Tocar Verb Conjugation in Spanish

The verb tocar means to “to touch” in English. Also, tocar un instrumento means, “to play an instrument.” Being one of the 5 senses, or cinco sentidos, as well as the verb that is used with instruments, tocar is very common and so it’s important to add it to your vocabulary early on.

playing guitar playing guitar
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Conjugations for Tocar

Luckily, tocar is a regular verb in all tenses and follows all the regular conjugation rules. In the preterite “yo” form, there is a one small spelling change, c → qu, but this is only to maintain the correct sound.

Present

Yo

toco

Nosotros/as

tocamos

tocas

Vosotros/as

tocais

Él/Ella/Ud.

toca

Ellos/Ellas/Uds.

tocan

Example Sentence:

  • El cantante toca la guitarra mientras canta. → The singer plays the guitar while he sings.

Imperfect

Yo

tocaba

Nosotros/as

tocamos

tocabas

Vosotros/as

tocais

Él/Ella/Ud.

tocaba

Ellos/Ellas/Uds.

tocaban

Example Sentence:

  • Antes yo tocaba el piano pero ya se me ha olvidado. → I used to play the piano but now I’ve forgotten how to.

Preterite

Yo

toqué

Nosotros/as

tocamos

tocaste

Vosotros/as

tocasteis

Él/Ella/Ud.

tocó

Ellos/Ellas/Uds.

tocaron

Example Sentence:

  • Cuando estábamos en el zoo, tocamos las jirafas y les dimos de comer. → When we were at the zoo, we touched the giraffes and fed them.

Future

Yo

tocaré

Nosotros/as

tocaremos

tocarás

Vosotros/as

tocaréis

Él/Ella/Ud.

tocará

Ellos/Ellas/Uds.

tocarán

Example Sentence:

  • Durante el concierto, los niños tocarán sus instrumentos. → During the concert, the children will play their instruments.

Conditional

Yo

tocaría

Nosotros/as

tocaríamos

tocarías

Vosotros/as

tocaríais

Él/Ella/Ud.

tocaría

Ellos/Ellas/Uds.

tocarían

Example Sentence:

  • Si pudiera, tocaría la cima del Monte Everest. → If I could, I would touch the top of Mount Everest.

Idiomatic Expressions with Tocar

Surprisingly, the verb tocar can translate to many other verbs such as “ring, knock and honk.” Here is a list of phrases with the verb tocar that you might hear among native-speakers. Make note of the ones that you may want to use in the future!

  • no tocar
    You will most likely read this inside of museums which most directly translates to “don’t touch.”
  • tocar (a) la puerta
    This expression translates to “knock on the door.” Depending on what country you’re in, you may or may not hear this phrase with the preposition “a.”
  • tocar (al/el) timbre
    This phrase translates to “ring the doorbell.” It also may or may not be said with the preposition “a” depending on the country you’re in.
  • tocar la bocina/el claxon
    This expression translates to “to honk your horn (in your car).” This may not be a phrase you use often but it’s good to know and recognize.
  • tocar fondo
    Meaning, “to hit rock bottom” or “to hit an all-time low,” this expression is used to talk about people going through a difficult time in their lives. It is also used to talk about money or a company that is not doing so well economically.

    Example: Esta mañana el peso mexicano tocó fondo. → This morning the Mexican peso hit an all-time low.
  • tocar madera
    This translates to and has the same meaning as “knock on wood” which is said when someone wants to avoid bad luck.

    Example: Toco madera: hasta ahora no me he roto ningún hueso. → Knock on wood: up until now, I have not broken a bone.

Now that you have a list of the most used conjugations of tocar as well as some key idiomatic expressions, you can feel comfortable using it in your everyday conversations.