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How to conjugate Deber in Spanish

To owe, to must, to should

Introduction

Deber is the Spanish verb meaning "to owe, to must or to should". It can be used to describe owing money to someone, or to express obligation. For example: I should go to the store, I must do my homework before dinner, I have to make my bed every morning, and I ought to help them clean. It is also commonly used to make a suggestion, for example: "No deberíamos fumar" (We shouldn't smoke).

Similar verbs to deber include: tener que (to have to).

SpanishSpanishEnglish
Infinitivedeberto owe, to must, to should
Past participledebidoowed
Gerunddebiendoowing

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Indicative Tenses of Deber

Deber in the Indicative Present

The Indicative Present of deber is used to talk about situations, events or thoughts that are happening now or in the near future. It is also used to talk about facts and truths. For example, "debo dinero", meaning "I owe money".

PronounSpanishEnglish
YodeboI owe
debesyou owe
Ella / Él / Usteddebes/he owe, you (formal) owe
Nosotras / Nosotrosdebemoswe owe
Vosotras / Vosotrosdebéisyou (plural) owe
Ellas / Ellos / Ustedesdebenthey owe, you (plural formal) owe
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Deber in the Indicative Preterite

The Indicative Preterite of deber is used to talk about actions completed in the past, at a specific point in time. For example, "debí dinero", meaning "I owed money".

PronounSpanishEnglish
YodebíI owed
debisteyou owed
Ella / Él / Usteddebiós/he owed, you (formal) owed
Nosotras / Nosotrosdebimoswe owed
Vosotras / Vosotrosdebisteisyou (plural) owed
Ellas / Ellos / Ustedesdebieronthey owed, you (plural formal) owed
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Deber in the Indicative Imperfect

The Indicative Imperfect of deber is used to describe regular and repeated actions that happened in the past and descriptions of things you used to do. For example, "debía dinero", meaning "I used to owe money".

PronounSpanishEnglish
YodebíaI used to owe
debíasyou used to owe
Ella / Él / Usteddebías/he used to owe, you (formal) used to owe
Nosotras / Nosotrosdebíamoswe used to owe
Vosotras / Vosotrosdebíaisyou (plural) used to owe
Ellas / Ellos / Ustedesdebíanthey used to owe, you (plural formal) used to owe
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Deber in the Indicative Future

The Indicative Future of deber is used to talk about something that will happen in the future. For example, "deberé dinero", meaning "I will owe money".

PronounSpanishEnglish
YodeberéI will owe
deberásyou will owe
Ella / Él / Usteddeberás/he will owe, you (formal) will owe
Nosotras / Nosotrosdeberemoswe will owe
Vosotras / Vosotrosdeberéisyou (plural) will owe
Ellas / Ellos / Ustedesdeberánthey will owe, you (plural formal) will owe
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Deber in the Indicative Conditional

The Indicative Conditional of deber is used to talk about something that may happen in the future, hypothesis and probabilities. For example, "debería dinero", meaning "I would owe money".

PronounSpanishEnglish
YodeberíaI would owe
deberíasyou would owe
Ella / Él / Usteddeberías/he would owe, you (formal) would owe
Nosotras / Nosotrosdeberíamoswe would owe
Vosotras / Vosotrosdeberíaisyou (plural) would owe
Ellas / Ellos / Ustedesdeberíanthey would owe, you (plural formal) would owe
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Deber in the Indicative Present Perfect

The Indicative Present Perfect of deber is used to describe actions that started recently (in the past) and are still happening now or things that have been done recently. For example, "he debido dinero", meaning "I have owed money".

PronounSpanishEnglish
Yohe debidoI have owed
has debidoyou have owed
Ella / Él / Ustedha debidos/he has owed, you (formal) have owed
Nosotras / Nosotroshemos debidowe have owed
Vosotras / Vosotroshabéis debidoyou (plural) have owed
Ellas / Ellos / Ustedeshan debidothey have owed, you (plural formal) have owed
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Deber in the Indicative Past Perfect

The Indicative Past Perfect of deber is used to talk about actions that happened before another action in the past. For example, "había debido dinero", meaning "I had owed money".

PronounSpanishEnglish
Yohabía debidoI had owed
habías debidoyou had owed
Ella / Él / Ustedhabía debidos/he had owed, you (formal) had owed
Nosotras / Nosotroshabíamos debidowe had owed
Vosotras / Vosotroshabíais debidoyou (plural) had owed
Ellas / Ellos / Ustedeshabían debidothey had owed, you (plural formal) had owed
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Deber in the Indicative Future Perfect

The Indicative Future Perfect of deber is used to talk about something that will have happened in the future after something else has already happened. For example, "habré debido dinero", meaning "I will have owed money".

PronounSpanishEnglish
Yohabré debidoI will have owed
habrás debidoyou will have owed
Ella / Él / Ustedhabrá debidos/he will have owed, you (formal) will have owed
Nosotras / Nosotroshabremos debidowe will have owed
Vosotras / Vosotroshabréis debidoyou (plural) will have owed
Ellas / Ellos / Ustedeshabrán debidothey will have owed, you (plural formal) will have owed
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Deber in the Indicative Conditional Perfect

The Indicative Conditional Perfect of deber is used to talk about something that would have happened in the future but didn’t due to another action. For example, "habría debido dinero", meaning "I would have owed money".

PronounSpanishEnglish
Yohabría debidoI would have owed
habrías debidoyou would have owed
Ella / Él / Ustedhabría debidos/he would have owed, you (formal) would have owed
Nosotras / Nosotroshabríamos debidowe would have owed
Vosotras / Vosotroshabríais debidoyou (plural) would have owed
Ellas / Ellos / Ustedeshabrían debidothey would have owed, you (plural formal) would have owed
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Want a better way to learn conjugations?

Ella Verbs guides you through 30 levels of bite sized lessons and verb drills, helping you to master the 16 main Spanish tenses from our verb library of over 1,000 verbs.

Subjunctive Tenses of Deber

Deber in the Subjunctive Present

The Subjunctive Present is used to talk about situations of uncertainty, or emotions such as wishes, desires and hopes. It differs from the indicative mood due to the uncertainty of the events which are being spoken about. For example, "deba", meaning "I owe".

PronounSpanishEnglish
YodebaI owe
debasyou owe
Ella / Él / Usteddebas/he owe, you (formal) owe
Nosotras / Nosotrosdebamoswe owe
Vosotras / Vosotrosdebáisyou (plural) owe
Ellas / Ellos / Ustedesdebanthey owe, you (plural formal) owe
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Deber in the Subjunctive Imperfect

The Subjunctive Imperfect is used to speak about unlikely or uncertain events in the past or to cast an opinion (emotional) about something that happened in the past. For example, "debiera", meaning "I owed".

PronounSpanishEnglish
YodebieraI owed
debierasyou owed
Ella / Él / Usteddebieras/he owed, you (formal) owed
Nosotras / Nosotrosdebiéramoswe owed
Vosotras / Vosotrosdebieraisyou (plural) owed
Ellas / Ellos / Ustedesdebieranthey owed, you (plural formal) owed
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Deber in the Subjunctive Future

The Subjunctive Future is used For example, "debiere", meaning "I will owe".

PronounSpanishEnglish
YodebiereI will owe
debieresyou will owe
Ella / Él / Usteddebieres/he will owe, you (formal) will owe
Nosotras / Nosotrosdebiéremoswe will owe
Vosotras / Vosotrosdebiereisyou (plural) will owe
Ellas / Ellos / Ustedesdebierenthey will owe, you (plural formal) will owe
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Deber in the Subjunctive Present Perfect

The Subjunctive Present Perfect is used to describe past actions or events that are still connected to the present day and to speak about an action that will have happened by a certain time in the future. For example, "haya debido", meaning "I have owed".

PronounSpanishEnglish
Yohaya debidoI have owed
hayas debidoyou have owed
Ella / Él / Ustedhaya debidos/he has owed, you (formal) have owed
Nosotras / Nosotroshayamos debidowe have owed
Vosotras / Vosotroshayáis debidoyou (plural) have owed
Ellas / Ellos / Ustedeshayan debidothey have owed, you (plural formal) have owed
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Deber in the Subjunctive Past Perfect

The Subjunctive Past Perfect is used to speak about hypothetical situations, and actions/events that occurred before other actions/events in the past. For example, "hubiera debido", meaning "I had owed".

PronounSpanishEnglish
Yohubiera debidoI had owed
hubieras debidoyou had owed
Ella / Él / Ustedhubiera debidos/he had owed, you (formal) had owed
Nosotras / Nosotroshubiéramos debidowe had owed
Vosotras / Vosotroshubierais debidoyou (plural) had owed
Ellas / Ellos / Ustedeshubieran debidothey had owed, you (plural formal) had owed
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Deber in the Subjunctive Future Perfect

The Subjunctive Future Perfect is used For example, "hubiere debido", meaning "I will have owed".

PronounSpanishEnglish
Yohubiere debidoI will have owed
hubieres debidoyou will have owed
Ella / Él / Ustedhubiere debidos/he will have owed, you (formal) will have owed
Nosotras / Nosotroshubiéremos debidowe will have owed
Vosotras / Vosotroshubiereis debidoyou (plural) will have owed
Ellas / Ellos / Ustedeshubieren debidothey will have owed, you (plural formal) will have owed
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Imperative Tenses of Deber

Deber in the Imperative Affirmative

The Imperative Affirmative is used to give orders and commands, to tell someone to do something. For example, "deba", meaning "(to you formal) owe!".

PronounSpanishEnglish
Yo--
debe(to you) owe!
Ella / Él / Usteddeba(to you formal) owe!
Nosotras / Nosotrosdebamos(to we) owe!
Vosotras / Vosotrosdebed(to you plural) owe!
Ellas / Ellos / Ustedesdeban(to you plural formal) owe!
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Deber in the Imperative Negative

The Imperative Negative is used to give orders and commands, telling someone not to do something. For example, "no deba", meaning "(to you formal) don't owe!".

PronounSpanishEnglish
Yo--
no debas(to you) don't owe!
Ella / Él / Ustedno deba(to you formal) don't owe!
Nosotras / Nosotrosno debamos(to we) don't owe!
Vosotras / Vosotrosno debáis(to you plural) don't owe!
Ellas / Ellos / Ustedesno deban(to you plural formal) don't owe!
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Example sentences and usage

  • No debí desconectarme del sitio. I shouldn't have logged off.
  • Debemos aprender a vivir juntos como hermanos, o pereceremos juntos como tontos. We must learn to live together as brothers, or we will perish together as fools.
  • Debo admitir que ronco... I must admit that I snore.
  • Nosotros debemos aprender a encarar virtuosamente la adversidad. We must learn to meet adversity gracefully.
  • Debiste de haber rechazado una propuesta tan injusta. You should have refused such an unfair proposal.
  • La gente debería entender que el mundo está cambiando. People should understand that the world is changing.
  • ¡Debes ayudarla, y pronto! You must help her, and soon!
  • Debes irte de una vez a casa. You must go home at once.
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Want to explore other verb conjugations?

Why not check out quedar – to stay, to remain, to be left or see the complete list of verbs here.

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Want a better way to learn conjugations?

Ella Verbs guides you through 30 levels of bite sized lessons and verb drills, helping you to master the 16 main Spanish tenses from our verb library of over 1,000 verbs.

This is a really great format for genuine learning. Kudos to the developers! Having to type out the conjugations rather than choose from a multiple choice quiz may seem like an inconvenience at first, but it does wonders for one’s recall.

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