Ir in Spanish: All About This Versatile Verb

irspanishIn the Spanish language, the verb “ir” means simply “to go”. In addition to functioning in this simple manner, it may also be used in conjunction with other prepositions, nouns, and verbs in a vast array of idiomatic phrases. Let’s discuss the various aspects of this versatile Spanish verb, including its conjugations, including commands, as well as the many phrases that utilize this verb.

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Conjugation and Other Forms

We’ll begin by showing some of the more popularly used conjugations of the verb ir, beginning with the present tense. It’s necessary to be able to conjugate the verb into its different forms in order to fully take advantage of all its possibilities. Since ir is an irregular verb, it does not follow the normal conjugation rules that regular Spanish verbs follow. Want to take your Spanish into the real world? This course on communicating in Spanish will help you converse with native Speakers.

  • Gerund Form: yendo
  • Participle Form: ido
  • Present: yo voy, tú vas, él/ella/ud. va, nosotros vamos, vosotros vais, ellos/ellas/uds. van
  • Preterit: fui, fuiste, fue, fuimos, fuisteis, fueron
  • Imperfect: iba, ibas, iba, ibamos, ibais, iban
  • Conditional: iría, irías, iría, iríamos, iríais, irían
  • Future: iré, irás, irá, iremos, iréis, irán


The following imperative forms of ir are used when giving someone a command, and may prove useful when using some of the phrases in the next section.

  • Positive ve (tú), vaya (ud.), vamos/vayamos (nosotros), id (vosotros), vayan (uds.)
  • Negative no vayas (tú), no vaya (ud.), no vamos/vayamos (nosotros), no vayáis (vosotros), no vayan (uds.)

Phrases Using Ir

Now that you’ve been introduced to the various tenses and forms of ir, you now must learn when to use them. The following section lists many of the popular ir phrases and explains their usage. Master these, along with this course on Spanish for surfers, and you’ll be good to go!

  • ir + a + infinitive/destination: Perhaps the most popular use of ir, this phrase indicates simple intention to do an action or to go to a place, depending on whether you follow up the “a” (“to”) with a verb or place. Example: Yo fui al parque. (“I went to the park.”)
  • ir + en + vehicle: Indicates what mode of transportation you are taking. Example: Yo voy en bicicleta. (I am taking my bike.)
  • ir + para + infinitive: To go somewhere in order to do something. Example: Vamos para escuchar la música. (We’re going in order to listen to music.)
  • ir + gerund: Indicates doing something, with the connotation that the action is happening gradually and is somewhat labored. Example: Vas aprendiendo la guitarra. (You are slowly learning the guitar.)
  • ir + “tirando”: Using ir with the gerund form of tirar shows that the speaker is just getting by in one way or another. Example: Fui tirando con mi dinero. (I was just making it with the money I have.)
  • ir + de: This phrase is used to indicate what someone thinks of themselves. Example: Ella va de bonita. (She thinks she’s pretty.) It may also be used to describe how someone is dressed. Sometimes “de” is replaced with “con”. Example: Ella fue de (con) un vestido azul. (She was dressed in a blue dress.)
  • ir + “de compras”: “To go shopping”. Example: ¿Fuiste de compras hoy? (Did you go shopping today?)
  • ir + por: The first use this phrase indicates the reaching of a milestone or completing a task. Example: Ayer él va por dos años sin cerveza. (Yesterday he reached two years without any beer.) The second use of this phrase indicates searching for something. Example: Fueron por su perro perdido. (They went looking for their lost dog.)
  • ¿Cómo + indirect object pronoun (me, te, le, nos, os, les) + ir?: “How goes it for you, him, her, etc.?” Example: ¿Cómo le va a ella? (How’s it going for her?)
  • Irse: To go away. This is an example of reflexive verb, which allows the speaker to conveniently indicate the object of the action. Example: ¡Nos vamos! (Let’s get out of here!)
  • ir + “andando” or “corriendo”: Andar means “to walk”, correr, “to run”, so using the gerund form of these verbs plus ir emphasizes the walking or running of someone in an action. Example: Ella fue corriendo al carro para llegar a tiempo. (She was running to the car in order to arrive on time.)

As you can see, the verb ir is quite the utility player in the world of Spanish grammar, indicating everything from intentions, to self opinion, to reaching milestones. Combine the useful phrases you learned here with the nuanced tenses mentioned at the beginning of the article, and you have quite the cadre of Spanish language knowledge. If you’d like to learn more, this course on Spanish taught by a former NSA agent should help you get closer to mastery of this beautiful language.