Coger: Meaning and Uses, with every Coger Conjugation

The Spanish verb Coger: Meanings and Conjugations

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Coger in Spanish is one of those dynamic verbs that are both common and very nuanced. While its primary translation is to take or to grab, coger, like many Spanish verbs, carries a range of nuanced meanings and expressions that go beyond its literal sense.

So in today’s post, we’ll begin with an examination of the meanings of coger in Spanish, covering even the most colloquial ones.

After our journey through the meanings, we will then introduce a coger conjugation chart for every tense and mood, covering the indicative, subjunctive, and imperative.

Along the way, we’ll provide tons of examples to help you master the coger meanings while also demonstrating the full range of coger conjugations.

Coger meanings

Before we delve into coger conjugation, it’s important to clear some things up regarding definition, since it can be problematic if you use it in the wrong context.

So, is coger a bad word in Spanish? No, but also yes. In most contexts, coger is used literally to simply refer to the action of taking or grasping an object, person, or idea.

However, in certain Latin American countries, coger may carry sexual implications. This use is rather vulgar, so it’s best to be aware of regional variations in the usage and perception of this verb to avoid misunderstandings.

Now that we know this, let’s continue with the various meanings of coger, starting with the everyday ones and ending with an explanation of its rude use.

To take, To hold

The primary and most common translation of coger in English is to take. This refers to the action of physically grabbing or taking hold of something.

  • Voy a coger el libro que dejaste en la mesa. – I’m going to take the book you left on the table.
  • ¿Puedes coger las llaves antes de salir? – Can you take the keys before leaving?
  • Coge la herramienta adecuadamente para que no te hagas daño. – Hold the tool properly so you don’t harm yourself.

To take [transportation]

Coger is the verb we use to mean to take when giving directions or talking about transportation, like taking a turn or taking a bus.

  • Cuando llegues a la avenida, coge la tercera calle a la izquierda. – When you reach the avenue, take the third street on the left.
  • No cojas la autopista, mejor coge un atajo. – Don’t take the highway; it’s better to take a shortcut.
  • Mis padres viven lejos de la ciudad. Necesitamos coger un tren para visitarlos. – My parents live far from the city. We need to take a train to visit them.

To pick, To choose

Another nuanced meaning of coger is to pick, indicating the action of selecting or choosing something.

  • Le gustan mucho las fresas, así que cogió la más grande y roja. – She really likes strawberries, so she picked the biggest and reddest one.
  • Cogí los zapatos que me parecieron más cómodos. Espero bailar bien con ellos. – I picked the shoes that seemed most comfortable to me. I hope to dance well with them.
  • Tengo tres opciones, coge la que más te guste. – I have three options. Choose the one you like the most.

To take up, To get into

In some cases, coger can mean to take up or to get into when referring to picking up a habit or hobby. This use is very informal.

  • Las niñas han cogido la costumbre de merendar todos los días a las 5 p.m. – The girls got into the habit of having a snack every day at 5pm.
  • A mi esposo le ha cogido por pintar paisajes en su tiempo libre. – My husband has taken up painting landscapes in his free time.

To understand, To get it

In some informal contexts, coger can be interpreted as to understand or to get it when talking about grasping information such as explanations or jokes.

  • No cogiste el chiste, ¿verdad? – You didn’t get the joke, right?
  • ¡Qué inteligentes son tus hijos! Cogieron las instrucciones del juego enseguida. – How intelligent your children are! They grasped the rules of the game right away.

To catch [a person or object]

Another way to interpret coger in English is as to catch. This can be in the literal sense, as in capturing or catching something or someone.

  • ¡Ese es el hombre que se llevó mi bolso! ¡Rápido, cójanlo! – That’s the man who took my purse! Quick, catch him!

To catch [an ailment]

Coger is also used in a medical sense when referring to catching an illness, such as a cold or a disease. However, this use is sort of informal.

  • Luisa me dijo que había cogido un resfriado y que no vendría. – Luisa told me she caught a cold and wouldn’t come.
  • Mi perrito cogió una infección en la pata y debo llevarlo al veterinario. – My little dog caught an infection in his paw, and I need to take him to the vet.

To fuck, To bang, To score, To do [a woman]

This coger meaning is definitely vulgar, and generally considered to be derogatory since it’s only ever used to refer to a man’s successful conquest over a woman. There’s no romance involved here. It’s really a machismo term for the physical act culminating from a chase, that should rather be translated along the lines of to bang, to do, to score, or to fuck. We recommend against using this term at all, but include it here because this coger meaning is used a lot among Latino men.

  • No puedo creer que cogiste a mi hermana. ¿Qué carajo? – I can’t believe you did my sister. What the fuck!?
  • La gordita del bar del viernes, ¿te la cogiste? / Claro. ¡Y la cogí de nuevo sabado mañana! – The little chubby one from the bar on Friday, did you bang her? / Of course. And I did her again on Saturday morning!

Coger conjugation

Coger is an irregular verb in Spanish. While it follows the same conjugation patterns as regular -er verbs in most of its forms, it exhibits a -g- to -j- consonant change in three tenses. This reflects the fact that the g in coger is pronounced just like the Spanish j, as an aspirated /h/ sound, so the consonant change maintains this pronunciation in tenses where the spelling would otherwise have led to a hard /g/ sound.

Watch out, because this pronunciation and consonant change leads many Spanish speakers to spell the verb incorrectly as cojer. The correct spelling of this verb is always coger! Also, it shouldn’t be confused with a similar but unrelated verb, cojear, which means to limp.

If you’re looking for more fundamental lessons on conjugation in Spanish, we recommend that you begin with our post on Spanish infinitives, and then with our big post on all the verb tenses in Spanish.

For now, let’s move on and see each and every coger conjugation. We’ll break down our lesson by mood, going through the indicative, the subjunctive, and the imperative. As always, we’ll provide plenty of examples to make sure you understand each coger conjugation in context.

Now let’s begin our coger conjugations!

Indicative mood

The indicative mood is used to express actions that are believed to be real, concrete, or factual. When using the indicative mood, the speaker is making straightforward statements or asking questions without uncertainty. It is the most commonly used mood in everyday communication.

In the following sections, we’ll provide a coger conjugation chart in each indicative tense: present, imperfect, preterite, future, conditional, and all the perfect forms.

Coger present conjugation

In the present indicative, coger follows the regular -er verb conjugation pattern for most of the grammatical persons, but with a stem change from cog- to coj- in the first-person singular yo conjugation.

Subject Coger conjugation present tense
Yo cojo
Él, Ella, Usted coge
Nosotros, Nosotras cogemos
Vosotros, Vosotras cogéis
Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes cogen
  • Siempre cojo el tren para ir al trabajo. – I always take the train to get to work.
  • Valentina coge un resfriado cada vez que sale cuando llueve. – Valentina catches a cold every time she goes out in the rain.
  • Vosotros cogéis con mucha fuerza las cosas, por eso se estropean. – You guys hold things with too much force, that’s why they get damaged.

Coger imperfect conjugation

Coger follows the regular conjugation patterns for -er verbs in the imperfect indicative tense.

Subject Coger imperfect tense
Yo cogía
Él, Ella, Usted cogía
Nosotros, Nosotras cogíamos
Vosotros, Vosotras cogíais
Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes cogían
  • Tu papá cogía un bus cada miércoles para visitar a tus abuelos antes de que se mudaran con nosotros. – Your dad used to take a bus every Wednesday to visit your grandparents before they moved in with us.
  • En el último juego, me pareció que Mónica no cogía bien la raqueta. Quizá necesite otro instructor. – During the last match, it seemed to me that Monica wasn’t holding the racket right. Maybe she needs another coach.
  • Cuando éramos niños, mis amigos y yo cogíamos mangos del árbol de la señora Inés. – When we were kids, my friends and I used to pick mangos from Mrs Ines’s tree.

Coger conjugation preterite

In the preterite tense, coger exhibits a regular conjugation pattern. See our comparison post for an explanation of when to use imperfect vs preterite.

Remember that only the first-person singular conjugation takes the accented í (yo cogí) with all other grammatical persons taking the unaccented i.

Subject Coger conjugation preterite
Yo cogí
Él, Ella, Usted cogió
Nosotros, Nosotras cogimos
Vosotros, Vosotras cogisteis
Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes cogieron
  • Cogí el teléfono lo más rápido que pude, cuéntamelo todo. – I picked up the phone as quickly as I could; tell me everything.
  • ¿Cogieron galletas? / Sí, están servidas en la bandeja pequeña. – Did you have cookies? / Yes, they are served on the small tray.
  • Creo que te duele la garganta porque cogiste una infección. – I think your throat hurts because you caught an infection.

Coger future tense

Coger conjugation in the simple future tense just requires adding the regular endings to the infinitive stem.

Subject Coger future conjugation
Yo cogeré
Él, Ella, Usted cogerá
Nosotros, Nosotras cogeremos
Vosotros, Vosotras cogéreis
Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes cogerán
  • Nosotros cogeremos un vuelo en menos de dos horas, debemos llegar ya al aeropuerto. – We will catch a flight in less than two hours. We must get to the airport now.
  • Maribel se divertirá mucho en el campo, seguro cogerá flores todos los días. – Maribel will have a lot of fun in the countryside; she will surely pick flowers every day.
  • Ellos no cogerán nada sin permiso, no te preocupes. – They won’t take anything without permission; don’t worry.

Coger conditional conjugation

In the indicative conditional tense, coger is conjugated by adding the regular conditional endings to the infinitive stem.

Subject Coger conditional conjugation
Yo cogería
Él, Ella, Usted cogería
Nosotros, Nosotras cogeríamos
Vosotros, Vosotras cogeríais
Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes cogerían
  • Si no tuviera auto, cogería un taxi al trabajo todos los días. – If I didn’t have a car, I would take a taxi to work every day.
  • Helena cogería ese vestido, pero tiene uno más apropiado para el evento. – Helena would take that dress, but she has a more suitable one for the event.
  • Te dije que ellos cogerían las llaves de emergencia porque dejaron las suyas en casa. – I told you they would take the emergency keys because they left theirs at home.

Coger conjugation: Compound indicative tenses

Here we present the coger conjugation charts for the compound indicative tenses. In Spanish, these tenses are formed using the auxiliary verb haber, conjugated according to the subject, and the past participle of the main verb.

The past participle of coger is cogido.

For progressive tenses, the gerund form is cogiendo.

Let’s begin with the present perfect and past perfect conjugations of coger.

Subject Present perfect Past perfect
Yo he cogido había cogido
has cogido habías cogido
Él, Ella, Usted ha cogido había cogido
Nosotros, Nosotras hemos cogido habíamos cogido
Vosotros, Vosotras habéis cogido habíais cogido
Ustedes, Ellos, Ellas han cogido habían cogido
  • Dulce, dime la verdad, ¿has cogido caramelos del tarro sin permiso? – Tell me the truth, honey. Have you taken candies from the jar without permission?
  • Luis se rió media hora después porque no había cogido el chiste. – Luis laughed half an hour later because he hadn’t gotten the joke.
  • Andrés pensó que había perdido su carro de juguete, pero en realidad lo habían cogido sus primos. – Andrés thought he had lost his toy car, but in reality, his cousins had taken it.

Now it’s time for coger conjugation in the perfect future and perfect conditional tenses.

Subject Perfect future Perfect conditional
Yo habré cogido habría cogido
habrás cogido habrías cogido
Él, Ella, Usted habrá cogido habría cogido
Nosotros, Nosotras habremos cogido habríamos cogido
Vosotros, Vosotras habréis cogido habríais cogido
Ustedes, Ellos, Ellas habrán cogido habrían cogido
  • Es tarde, para cuando lleguemos, ya habrán cogido los mejores puestos del teatro. – It’s late. By the time we arrive, they will have already taken the best seats in the theater.
  • Si hubieseis salido un minuto después, no habríais cogido el último tren a Lyon. – If you had left a minute later, you wouldn’t have caught the last train to Lyon.

Subjunctive mood

The subjunctive mood in Spanish is used to express uncertainty, doubt, desires, wishes, recommendations, hypothetical situations, or subjective feelings. It is often used in conjunction with certain conjunctions, expressions, or verbs that trigger the subjunctive.

Now let’s see each coger subjunctive conjugation.

Coger present subjunctive

In the present subjunctive, coger features the same -g- to -j- stem change that we first saw in the present indicative yo conjugation as yo cojo. However, in the present subjunctive, this irregular stem appears in all of the grammatical persons. The subjunctive endings are the same as regular -er verbs.

Subject Coger conjugation present subjunctive
Yo coja
Él, Ella, Usted coja
Nosotros, Nosotras cojamos
Vosotros, Vosotras cojáis
Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes cojan
  • Espero que mi hijo coja la costumbre de dormir temprano. – I hope my son develops the habit of sleeping early.
  • Ojalá Daniel coja aguacates del árbol de la abuela. – I hope Daniel picks avocados from grandma’s tree.
  • No me parece bien que cojas las cosas de tu hermano cuando no está. – It doesn’t seem right to me that you take things from your brother when he’s not around.
  • No creo que Ana coja la explicación del profesor sin ayuda. – I don’t think Ana will grasp the teacher’s explanation without help.

Coger imperfect subjunctive

Coger conjugation in the imperfect subjunctive is built on the regular stem cog-, followed by the proper tense endings. There are two possible sets of endings in the imperfect subjunctive, so we provide both options here. The choice between -ra and -se forms is often a matter of regional preference or personal style.

Subject Coger conjugation imperfect subjunctive
Yo cogiera / cogiese
cogieras / cogieses
Él, Ella, Usted cogiera / cogiese
Nosotros, Nosotras cogiéramos / cogiésemos
Vosotros, Vosotras cogierais / cogieseis
Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes cogieran / cogiesen
  • El maestro nos pidió que cogiéramos papel y lápices de colores para dibujar. – The teacher asked us to grab paper and colored pencils to draw.
  • Me gustaría que cogieráis las cosas que están sobre la mesa y las guardárais – I would like you to take the things on the table and put them away.
  • Te dije que no cogieras esa caja sino esta. – I told you not to take that box but this one.

Coger future subjunctive

The future subjunctive is a relatively rare and somewhat antiquated verb form in Spanish. It is used in certain situations to express hypothetical actions or events that would occur in the future relative to another past or hypothetical action. Its use is largely confined to formal or literary contexts, so we’re just including this coger conjugation to make sure we cover every tense.

Subject Coger future subjunctive
Yo cogiere
Él, Ella, Usted cogiere
Nosotros, Nosotras cogiéremos
Vosotros, Vosotras cogiereis
Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes cogieren
  • Quien cogiere finalmente a este traidor al reino, será recompensado con su peso en oro. – Whoever finally captures this traitor to the kingdom will be rewarded with their weight in gold
  • Aunque cogiereis buena cosecha, nunca es bueno despilfarrar. – Even if you were to reap a good harvest, it’s never good to squander.

Compound coger subjunctive conjugation

Just as we saw in the indicative mood, the compound tenses in the subjunctive mood for coger are formed using the auxiliary verb haber along with the past participle of coger, which is cogido.

The two compound subjunctive tenses are the present perfect subjunctive and the pluperfect subjunctive. Given that the pluperfect subjunctive is formed with the conjugation of the auxiliary verb in the imperfect subjunctive, which has two valid conjugation forms, the pluperfect subjunctive also has two acceptable forms.

Subject Perfect subjunctive Pluperfect subjunctive
Yo haya cogido hubiera cogido / hubiese cogido
hayas cogido hubieras cogido / hubieses cogido
Él, Ella, Usted haya cogido hubiera cogido / hubiese cogido
Nosotros, Nosotras hayamos cogido hubiéramos cogido / hubiésemos cogido
Vosotros, Vosotras hayáis cogido hubierais cogido / hubieseis cogido
Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes hayan cogido hubieran cogido / hubiesen cogido
  • No puedo creer que hayas cogido mi desayuno, ahora tendré hambre hasta el almuerzo. – I can’t believe you took my breakfast. Now I’ll be hungry until lunch.
  • Si no hubieses cogido las llaves, ahora mismo estaríamos encerradas. – If you hadn’t taken the keys, we would be locked in right now.

Imperative mood

The imperative mood in Spanish is used to give commands, make requests, or offer invitations. It is a verb form that expresses a direct order or a strong suggestion.

The imperative mood has different conjugations for affirmative and negative commands, so we’ll include both here in this coger conjugation chart. You’ll recognize that the negative commands use the present subjunctive conjugations that we saw above. For affirmative commands, the coger conjugations exhibit both the regular cog- and the irregular coj- stems.

Subject Coger imperative
[Tú] coge / no cojas
[Usted] coja / no coja
[Nosotros, Nosotras] cojamos / no cojamos
[Vosotros, Vosotras] coged / no cojáis
[Ustedes] cojan / no cojan
  • Coje los libros para estudiar un poco antes del examen. – Take the books to study a bit before the exam.
  • No cojan esas cosas del suelo, están sucias. – Don’t take those things from the floor. They’re dirty.
  • Cojed un poco de pastel, está en el refrigerador – Have some cake. It’s in the refrigerator.

Conclusion: Coger in Spanish

We made it! Before we go, let’s just review what we’ve covered in this post on Spanish coger meanings and conjugation.

We began with a look at the various coger meanings, encompassing actions like taking, catching, grabbing, and even fucking. The versatility of coger clearly allows it to adapt to a variety of situations and expressions in different Spanish-speaking regions.

Then, we moved on to coger conjugation, covering each mood and tense, pointing out each instance where it demonstrates an irregular pattern. For the most part, coger follows the regular pattern of Spanish -er verbs, but in a few tenses it undergoes a stem change from cog- to coj- to maintain the aspirated /h/ sound in its pronunciation.

Thanks for joining us on this linguistic journey! You now have all you need to understand the various coger meanings and to know the different coger conjugations!

Coger conjugation exercises

Are you ready to put your conjugation skills to the test? Why not take on this set of exercises to see how well you’ve grasped your coger conjugation!

Give it your best effort, and let’s see how well you do with each coger conjugation. You’ll find the answers and translations below.

1. Él _____ el paraguas si supiera que lloverá. (indicative: conditional)

2. Mañana _____ el primer vuelo a Brasil disponible. (indicative: future)

3. ¿Quién _____ mi libro de historia? Lo necesito para la clase de hoy. (indicative: present perfect)

4. Los niños _____ el autobús todos los días para ir a la escuela. (indicative: present)

5. Creo que dejé mi billetera en la oficina. Ojalá no la _____ nadie. (subjunctive: present perfect)

6. Cuando llegues, ya _____ los documentos. (indicative: perfect future)

7. Nosotros _____ manzanas del árbol en el jardín. (indicative: imperfect)

8. Es posible que tú _____ el último tren. (subjunctive: present)

9. Esperaba que ya _____ tu equipaje antes de la salida del tren. (subjunctive: pluperfect)

10. _____ el teléfono y llama a Juan. Está muy preocupado por ti. (imperative: affirmative)


1. Él cogería el paraguas si supiera que lloverá. – He would grab the umbrella if he knew it would rain.

2. Mañana cogerás el primer vuelo a Brasil disponible. – Tomorrow, you will catch the first available flight to Brazil.

3. ¿Quién ha cogido mi libro de historia? Lo necesito para la clase de hoy. – Who has taken my history book? I need it for today’s class.

4. Los niños cogen el autobús todos los días para ir a la escuela. – The children take the bus every day to go to school.

5. Creo que dejé mi billetera en la oficina. Ojalá no la haya cogido nadie. – I think I left my wallet in the office. Hopefully, no one has taken it.

6. Cuando llegues, ya habré cogido los documentos. – By the time you arrive, I will have already picked up the documents.

7. Nosotros cogíamos manzanas del árbol en el jardín. – We used to pick apples from the tree in the garden.

8. Es posible que tú cojas el último tren. – It’s possible that you’ll catch the last train.

9. Esperaba que ya hubieras cogido tu equipaje antes de la salida del tren. – I hoped you had already picked up your luggage before the train’s departure.

10. Coge el teléfono y llama a Juan. Está muy preocupado por ti. – Take the phone and call Juan. He’s very worried about you.


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