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“Oír” Conjugation: A Guide to Talking about Hearing in Spanish

Do you ever feel like people are listening to you but not really “hearing” you? Do you struggle to make yourself understood? We get it. It’s hard to navigate conversations sometimes, especially in another language, but we’re here to help. This article will walk you through everything you need to know about the Spanish verb “oír”, meaning “to hear”, so you can hear and be heard no matter the occasion. We’ll give you an introduction to the rules around the verb “oír”, as well as go through some beginner, intermediate, and advanced “oír” conjugation tables for different tenses. We’ll also cover some of the more common Spanish expressions that use the verb “oír”, so that you can add some fluency to your vocabulary.

Let’s get started!

What Kind of Verb is Oír?

If you’ve been catching up with this blog for a while, you already know that we’re big fans of irregular verbs. Well, oír is absolutely no different. Like other irregular verbs, it doesn’t obey the common conjugation rules for verbs ending in -ir, -er, and -ar. In oír’s case, this is because the stem of the verb changes when it is conjugated according to certain subjects and tenses. Let me give you an example:

The Spanish verb compartir, meaning to share, also ends in -ir, but is a regular verb. When you conjugate it in the present tense with the yo (I) subject, it becomes “yo comparto” (I share). You’ll notice that the stem of the verb doesn’t change, remaining “compart” no matter how the verb is conjugated. This isn’t the case for oír, where certain letters are added to correctly conjugate it. For instance, to say “I hear”, you say “yo oigo”.

Unfortunately, this means that the conjugation of irregular verbs often just has to be learned by heart, but by doing the Cloze Collection at the end of this guide you’ll be sure to master oír conjugation in no time!

If you want to brush up on other irregular verbs, check out some of our guides on this blog, including the ones for “dormir” (to sleep), “venir” (to come), and “salir” (to go out).

The Difference between Oír and Escuchar

Just like there is a difference between hearing and listening, there is also a subtle difference between the meaning of the verbs “oír” (to hear), and “escuchar” (to listen). These differences are worth keeping in mind because you can go back to the meaning of each verb if you’re ever in doubt as to which one to use in a specific context.

“Oír” generally refers to the sensory, embodied act of hearing, which is done through the ears (orejas or oídos). So for example, when someone asks: “¿Me oyes bien?”, they’re asking “Can you hear me alright?”

“Escuchar”, on the other hand, typically refers to the deliberate act of using your sense of hearing to understand, process, and connect, meaning to listen. So if someone asks: “¿Me estás escuchando?”, they’re saying: “are you listening to me?”

It is important to note that there are occasional moments of confusion where you would use the term ‘oír’ when you would mean ‘to listen’ in English, but as a general rule of thumb, you’re safe to use “oír” when you mean “ to hear” and escuchar when you mean “to listen”.

You’ll most likely pick up on subtle differences and exceptions as you learn, but I’ll give you an example of one right now. If you wanted to tell someone you listened to a concert, you would say “oí un concierto”, rather than “escuché un concierto”. While you could also use “escuché” and be understood, it is more correct to use “oí”.

Oír Verbals

Next, let’s move on to oír’s verbals, which can sometimes be confusing. That’s because despite their name, verbals are when verbs don’t act like verbs in a sentence. Instead, they operate as nouns, adverbs, and adjectives. We’ll go over three of oír’s verbals in this section, the infinitive (infinitivo), the gerund (gerundio), and the participle (participio).

Infinitivo (infinitive)

The infinitive of the verb “oír” is simply “oír”. Easy, right? That’s because you use it in sentences when oír is just a qualifying word for another active verb.

For example: “Puedo oír al mar desde mi ventana”, means “I can hear the ocean from my window”. In this case, the acting verb is “poder” (to be able to), rather than “oír”.

Gerundio (gerund)

The gerund of “oír” is “oyendo” (hearing). We use it when the active verb in a sentence is “estar” (to be).

For example: “Estaban oyendo música cuando sonó el teléfono”, meaning “They were listening to music when the phone rang”. This is another one of those sneaky exceptions we were talking about earlier, where you can use both oír and escuchar to mean listen.

Participio (participle)

The participle of oír is oído (heard), and we use it when the active verb in a sentence is “haber” (to have).

For example: “¿Has oído algo sobre el resultado de las elecciones?”, Means “have you heard anything about the election results?”. In this case, the verb haber is conjugated to “has” (have you), and oído remains the same regardless of how haber is conjugated.

It is also good to keep in mind that the word oído also means the ear as a whole, whereas “oreja” refers to the outer/visible part of the ear. So if someone says “tápate los oídos”, they’re saying “cover your ears”.

If you’ve already mastered verbals, you’re doing great! Let’s move on to conjugating oír.

All-Levels Oír Conjugation

As mentioned before, the fact that oír is an irregular verb means that you might have to learn some of its conjugation rules by heart. The conjugation tables and sentence examples that follow should give you the foundation you need to start using this verb easily.

Hear Me Out: Imperative Oír Conjugation

Let’s start with something fun, for when you want to use “oír” to voice a command. Maybe you spot your friends across the street and want to call them over, or maybe you notice someone has dropped their wallet, and you want to let them know. In the imperative of “oír”, “oye” is colloquially used in Spanish to mean “Hey!” or “You there!”. Let’s explore a bit further.

Subject Imperativo



“Hear” (command)

Yo (I) Oigo
Tu (You)


Vos (Latin America)




El/Ella (He/She/It)


Usted (You, formal)

Nosotros (We) Oigamos
Vosotros (You, plural)


Ustedes (Latin America)




Ellos/Ellas (They/Them) Oigan

Example Sentences for Imperative Conjugation

  • “Oye, tienes un minuto para charlar? -> “Hey, do you have a minute to chat?”
  • “ ¡Oiga! ¡Tiene la mochila abierta!” -> “Hey there! Your backpack is open!”
  • “Niños, oíd lo que os dice la profesora” -> “Kids, listen to what the teacher is telling you”
  • “Oigamos la radio, me interesa este tema” -> “Let’s listen to the radio, I’m interested in this story.”

Keep it Down: Beginner Oír Conjugation

Now that we’ve covered how to work with the imperative of oír, let’s go over some beginner conjugation tenses. We’ll look at the present tense, two different versions of the past tense, perfect (perfecto), and imperfect (imperfecto), and future (futuro) tense. These are quite straightforward once you get the hang of them!

Subject Presente (Present)



Perfecto (Perfect)



Imperfecto (Imperfect)


“was hearing”

Futuro (Future)

“will hear”

Yo (I) Oigo Oía Oiré
Tu (You)


Vos (Latin America)




Oíste Oías Oirás
El/Ella (He/She/It)


Usted (You, formal)

Oye Oyó Oía Oirá
Nosotros (We) Oímos Oímos Oíamos Oiremos
Vosotros (You, plural)


Ustedes (Latin America)













Ellos/Ellas (They/Them) Oyen Oyeron Oían Oirán

Example Sentences for Beginner Conjugation

  • Present: “Pablo ha ido a ver al médico porque no oye bien” -> “Pablo has gone to see the doctor because he can’t hear very well.”
  • Perfect: “Gabriela oyó que iba a llover, entonces salió con un paraguas” -> “Gabriela heard that it was going to rain, so she went out with an umbrella”.
  • Imperfect: “Antes oías mejor, no?” -> “You used to be able to hear better, right?”
  • Future: “Cuando lleguen los invitados, oirás el timbre” -> “You will hear the doorbell when the guests arrive.”

Speak Up: Oír Conjugation for Intermediate Learners

If you’ve gotten this far, you’re doing great! Fear not though, there are still plenty of tenses to go over for oír. Next up, we’ll look at some compound tenses that blend the verb “to have” and the verb “to hear”. These are called pretérito perfecto compuesto (compound perfect preterite), which deals with the present, pluscuamperfecto (pluperfect), which deals with the past, and futuro compuesto (future perfect), which deals with the future.

Subject Pretérito perfecto compuesto


(Compound Perfect Preterite)

“Have heard”




“Had heard”

Futuro Compuesto


(Future Perfect)

“Will have heard”

Yo (I) He oído Había oído Habré oído
Tu (You)


Vos (Latin America)

Has oído Habías oído Habrás oído
El/Ella (He/She/It)


Usted (You, formal)

Ha oído Había oído Habrá oído
Nosotros (We) Hemos oído Habíamos oído Habremos oído
Vosotros (You, plural)


Ustedes (Latin America)

Habeís oído


Han oído

Habíais oído


Habían oído

Habréis oído


Habrán oído

Ellos/Ellas (Them) Han oído Habían oído Habrán oído

Example Sentences for Intermediate Conjugation

  • Compound Perfect Preterite: “He oído que va a haber una manifestación el jueves” -> “I’ve heard there’s going to be a protest on Thursday.”
  • Pluperfect: “Ella había oído que su banda favorita iba a lanzar un disco nuevo” -> She’d heard that her favorite band was going to release a new album.
  • Future Perfect: “Seguro que ya lo habrás oído en las noticias, pero va a haber una tormenta” -> I’m sure you’ll already have heard it on the news, but there’s going to be a storm.

Crank Up the Volume: Advanced Oír Conjugation

Still enjoying going through these verb tables? Great, there’s more in store for you! Let’s go over how to conjugate oír using subjunctive tenses. In Spanish, the subjunctive expresses ambiguity or doubt. So, for instance, we use the subjunctive to say “If I were to hear” (si oyere). The following table will show you how to conjugate “oír” in the present subjunctive (subjuntivo presente), the subjunctive imperfect preterite (subjuntivo pretérito imperfecto), and the future subjunctive (subjuntivo futuro) tenses.

Subject Present Subjunctive (subjuntivo presente)


“Hear” (uncertain)

Subjunctive imperfect preterite (subjuntivo pretérito imperfecto)


“Were to have heard”

Future Subjunctive


(Subjuntivo Futuro)

“Were to hear”

Yo (I) Oiga Oyera or Oyese Oyere
Tu (You)


Vos (Latin America)

Oigas Oyeras or Oyeses Oyeres
El/Ella (He/She/It)


Usted (Formal)

Oiga Oyera or Oyese Oyere
Nosotros (We) Oigamos Oyéramos or Oyésemos Oyéremos
Vosotros (You, plural)


Ustedes (Latin America)




Oyerais or Oyeseis


Oyeran or Oyesen




Ellos/Ellas (Them) Oigan Oyeran or Oyesen Oyeren

Example Sentences for Advanced Conjugation

  • Present Subjunctive: “Cuando oigáis las campanadas, sabréis que es medianoche.” -> “When you hear the bells ring, you’ll know it is midnight.”
  • Subjunctive Imperfect Preterite “Si oyeras mejor, no tendrías que subir tanto el volumen.” -> “If you could hear better, you wouldn’t have to raise the volume so much.”
  • Future Subjunctive “Si oyere algo, te prometo que te lo diría inmediatamente.” -> “If I were to hear something, I promise I would tell you immediately.”

Can You Hear Me? Conditional Oír Conjugation

You’re in the final stretch now! Let’s take you through a couple ways to conjugate “oír” in the conditional tense, so that you can properly express hearing according to different circumstances. For example, you might want to tell someone you would have heard them better if their phone wasn’t broken (“Te habría oído mejor si tu teléfono no estuviera roto”). Using the conditional tense is the best way to convey this meaning, so the following tables will go over the conditional and perfect conditional tenses (condicional and condicional perfecto).

Subject Condicional



“Would hear”

Condicional Perfecto (Perfect Conditional)


“Would have heard”

Yo (I) Oiría Habría oído
Tu (You)


Vos (Latin America)




Habrías oído
El/Ella (He/She/It)


Usted (You, formal)

Oiría Habría oído
Nosotros (We) Oiríamos Habríamos oído
Vosotros (You, plural)


Ustedes (Latin America)




Habríais oído


Habrían oído

Ellos/Ellas (They/Them) Oirían Habrían oído

Example Sentences for Conditional Conjugation

  • Conditional: “Me oirías mejor si no estuvieses escuchando música al mismo tiempo.” -> “You would hear me better if you weren’t listening to music at the same time”.
  • Perfect Conditional: “Si no estuvieseis dormidos, habríais oido pasar el camión de helados.” -> “If you hadn’t been asleep, you would have heard the ice cream truck go by”.

Oír Expressions and Idioms

Great job getting through this post! To celebrate let’s end on something more fun. There are lots of interesting expressions and idioms that use “oír” and the vocabulary in Spanish, and learning to use them can add a lot of ease and fluency to your conversational skills. It is also interesting to note that a lot of them center on the organ of the ear (el oído), rather than the verb oír itself.

  • Planchar la oreja: literally, this saying translates to “ironing the ear”, but really, it means “hitting the hay”, or going to sleep.
  • ¡Oye!: Like we explored before, this doesn’t actually mean “Listen!”, instead, it typically means “Hey!” or “You there!”
  • Ser Duro de Oído: this is a great example of expressions that work both in English and in Spanish. It literally translates to “being hard of hearing”, or not being able to hear properly.
  • Entrarle por un oído y salirle por el otro: This is another example that works great in English and Spanish, as it literally translates to “it went in one ear and out the other”, meaning that someone wasn’t really listening or paying attention.
  • Tener el oído puesto: Literally, this expression translates to “having your ear on”, but really it means to pay attention.
  • Regalar los oídos: Careful with this saying! Because it literally translates to “gifting the ears”, it could make you think that its meaning is something like “lending your ears”, or hearing someone out. Really, this expression means something different. “Regalar los oídos” means to butter someone up, or sweet-talk them to get your way.
  • Soy todo oídos: This one also works in English! It literally means “I’m all ears”.
  • Aguzar el oído: This means “to sharpen the ear”, meaning “to prick up one’s ears”, or attentively listen for something.
  • Oír campanas y no saber de dónde vienen: This expression is great! It literally translates to “hearing bells ringing but not knowing where they came from”, but it means “to not have a clue”.

Oír Conclusion

In this post, we’ve gone over some of the important fundamental conjugation skills for the verb oír at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. We’ve also explored some interesting expressions that use oír, and discussed the difference between “oír” (to hear), and “escuchar” (to listen). With all this information, you’re well on your way to mastering this and other irregular verbs in Spanish.

I highly recommend ending this learning session by trying your hand at the cloze collection at the end of this post, which goes over all the key lessons you went through in this post.

Now you’re ready to hear and be heard with ease!

Challenge yourself with Clozemaster

Learning the oír conjugation might seem daunting at first, but don’t worry, it comes naturally with practice.

Test your skills and see what you’ve learned from this article by playing a selection of sentences with forms of the verb oír.

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