27 The verb Ir: “to go”
The verb “ir” (to go) is another common and very practical verb in Spanish; it’s used to express where you’re going and to talk about plans—what you’re “going to do”. However, take off its “ending” and there’s nothing left! It is another irregular verb, but look at the endings and you’ll see something familiar—they are very similar to -ar ending verbs, and as with the verbs “ser/estar” the “yo” form has the -oy ending:
Ir: to go
|Subject pronouns||Singular||Basic meaning||Subject pronouns||Plural||Basic meaning|
|yo||voy||I go||nosotros/as||vamos||we go|
|tú||vas||you go||vosotros/as||vais||you go (Sp.)|
|él||va||he goes||ellos||van||they have|
|ella||va||she goes||ellas||van||they have (f)|
|Ud.||va||you go||Uds.||van||you go|
Ojo: Recall that a conjugated verb in the present tense frequently has three possible meanings; for example, the “tú” form “vas” can mean:
- You go
- You’re going
- You do go
The same form “vas” can be used to ask questions, and no auxiliaries (are/do below) need to be added:
|¿Cuándo vas a la tienda?||When are you going to the store?|
|¿Vas a la playa mucho?||Do you go to the beach much?|
This flexibility of meaning holds true for all the conjugations of ir:
|Infinitive||Possible Statements||Possible Questions|
|voy||I go, I’m going||Do I go? / Am I going?|
|vas||you go, you’re going||Are you going? / Do you go?|
|va||she goes, she’s going||Is she going? / Does she go?|
|vamos||We go, we’re going||Are we going? / Do we go?|
|vais||you go, you’re going (pl / Spain)||Are you going / Do you go?|
|van||You guys go, you’re going (pl)||Are you going / Do you go?|
|van||They go, they’re going||Are they going? / Do they go?|
A speaking context will normally make the specific meaning clear. If we are talking about who all is going to a party (una fiesta), and I suddenly ask:
- ¿Van Catalina y Maite a la fiesta?
The meaning of that would be:
- Are Catalina and Maite going to the party?
If I wanted to know whether Catalina and Maite go to lots of parties, I might ask:
- ¿Van Catalina y Maite a muchas fiestas?
Even though the first part of each question (¿Van Catalina y Maite…?) is the same, the latter question would mean:
- Do Catalina and Maite go to lots of parties?
1. Ir: used to express where one is going
Because we always go to a place, typically “a” (to) is going to follow “ir”. Oftentimes, we say we’re going to the bank, or to the pool, and we need to use “the” (el/la). So this is a good time to see one of the two contractions that exist in Spanish. When you say you’re going “to the…” and the place (noun) is feminine, you would use “a la”:
|Voy a la fiesta.||I'm going to the party.|
But notice if the place (noun) you’re going to is masculine, the “a el” contracts to “al”:
|Voy al parque.||I'm going to the park.|
This contraction (a + el = al) only happens when “a” appears before the singular “el”. Do you see the contractions in the following sentences?
|Yo voy al banco más tarde.||I’m going to the bank later.|
|Ellos van a la playa el sábado.||They’re going to the beach on Saturday.|
|¿Por qué va Ariana al hospital?||Why is Ariana going to the hospital?|
|¿Vas a la casa de Jorge?||Are you going to Jorge’s house?|
|Vamos a la piscina para nadar.||We’re going to the pool to swim.|
2. Ir: used to express what one is going to do
To talk about your upcoming plans, you can use “ir” in a two-verb structure, with “a” separating the verbs; we conjugate “ir” and leave the second verb in the infinitive:
ir + a + verb (inf.)
|Equivalent in English
"going to do something"
|¿A qué hora vas a comer?||What time are you going to eat at?|
|Vamos a terminar a las cuatro.||We’re going to finish at four.|
|¿Va a ir Ana también?||Is Ana going to go too?|
|¿Adónde van a viajar?||Where are they going to travel to?|
|No voy a trabajar este fin de semana.||I’m not going to work this weekend.|
|¿Qué vas a hacer? (hacer = to do?)||What are you going to do?|
¿Cómo se dice…?:
Let’s try out some sentences: use the verb “ir” to express the following sentences in Spanish.
Some vocabulary you might need: concierto = concert; con frecuenia = often; ahora = now; esto = this
- (At) what time is Silvia going to work?
- Why aren’t they going to the concert?
- My class is going to be interesting.
- My classes are going to be interesting.
- Does Miguel go to the store often?
- You’re going to understand this. (Ud.)
- Who’s going to eat now?
- How many books are we going to buy?
- ¿A qué hora va a trabajar Silvia?
- ¿Por qué no van al concierto (ellos)?
- Mi clase va a ser interesante.
- Mis clases van a ser interesantes.
- ¿Va Miguel a la tienda con frecuencia?
- Ud. va a comprender esto.
- ¿Quién va a comer ahora?
- ¿Cuántos libros vamos a comprar?