muestre (MWEHS-treh) I show
muestres (MWEHS-trehs) you show
muestre (MWEHS-treh) he/she shows
you (formal) show
mostremos (mohs-TREH-mohs) we show
mostréis (mohs-TRAYS) you all show
muestren (MWEHS-trehn) they show
you all show

Uses & Examples of Mostrar in the Subjunctive

Let's see the different ways in which you can use the present subjunctive of mostrar.

Expressing Wishes

To express wishes or hopes, use these introductory expressions followed by a subjunctive form:

  • Espero que (I hope that)
  • Quiero que (I want that)
  • Ojalá (Hopefully/I hope)

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