How to ask for a favor using the present tense in Spanish

present tense in spanish

Use the present tense in Spanish to ask for a favor and make your life easier. Forget about complicated questions, formalities or subjunctive forms. In this article I will teach you how to ask for a favor using simple phrases in the present tense. Use these phrases to ask for a favor from a friend in Argentina or to a complete stranger in the streets of Peru, you can use them anywhere.

The present tense in Spanish

Tthe conjugation for present tense in Spanish of the following verbs is the first thing you need to know: hacer (to do), necesitar (to need), pedir (to ask for) y poder (to be able to). Not all of these verbs are regular, so let’s review their conjugations in the present tense below:

Necesitar:

  • (yo) necesito
  • (tú) necesitas / (vos) necesitás
  • (él, ella, usted) necesita
  • (nosotros/as) necesitamos
  • (ellos/ellas/ustedes) necesitan

Hacer:

  • (yo) hago
  • (tú) haces / (vos) hacés
  • (él, ella, usted) hace
  • (nosotros/as) hacemos
  • (ellos/ellas/ustedes) hacen

Poder:

  • (yo) puedo
  • (tú) puedes / (vos) podés
  • (él, ella, usted) puede
  • (nosotros/as) podemos
  • (ellos/ellas/ustedes) pueden

Pedir:

  • (yo) pido
  • (tú) pides / (vos) pedís
  • (él, ella, usted) pide
  • (nosotros/as) pedimos
  • (ellos/ellas/ustedes) piden

Simple phrases to ask for a favor in Spanish

Necesito un favor

Make sure you have enough present tense Spanish conjugation practice and you will be ready to form phrases. Here is the most useful phrase to ask for a favor: «Necesito un favor». This simply means «I need a favor». You can say this phrase to anyone in any context. However, it is not the most polite way of asking for a favor. Study this phrase and keep it as a backup phrase, in case you forget any of the formal ways of asking for a favor that will be discussed below.

Te pido por favor que…

The best translation of this phrase in English is simply «I ask you to please…». In Spanish we use the verb «pedir» to ask for favors or to order something. If you prefer to be formal, you should say «Le pido por favor que…». Another way to phrase this is to say «Quiero pedirte por favor que…». Un ejemplo, «Te pido por favor que apagues el cigarrillo» which means «I ask you to please put out your cigarette». Take into account that after «te pido que» comes a verb in the subjunctive form.

Questions

¿Me hacés un favor?

Instead of saying that you need a favor, you can ask someone directly if they can do you a favor with the question «¿Me hacés un favor?», which means «Can you do me a favor?». If you prefer to be formal, then you should conjugate the verb «hacer» in the third person singular ‘usted’. Therefore, you should ask «¿Señor/a, me hace un favor?». This question is often asked with the verb «poder» before «hacer» as in the example below.

¿Podés hacerme un favor?

Another way of asking for a favor using the present tense in Spanish is to ask «¿Podés hacerme un favor?». If you prefer to be formal, you should say «¿Señor/a, puede hacerme un favor?». When you have «poder» combined with «hacer», you have to conjugate «poder» in the second or third person. The verb «hacer» stays in its infinitive form but we add a «me» at the end. The translation of this question in English is «Can you do me a favor?».

Other useful phrases

¿Me das una mano, por favor?

Do you want to take your Spanish to the next level? Use the phrase «darle una mano a alguien» to sound more like a local. Ask the question «¿Me das una mano, por favor?». In English this means «Can you give me a hand, please?». It is rather informal but it sounds more natural, at least in Argentina, where I am from. Remember that if anyone asks this question to you, the most common answer is a yes or no answer: «Sí, claro» o «No, disculpa.»

¿Me hacés la gauchada?

Speak like a native South American. If someone asks you «¿Me hacés la gauchada?» they are asking you for help. This is a phrase that we use in Argentina and several other countries of South America very often. A «gauchada» is basically a favor, something you do for another person without seeking any compensations. It comes from the word «gaucho», a man known for being noble, generous and brave.

¡Te lo pido por favor!

The closest translation of the phrase «¡Te lo pido por favor!» in English is «I beg you, please!». Keep in mind that you should only use this phrase if you intend to sound desperate. If your intention is not to sound desperate for help, then refrain from using this phrase to ask for a favor. Another use for this phrase is to scold someone, for example: «María, ordená ya tu habitación, te lo pido por favor».

Conclusion

Asking for a favor using the present tense in Spanish should not be difficult or complicated. Remember to have the phrase «Necesito un favor» as a backup phrase in case you forget other ways to ask for a favor. Do not focus your attention on being polite, formal or grammatically correct. The fact that you are trying to learn and speak Spanish shows that you have respect for other cultures and that is fantastic (¡fantástico!).

Please let me know if this post was useful and if you put any of these phrases into practice. Comment below!

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