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“Dormir” Conjugation: A Guide to Talking about Sleeping in Spanish

Some people sleep like babies, others have quite a hard time getting any rest. Regardless of your particular situation, in this article, we’ll help you convey it in Spanish by using the verb dormir (generally meaning to sleep). We will cover the most basic forms of the dormir conjugation for beginners, give some advice to more proficient Spanish users and also add some fun facts and phrases. So, come join us; we’re sure this article won’t put you to sleep!

What type of verb is dormir?

You’re probably tired of reading this, but dormir is definitely not a regular verb. We sure like our exceptions in Spanish! Dormir is considered irregular as it doesn’t follow the usual pattern for Spanish verbs. However, it is more accurately called a stem-changing verb, just like pensar or servir, as only the last vowel of the stem tends to change. In this case, the “o” in “dorm” tends to change to “ue”. You can take a deeper look at stem-changing verbs in this article.

What is the meaning of dormir?

Although dormir is usually used to mean “to sleep”, depending on the context, and particularly when accompanied by a reflexive pronoun (“me”, “se”, “nos”, etc.), this verb can also mean to oversleep, to fall asleep, to get someone to fall asleep or even to get careless or slack off.

We’ll see examples of these uses when we take an in-depth look at the dormir conjugation below, but we’ll go over each of them in this section first to make sure they are clear. Also, if you’d like some more information about Spanish reflexive verbs and how they work, you can take a look at our article on the topic.

Oversleep

  • ¡Me dormí y llegué tarde al trabajo! (I overslept and was late for work!)

Fall asleep or getting someone to fall asleep

  • Me tiré en el sillón un rato y me dormí sin querer. (I laid down on the couch for a bit and fell asleep without meaning to.)
  • Finalmente pude lograr que el bebé se durmiera. (I finally got the baby to fall asleep.)

Get lazy/Slack off

  • Me dormí con esta tarea y ahora no la voy a poder entregar a tiempo. (I slacked off with this assignment, and now I won’t be able to hand it in on time.)

This last meaning is quite informal, but no less important to know. This use of the verb can have to do with procrastinating on or getting careless about any type of job or task.

Verbals of dormir: infinitive, gerund and participle

Now that we’ve covered the sleeping basics, we’ll move onto the actual dormir conjugation. The first step is looking at its verbals: the infinitive, the gerund and the participle. These little rascals can be quite confusing as they don’t actually work as verbs but as nouns, adjectives and adverbs. But don’t panic! They’re not really that bad once you take a look at them.

Infinitive

Dormir (to sleep)

  • Me voy a dormir a casa. (I’m going home to sleep.)

Gerund

Durmiendo (sleeping)

  • Estaba durmiendo, pero alguien se puso a tocar el timbre. (I was sleeping but then someone rang the doorbell.)

Participle

Dormido (slept/asleep)

  • Si hubiese dormido bien, hoy sería mucho más productiva. (If I had slept properly, I would be much more productive today.)
  • Estaba dormido cuando me llamaste (I was asleep when you called me.)

Dormir conjugation for all levels

The deep sleeper: dormir conjugation for beginners

The Spanish indicative mood includes 10 tenses. The presente (present), pretérito imperfecto (imperfect preterite, a form of the past tense), pretérito perfecto (perfect preterite, another form of the past tense) and futuro (future) are among the most common ones. These are also the simplest forms of the dormir conjugation, which is why we’ll take a look at them first.

Subject Present Imperfect Preterite Perfect Preterite Future
Yo (I) duermo dormía dormí dormiré
Tu (You)
Vos (Latin America)
duermes

dormís

dormías dormiste dormirás
Usted (You, formal)

El/Ella (He/She/It)

duerme dormía durmió dormirá
Nosotros (We) dormimos dormíamos dormimos dormiremos
Vosotros (You, plural)
Ustedes (Latin America)
dormís

duermen

dormíais

dormían

dormisteis

durmieron

dormiréis

dormían

Ellos (Them) duermen dormían durmieron dormirán

Dormir conjugation examples for beginners

  • Present: Por suerte los niños duermen toda la noche. (We are lucky the kids sleep the whole night through)
  • Imperfect preterite: Siempre dormía con las luces prendidas. (He/She used to sleep with the lights on.)
  • Perfect preterite: ¿No fuiste a clase porque te dormiste? (You missed class because you overslept?)
  • Future: Dormiremos en una carpa. (We’ll sleep in a tent.)

The light sleeper: dormir conjugation for intermediate students

You made it to the second level! Here we’ll take a look at compound tenses of the dormir conjugation in the indicative mood, which some people are known to lose sleep over.

When it comes to learning compound tenses in Spanish, you first need to have a handle on haber conjugation. Compound tenses in Spanish include the relevant form of the verb haber + the past participle of the verb in question (the one that carries the meaning), so you’ll only use the participle of dormir (dormido) in this case.

Here, we’ll go over the pretérito perfecto (preterite perfect), pluscuamperfecto (pluperfect) and futuro compuesto (future perfect) indicative tenses for dormir, but you might also want to read our article on the haber conjugation to get some extra help.

Subject Preterite Perfect Pluperfect Future Perfect
Yo (I) he dormido había dormido habré dormido
Tu (You)
Vos (Latin America)
has dormido habías dormido habrás dormido
Usted (You, formal)

El/Ella (He/She/It)

ha dormido había dormido habrá dormido
Nosotros (We) hemos dormido habíamos dormido habremos dormido
Vosotros (You, plural)

Ustedes (Latin America)

habéis dormido

han dormido

habíais dormido

habían dormido

habréis dormido

habrán dormido

Ellos (Them) han dormido habían dormido habrán dormido

Dormir conjugation examples for intermediate level

  • Preterite perfect: El bebé ha dormido toda la noche. (The baby has slept through the night.)
  • Pluperfect: Habíamos dormido muy poco esos días. (We had slept very little during those days.)
  • Future perfect: ¿Habrán dormido a pesar de la tormenta? (Will the have slept despite the storm?)

The insomniac: dormir conjugation for advanced learners

This is when things get interesting. The subjunctive mood was made for those who do not fear losing a few hours of sleep in exchange for excellence. This Spanish mood is well, kind of moody: we use it to express doubts, emotions, desires, and the unknown. Below, we’ll be exploring its presente (present) and imperfecto (imperfect) and futuro (future) tenses.

Subject Present Imperfect Future
Yo (I) duerma durmiera o durmiese durmiere
Tu (You)

Vos (Latin America)

duermas durmieras o durmieses durmieres
Usted (You, formal)

El/Ella (He/She/It)

duerma durmiera o durmiese durmiere
Nosotros (We) durmamos durmiéramos o durmiésemos durmiéremos
Vosotros (You, plural)

Ustedes (Latin America)

durmáis

duerman

durmierais o durmieseis

durmieran o durmiesen

durmiereis

durmieren

Ellos (Them) duerman durmieran o durmiesen durmieren

Dormir conjugation examples for advanced learners

  • Present: Cuando se duerman, les podemos pintar la cara. (Once they fall asleep, we can paint their faces.)
  • Imperfect: Si te durmieses temprano, no te costaría tanto levantarte por las mañanas. (If you went to sleep in time, you wouldn’t have such a hard time waking up in the morning)

The subjunctive future is rarely used in speech nowadays, and you are more likely to find it in literature or legal contexts. We haven’t added a conjugation example for the dormir subjunctive future here as this verb in that conjugation is very rare, and you are very unlikely to come across it. Nonetheless, it is good to know it exists and what it looks like.

Extra dormir conjugation: conditional tenses and imperative

If you are still not sleeping well, we have some more tenses of the dormir conjugation to share with you. Here are the condicional simple (simple conditional) and the condicional compuesto (conditional perfect), as well as the imperativo (imperative).

Subject Simple Conditional Conditional Perfect Imperative
Yo (I) dormiría habría dormido
Tu (You)

Vos (Latin America)

dormirías habrías dormido duerme

dormí

Usted (You, formal)

El/Ella (He/She/It)

dormiría habría dormido duerma
Nosotros (We) dormiríamos habríamos dormido durmamos
Vosotros (You, plural)

Ustedes (Latin America)

dormiríais

dormirían

habríais dormido

habrían dormido

dormid

duerman

Ellos (Them) dormirían habrían dormido dormí

Dormir conjugation examples in the conditional tenses and the imperative

  • Simple conditional: Los niños dormirían mejor si no miraran películas de terror. (The kids would sleep better if they didn’t watch horror films)
  • Conditional perfect: ¿Habrías dormido mejor si me hubiese quedado? (Would you have slept better if I had stayed?)
  • Imperative: ¡Duérmete ya! (Get to sleep already!)

If you want more details about conditional tenses, you should take a peek at this article.

Fun facts about sleeping

Sleeping habits

Did you know nap time is sacred in Spain, that Icelanders enjoy napping outdoors or that couples in Germany prefer having personal duvets when they sleep together? If you’d like to learn about different sleeping traditions around the world, you can check out this article.

Lullabies

If you have any children in your life (sons, daughters, siblings, nieces, nephews or grandkids), there is a popular Spanish lullaby called “Duérmete, mi niño” (Sleep, my child) to help them fall asleep. You can take a look at that one and other popular Spanish lullabies in the video below.

Expressions with dormir

To wrap things up, we’d like to share some popular phrases and expressions that include the verb dormir.

Dormirse en los laureles

This phrase means to stop making an effort after achieving success. The English equivalent would be to “rest/sit on one’s laurels” and is used in similar contexts.

Dormir a pierna suelta

This phrase means one is enjoying a night of restful and refreshing sleep. Although it would literally translate into “sleep at loose leg”, this, of course, makes no sense in English. The actual translation into English would be something like “sleep soundly”.

Cría fama y échate a dormir

Though similar in meaning to “dormirse en los laureles”, this saying means that once you get a certain reputation you can rest easy and make no further effort or that it will just follow you around. It’s mostly used with a positive meaning, but it can also be negative. When used in a positive way, it may mean something similar to “get by by reputation alone”, and, in the negative sense of the phrase, it could translate into “you made your bed, now you have to lie in it”.

We hope this article about the dormir conjugation helps you sleep better at night. If you want to keep learning Spanish and are looking for more details about Spanish conjugations in general, do read our overview of Spanish tenses.

Challenge yourself with Clozemaster

Learning the dormir 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 dormir.

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