If you’ve ever heard Pitbull yell “¡Dale!” in one of his songs, then you have most certainly interacted with the Spanish verb dar. Dar (to give) is one of the most common verbs in Spanish, yet one of the most misunderstood! This is why the verb dar deserves its own personal guide. In this guide you’ll learn everything you need to know about dar conjugation and how to conjugate dar in Spanish.
If you’re an avid language learner like me, then you’d agree that just scanning conjugation tables is impersonal and overwhelming. We tend to overthink language, and while it is infinitely complex, there are really only six different ways we use verbs on a daily basis. They range from very simple matters-of-fact to more hypothetical scenarios, such as:
- “I go, I went, I will go, I used to go…”
- “If I went, I would…”
- “If I had gone, I would have….”
For the verb dar, I laid out the most commonplace uses by difficulty level:
BEGINNER (One Verb)
1. I give (yo doy)
2. I gave (yo di)
3. I will give (yo daré)
4. I used to give (yo daba)
INTERMEDIATE (Two Verbs)
5. If I gave, I would… (si diera, daría…)
ADVANCED (Four verbs)
6. If I had given, I would have… (si hubiera dado, habría dado)
In this article, I have a created a powerful outline for you to learn the most common conjugations of the Spanish verb dar in the different tenses above, plus definitions and practical colloquial expressions of dar that you can ACTUALLY use.
Now let’s break down the secrets of the world of conjugation!
Are you familiar with the antiquated term dowry, or the amount of money or property brought to her husband upon marriage?
Yep, you guessed it- that’s where we get our beloved verb dar, to give! The Indo-European root do– eventually became dare in Latin, and from here we inherit lots of fun words- donors, donation, data, and adoption. Actually, the Spanish word don means a gift, such as “Tienes un don por los idiomas”or “You have a gift for languages”!
Funny enough, “bien dotado” or gifted used to mean a husband who inherited a lot of land and cattle. Today, on the other hand, it has taken on a more intimate meaning as in blessed or well endowed in a more… physical way!
In Beginners dar, we will start with the conjugations of the most commonplace tenses (I give, I gave, I’ll give, and I used to give…) Then, we will show example sentences with one verb construction.
First, take a look at the first two columns to see how to use dar in the present tense (yo doy) as well as how to use the verb dar in the past tense (yo di).
*Irregular in bold
|él, ella, Usted||da||dio||dará||daba|
|ellos, ellas, ustedes||dan||dieron||darán||daban|
Dar is one of the most common verbs in Spanish, which makes it susceptible to irregularities in its conjugation. As shown in the green text in our chart above, you will find most of the irregularities in the present tense and past preterite tense of dar. (For more on irregular verbs using dar, check out the scary red text in the link attached.)
Next, skip over to the conjugation of the verb dar in the future tense in the third column – not too scary I hope. There is an important note here, however, so take a look at some additional information below about the notion of the future tense in Spanish.
|NOTE: It is important to remember that the auxiliary verbs will and would do not exist in Spanish. Instead, the infinitive verb is modified to include the notion of future and conditional (I’ll give = daré, He would give = daría).|
Lastly, check out the conjugation of the verb dar in the imperfect tense in the final column. Most English speakers struggle when trying to use this tense correctly. To make sure you are not confusing your tenses, we break down an important concept of time when it comes to using the verb dar in the past tense.
|HERE’S THE DEAL: The imperfect implies that a certain action took place over an extended period of time in the past. Di and daba both mean I gave but the first is a concrete period in time (I gave her my homework) and the latter occurs over a longer period of time (I gave private lessons in high school). Daba can also mean “I used to give..”|
The above four tenses cover some of the most basic conversation skills. Again, they only require the use of one conjugated verb (I give, I gave, I’ll give, and I used to give…)
Let’s put what we just learned in practice. Check out these example sentences of the verb dar below and then try some on your own!
- Le doy mucha atención (I give him/her a lot of attention)
- Te dio una carta? (Did he give you a card?)
- Daremos cien dólares a la iglesia (We will give 100 dollars to the church)
- Daba clases de inglés en la Universidad (I used to give English classes at the university)
There you have it! You have graduated from beginner dar usage to intermediate dar usage. Let’s start theory classes on the next level of using dar and keep practicing.
In Intermediate dar, we will look at some of the more underground conjugations to create two verb sentences that enable us to talk about hypothetical situations. We will go over using the verb dar in the imperfect subjunctive tense as well as the verb dar in the conditional tense.
*Irregular in bold
(if I) gave…
(I) would give…
|él, ella, Usted||diera||daría|
|ellos, ellas, ustedes||dieran||darían|
In Intermediate Spanish, we move up from one conjugated verb per sentence to two conjugated verbs. The tenses Imperfect Subjunctive and Conditional are like two peas in a pod in the grammar world- they go everywhere together!
Imagine you just won the lottery. In a hypothetical situation, you would say:
“If I had a million dollars, I would buy a Ferrari”
In English, the Imperfect Subjunctive is had, and the Conditional is would buy, as seen above. For the verb dar, the Imperfect Subjunctive is gave (diera), and the Conditional is would give (daría).
The best way to learn the conjugations at this level is by putting it in practice. Let’s take a look at some example sentences below.
The following sentences show how the two magical verbs above form hypothetical sentences:
- Si no le diera mi dinero, le daría mi tiempo (If I didn’t give her my money, I would give her my time)
- Si su madre no le diera todo, se daría cuenta que la vida es difícil (If her mother didn’t give her everything, she would realize that life is difficult)
- Si el profesor nos diera menos tareas, le daría un regalo (If the teacher gave us less homework, I would give him a present)
|KEY TAKEAWAY: The Imperfect Subjunctive and the Conditional ALWAYS go together, no matter what verb you’re working with! Remember this powerful mnemonic device: Imperfect Love is Subjective and Conditional!!!|
In Advanced dar, we cover more advanced conjugations of the verb dar in the Past Perfect Subjunctive and the Perfect Conditional tense. We break down their meanings and give supplemental example sentences in this next section.
|Subject||Past Perfect Subjunctive
(if I) had given…
(I) would have given…
|yo||hubiera dado||habría dado|
|tú||hubieras dado||habrías dado|
|él, ella, Usted||hubiera dado||habría dado|
|nosotros||hubieramos dado||habríamos dado|
|vosotros||hubierais dado||habríais dado|
|ellos, ellas, ustedes||hubieran dado||habrían dado|
In Advanced Spanish, we move up from two verbs per sentence to four, and dive into the major “What if’s?” of life. These are the shoulda coulda wouldas of Spanish. It’s the perfect combination of perfect tenses- Past Perfect Subjunctive and Perfect Conditional.
In these tenses, we use the verb haber as an auxiliary verb, and the verb dar in it’s past participle -dado (see our other guide for more on Spanish past participles).
Using Perfect tenses are great because we just need to remember how to conjugate haber and then throw a past participle in the mix. This is an example with the verb dar, but any verb can follow this pattern.
“Si hubiera dado, hubiera hablado, si hubiera hecho…”
(If I had given, if I had spoken, if I had done…)
“Yo habría dado, habría hablado, habría hecho…”
(I would have given, would have spoken, I would have done…)
Again, once you start getting into the more intense levels of Spanish, nothing beats practicing the tenses to really get a grasp on them. Keep reading to get some examples of how to use dar using a combination of these advanced tenses.
Take a look at these advanced examples of dar below and try some on your own!
- Si no le hubiera dado las respuestas, no las habría dado a la profe (If I hadn’t given her the answers, she wouldn’t have given them to the professor)
- Si le hubiera dado tu número, lo habría dado a todo el mundo (If you had given him your number, he would have given it to everyone)
- Si el profesor nos hubiera dado menos tareas, le habríamos dado un regalo (If the teacher had given us less homework, we would have given him a present)
|THE BEST PART? In some Latin American countries, people use the Past Perfect Subjunctive twice to form a sentence, even though it is technically incorrect. Take the above sentence for example: “Si le hubiera dado tu número, lo hubiera dado a todo el mundo”. Do not be surprised if you hear locals speaking like this or even stress about adopting it, because it is more colloquial and easier to conjugate- like the English shortening of should have to shoulda.|
Some expressions in Spanish don’t translate directly, and the verb dar seems to be present in many of these. Many times dar is used in lieu of the English verb to make (i.e. it makes me anxious = me da ansias, it makes me jealous = me da celos!) See some of the most common expressions with dar below:
- ¡Dale¡ – This can mean a variety of things – Hurry up! or Alright, let’s go! or Come on!
- Dar asco (me da asco!) – It makes me sick! Literally, it gives me disgust.
- Dar celos (me da celos!) – It makes me jealous.
- Dar cuerda – To encourage someone, or to lead someone on.
- Dar de comer – To feed
- Dar la cara por alguien – To stand up to someone
- Dar en el clavo – To hit the nail on the head
- Dar igual (me da igual!) – It doesn’t matter or It’s the same to me
- Dar ganas de (me da ganas de salir!) – I’m in the mood to… I’m in the mood to go out
- Dar las gracias – To thank someone
- Dar a luz – To give birth
- Dar una vuelta – To go for a walk
- Darse cuenta de (me di cuenta!) – To realize, come to the realization
- Darse por vencido (nunca me daré por vencido!) – To give up, I will never give up!
|HERE’S THE CATCH: The Spanish verb realizar is a false cognate to the English verb realize. Cognate is the grammar equivalent of cousins. However, in Spanish, to realize something would be darse cuenta. For example, “Me di cuenta que tengo mucha suerte!” or I realized I am very lucky! The verb realizar can mean to bring to fruition, whether that be a dream or even a movie.|
Today, we didn’t merely scan conjugation tables, but we looked at the six most common ways that you can ACTUALLY use the verb dar, from one verb per sentence to four:
- I give (yo doy)
- I gave (yo di)
- I will give (yo daré)
- I used to give (yo daba)
- If I give, I would… (si yo diera, daría)
- If I had given, I would have… (si hubiera dado, habría dado)
REMEMBER VERBAL PARTNERS THAT ALWAYS GO TOGETHER:
- Imperfect Subjunctive + Conditional (Imperfect Love is Subjective and Conditional!)
- Past Perfect Subjunctive + Perfect Conditional (Perfect Pals!)
Finally, we covered colloquial expressions with the verb dar and identified pesky false cognates! You should be a Dar master by now!
Dale! If you want to practice your mastery of the verb dar, head to Clozemaster and get your grammar gaming on.
Practice conjugating dar and hundreds of other Spanish verbs in context with Clozemaster!