Sentir Spanish Conjugation: Present Tense & Subjunctive

Instructor: Elena Sacramento Lechado

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

The Spanish verb ''sentir'' is used in a variety of contexts. It can mean 'to feel', 'to sense' or 'to think'. Learn its irregular conjugation and how to use it in different situations with this lesson.

Introducing the Verb Sentir

How are you feeling now? Do you always say what you think? When was the last time you felt sick? The verb sentir (pronounced: sehn-TEER) has several meanings in Spanish. Its basic one is 'to feel', but it can be used in different contexts, meaning 'to think' or 'to feel sorry' as well.

In this lesson we go through its different uses and meanings, along with its conjugation in the present tense and subjunctive. Let's start!

Present Tense of Sentir

Use the present tense to talk about how you feel right now, what you feel or don't feel like doing.

Sentir is irregular in the present, so the stem changes into sient- in all the subject pronouns, except for nosotros/as and vosotros/as, which keep the stem sent-:

VERB: sentir (sehn-TEER) - to feel

Subject Pronouns Sentir Conjugation:
Present Simple
Pronunciation Translation
yo siento (SYEHN-toh) I feel
sientes (SYEHN-tehs) you feel
él/ella/usted siente (SYEHN-teh) he/she feels -
you (formal) feel
nosotros/nosotras sentimos (sehn-TEE-mohs) we feel
vosotros/vosotras sentís (sehn-TEES) you all feel
ellos/ellas/ustedes sienten (SYEHN-tehn) they/you all (formal)

Meanings of Sentir

To Sense

We can use the verb sentir to express what we feel or perceive through any of the senses. For example, when talking about heat or cold:

  • Siento frío. ('I feel cold.') Voy a encender la calefacción. ('I'm going to turn the heating on.')
  • Si sientes calor, abre la ventana. ('If you feel hot, open the window.')

Or when referring to the sense of hearing or taste:

  • ¿Sentís pasos? ('Are you (all) hearing steps?') Creo que viene alguien. ('I think someone is coming.')
  • Me encanta este pastel. ('I love this cake.') Siento un sabor a canela. ('I feel a taste of cinnamon.') ¿Qué tiene? ('What does it have?')

Siento un sabor a canela (I feel a taste of cinnamon)

To Think

Sentir also means 'to think' or 'to have an opinion'. Ana is a self-assertive person, she always tells people what she really thinks. She says:

  • Siempre digo lo que siento, aunque a algunas personas no les guste. ('I always say what I think, even if some people don't like it.')

To Feel Sorry

Another meaning of sentir is 'to feel sorry', so we use it, for example, to give our condolences:

  • Sentimos mucho la muerte de tu abuela. ('We are very sorry about your grandmother's death.')

To Feel

Sentir can also be used as a pronominal verb (sentirse) with the reflexive pronouns me/te/se/nos/os/se in front of its conjugated forms. When used in this way, we can express how someone is feeling, either physically or emotionally.

Let's say you are feeling a bit under the weather today. You could say:

  • No me siento muy bien. ('I'm not feeling very well.') Me voy a la cama. ('I'm going to bed.')

Translation: I am not feeling very well.

After your nap, your mom asks you:

  • ¿Cómo te sientes ahora? ('How are you feeling now?')

Your friend has been a bit rude with her sister and now she feels bad about it. You say:

  • Olga se siente mal por lo que dijo. ('Olga feels bad for what she said.')

Subjunctive of Sentir

We use the subjunctive to talk about information which is not factual, but subjective.

To conjugate sentir in the present subjunctive, we need to take the same stem we used before (sient-) and add the subjunctive endings. Again, nosotros/as and vosotros/as take a different stem (sint- in this case).

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