Recoger Conjugation: Preterite, Subjunctive & Present Progressive

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.

The Spanish verb 'recoger' means 'to pick up/tidy up,' and we can use it in multiple contexts, such as picking someone up or collecting the mail. Learn its uses and conjugation in the preterite, the subjunctive and the present progressive.

Let's Tidy Up!

Did you tidy up your room this morning? Did you pick anyone up on your way to school or work? When did you last collect the mail or a parcel? To talk about this with Spanish speakers, you can use the verb recoger (pronounced: reh-koh-HEHR), which means or 'to tidy up' or 'to pick up.'

Keep reading to learn how to use this verb in the preterite and the present progressive, and how to talk about possibilities or give negative commands with its present subjunctive.

Translation: To tidy up the bedroom.

Preterite of Recoger

As in English, we use the preterite in Spanish to talk about finished actions in the past. For example, you could use this tense to say that you tidied up the house or that you picked up the mail this morning.

Recoger is regular in this tense, so all you need to do is take its stem (recog-) and add the endings below. It sounds easy, doesn't it?

VERB: recoger (reh-koh-HEHR) - to pick up/tidy up

Pronunciation Translation
yo recogí (reh-koh-HEE) I picked up/tidied up
recogiste (reh-koh-HEES-teh) you picked up/tidied up
recog (reh-koh-HYOH) he/she picked up/tidied up
you (formal) picked up/tidied up
recogimos (reh-koh-HEE-mohs) we picked up/tidied up
recogisteis (reh-koh-HEES-tays) you all picked up/tidied up
recogieron (reh-koh-HYEH-rohn) they picked up/tidied up
you all picked up/tidied up

Note: Only Spaniards use the form vosotros/as, when addressing a group of people in an informal situation. In the rest of the Spanish-speaking countries, native speakers use the form ustedes instead.

Examples of Recoger in the Preterite

On weekends, Noelia usually helps her family with the cleaning and the tidying up. She tells us what everyone did this morning.

  • Todos limpiamos y recogimos las habitaciones. (All of us cleaned and tidied up the rooms.)
  • Mi hermana recogió los juguetes de su cuarto. (My sister tidied up the toys in her bedroom.)
  • Mientras mi madre cocinaba, yo recogí los tomates de la huerta para hacer una ensalada. (While my mom was cooking, I picked up the tomatoes from the garden to make a salad.)
  • Además, mi padre recogió el correo. (Also, my father collected the mail.)

Lunch is ready now, and her mom asks Noelia and her sister:

  • ¿Ya recogieron todo? (Did you (both) tidy everything up?) Vamos a almorzar. (We're going to have lunch.)

Translation: I picked up the tomatoes from the garden.

Subjunctive of Recoger

We use the subjunctive to express wishes or indirect requests, and to talk about possibilities. We also use it to give negative commands.

To form the present subjunctive of recoger, we use its stem recoj-. This change from g to j is just for phonetic reasons - we want to keep the sound /h/ from the stem. Otherwise, g + a would sound like /gah/.

VERB: recoger (reh-koh-HEHR) - to pick up/tidy up

Pronunciation Translation
yo recoja (reh-KOH-hah) I pick up/tidy up
recojas (reh-KOH-hahs) you pick up/tidy up
recoja (reh-KOH-hah) he/she picks up/tidies up
you (formal) pick up/tidy up
recojamos (reh-koh-HAH-mohs) we pick up/tidy up
recojáis (reh-koh-HIYS) you all pick up/tidy up
recojan (reh-KOH-hahn) they pick up/tidy up
you all pick up/tidy up

Uses & Examples of Recoger in the Subjunctive

Let's see how we can use the present subjunctive of this verb.

Giving Indirect Requests

To give indirect requests, you can start your sentences with:

  • Espero que (I hope that)
  • Quiero que (I want that)

Noelia's mom is organizing the chores in the house. She says:

  • Espero que recojan la ropa del suelo. (I hope you (both) pick up the clothes from the floor.)

Translation: I want you to pick up the building blocks from the floor.

Giving Negative Commands

To give negative orders or commands, just use No + subjunctive.

  • No recojas la ropa del tendedero, que está húmeda. (Don't get the clothes off the line, because they're wet.)

Talking about Possibilities

To talk about possibilities, introduce your sentences with:

  • Es posible que (It's possible that)
  • Es probable que (It's probable that)
  • Posiblemente (Possibly)
  • Probablemente (Probably)

Noelia's mom might pick a friend up on her way to the mall, while her husband runs some errands.

  • Probablemente recoja a Celia de camino al centro comercial. (I'll probably pick Celia up on my way to the mall.)
  • Es probable que Marcos recoja el paquete después. (Marcos will probably pick up the parcel later.)

Present Progressive of Recoger

We use the present progressive to say what someone is doing at the moment of speaking. To form it, we need two parts:

  1. The present tense of the verb estar.
  2. The present participle of recoger, which is recogiendo.

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