Reir Conjugation: Present Tense & Preterite

Instructor: Elena Sacramento Lechado

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

There is no doubt that laughter is the best medicine, so ''reír'' (to laugh) should be an important verb in our daily life. In this lesson, you will learn how to conjugate it in the present and the preterite tenses, by using it in context.

How Often Do You Laugh?

As the great Chilean writer Pablo Neruda said, La risa es el lenguaje del alma ('Laughter is the language of the soul'). It is scientifically proven that laughing provides stress relief and health benefits. So let's use the verb reír (to laugh) more often!

How often do you laugh? When was the last time you laughed until you cried? In this lesson, you'll learn to talk about this by conjugating reír in the present and the preterite tenses.

Translation: To laugh

Using the Verb Reírse

Before learning its conjugation, we should consider a few things:

  • Reír is often used as a reflexive verb (reírse). Both of them mean 'to laugh', and you will probably find reírse more often. The only difference is that the reflexive verb requires the pronouns me/te/se/nos/os/se in front of the conjugated forms.
  • If we add the preposition de to the verb, its meaning changes. The expression reírse de implies that you laugh AT someone or make fun of them.
  • Use the expression reír(se) a carcajadas with the meaning 'to laugh until you cry'.

Present of Reír

Use the present tense to talk about how often you or others laugh or what makes you laugh.

Reír is irregular in the present tense, so its stem vowel (e) changes to i in all subject pronouns, except for nosotros/as and vosotros/as, which keep the regular stem re-.

Now add the present endings to these stems and you'll have the conjugation:

VERB: reír (reh-EER) - to laugh

Subject Pronouns Reír Conjugation:
Present Simple
Pronunciation Translation
yo río (REE-oh) I laugh
ríes (REE-ehs) you laugh
él/ella/usted ríe (REE-eh) he/she laughs -
you (formal) laugh
nosotros/nosotras reímos (reh-EE-mohs) we laugh
vosotros/vosotras reís (reh-EES) you all laugh
ellos/ellas/ustedes ríen (REE-ehn) they/you all (formal)


Ana is watching a stand-up comedy show on TV and can't stop laughing. She says:

  • Me río muchísimo con este humorista. ('I laugh a lot with this comedian.') Es divertidísimo. ('He's hilarious.')

Her roommate, Martín, can't avoid laughing when hearing Ana. He says:

  • Cuando Ana ríe nadie puede parar de reír. ('When Ana laughs, nobody can stop laughing.') Su risa es contagiosa. ('Her laughter is contagious.')

Their other roommate, Felipe, is a bit of a grinch and doesn't really understand that comedian's jokes:

  • ¿Por qué te ríes tanto, Ana? ('Why do you laugh so much, Ana?') No es gracioso. ('He's not funny.')
  • ¡Felipe, no seas aguafiestas! ('Felipe, don't be a wet blanket!') Nos reímos porque es muy divertido. ('We laugh because he's very funny.')

Translation: I laugh a lot with this comedian.

Preterite of Reír

Use the preterite to talk about how much or why you laughed yesterday, last weekend or at any point in the past.

To conjugate reír in the preterite, we need the stem ri- for the third person (both singular and plural). For the rest of the subject pronouns, we use the regular stem (re-).

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