Empezar Verb Conjugation in Spanish

These days, everything around us seems to have a start date and time, therefore, it’s important to add the verb empezar or, “to start,” to your vocabulary. Used interchangeably with the verb comenzar, meaning “to begin,” there will be no shortage of opportunities to use empezar in your everyday conversations, whether you are discussing meetings, movies or dinner.

empezar - to start empezar - to start
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Conjugations

In the present tense, the verb empezar is an irregular, e → ie stem-changing verb. Also in the preterite tense, make note of the small spelling change in the “yo” form, from z → c.

Present

Yo

empiezo

Nosotros/as

empezamos

empiezas

Vosotros/as

empezáis

Él/Ella/Ud.

empieza

Ellos/Ellas/Uds.

empiezan

Example Sentence:

  • El siguiente mes empiezan los juegos olímpicos. → The olympic games start next week.

Imperfect

Yo

empezaba

Nosotros/as

empezábamos

empezabas

Vosotros/as

empezabais

Él/Ella/Ud.

empezaba

Ellos/Ellas/Uds.

empezaban

Example Sentence:

  • Antes la escuela empezaba a las 8:00 am pero ahora es a las 7:30 am. → Before, school used to start at 8:00 am but now it’s at 7:30 am.

Preterite

Yo

empecé

Nosotros/as

empezamos

empezaste

Vosotros/as

empezasteis

Él/Ella/Ud.

empezó

Ellos/Ellas/Uds.

empezaron

Example Sentence:

  • El concierto empezó a las 7:00 pm. → The concert started at 7:00 pm.

Future

Yo

empezaré

Nosotros/as

empezaremos

empezarás

Vosotros/as

empezaréis

Él/Ella/Ud.

empezará

Ellos/Ellas/Uds.

empezarán

Example Sentence:

  • Mañana empezaremos a mudarnos a la nueva casa. → Tomorrow we will start moving into the new house.

Conditional

Yo

empezaría

Nosotros/as

empezaríamos

empezarías

Vosotros/as

empezaríais

Él/Ella/Ud.

empezaría

Ellos/Ellas/Uds.

empezarían

Example Sentence:

  • Si pudieras, ¿empezarías tu propia empresa? → If you could, would you start your own business?

Idiomatic Expressions with Empezar

Here is a list of some of the most common expressions with the verb empezar that you can start incorporating into your daily conversation.

antes de empezar
Directly translating to “before we begin,” this is a great phrase to lead into giving a presentation.

vamos a empezar
This useful phrase translates to “let’s begin” in English and is another great way to start a meeting or presentation

volver a empezar
Meaning, “to start again” this term can be compared to the English expression, “let’s go back to the drawing board.”

Now that you have a basic understanding of the conjugations for the verb empezar and some useful expressions, you can start using it in your everyday Spanish conversations.