Posted on Jan 30, 2022 |
Here we share a brief guide on how to conjugate verbs in the Spanish language. We know that it can be confusing sometimes, but once you understand it, you will realize that it is not that complicated. Verbs with words that indicate action, existence, condition or state of a subject.
If you are a student of the Spanish language, you probably already know that the verb is formed by the root (also called in Spanish as "lexema") that does not vary, and by the ending (also called in Spanish as "morpheme ending") that indicates the "person, number, tense and mode" of the verb conjugation.
The most common set of verbs in Spanish and perhaps the most important to learn first is the "present indicative". The Indicative Present, in Spanish, indicates that the action expressed by the verb occurs at the same moment in which it is said. Although there are conjugations that are easier to learn, the present indicative is the most used.
Native English speakers conjugate regular verbs all the time without even thinking about it, for the past tense just add "d" or "ed" to the end of a verb and for the present tense, you add an "s" or "es" to indicate that a person or thing is performing an action. But the conjugation of verbs in the Spanish language is a bit more complicated than in English. You should consider various tenses, modes and gender according to what needs to be conveyed in the sentence. Spanish verb endings can indicate when the action occurs and also give the listener a better idea of who or what is doing the action.
To conjugate a verb, we have to list and understand the different forms that denote its different persons, number, tenses, modes, voice and other concepts.
Persons indicate who performs the action of the verb. There are three singular persons:
Personal pronouns are used to determine persons.
|yo||Tú||Ella / Él||Nosotros /as||Ellas /os|
Times refer to when the action is executed.
|Presente (Present)||The action is performed at the current time.|
|Pretérito (Preterite)||The action was done in the past. If the action is finished, it is called "Perfect Mode" and if it does not indicate that it is finished, it is called "Imperfect Mode"|
|Futuro (Future)||The action will take place in the future.|
|Condicional (Conditional)||Express the action of the verb as a possibility.|
The modes form describes the relationship of the verb with the reality to which it refers.
|Indicativo (Indicative)||When talking about real facts or that are taken for certain.|
|Subjuntivo (Subjunctive)||It is used to talk about something virtual that refers to possible, probable, desired or feared actions.|
|Imperativo (Imperative)||It is used to give orders, requests or wishes directly.|
Verbs can be conjugated in Active Voice or Passive Voice. They are in Active Voice when the subject performs the action of the verb. They are in Passive Voice when the subject receives the action of the verb. The passive voice in Spanish is rarely used, active constructions are preferred in most Spanish-speaking countries.
Example for Active Voice : John rompió sus lentes de sol (John broke his sunglasses). The subject "John" is the one who performs the "break" action.
Example for Passive Voice : Las gafas de sol se rompieron por culpa de John (The sunglasses got broken because of John). In this case the subject "sunglasses" receives the action of "break".
|Infinitivo (Infinitive)||Usual way of naming a verb. These end in AR, ER or IR.|
|Participio (Participle)||It is used to form compound tenses. It can also function as an adjective. Ends in ADO or IDO|
|Gerundio (Gerund)||Form of the verb that indicates an action but without specifying the time, the mode, the number or the person. Ends in ANDO or IENDO|
Regular Verbs are those that in all their tenses and people keep the root (radical letters) and take the normal endings (endings) of the conjugations to which they belong. In the Spanish language there are three conjugations.
|Conjugation 1||All verbs ending in AR.|
|Conjugation 2||All verbs ending in ER.|
|Conjugation 3||All verbs ending in IR.|
The present tense means that the action is happening now. The indicative mode means that the sentence is a statement of fact. To conjugate a verb in the present indicative, remove the infinitive ending from the regular verb, in this case -ar , -er or -ir, and replace it with an ending indicating "the person" who performs the action of the verb.
For example, the word "caminar" (walk) is the infinitive of a common regular verb that ends in -ar. To form the present indicative, drop the -ar, which leaves the root of the verb camin-. If the person who "camina" (walks) in the sentence is in the first person singular, that would mean that the sentence would be conjugated as "Yo Camino" (I walk). In Spanish, when conjugating or changing the root to a verb in the first person, take the root and add -o, making the word “camino”. "Yo Camino".
To say "tu caminas" (you walk), which is the second person singular, informal, add -as to the root, making the word walk "Tú Caminas". There are other forms for subjects such as "él, ella o eso (he, she or it)", "nosotros (we)" and "ellos (they)".
The endings are slightly different for verbs that end in -er and -ir , but the principle is the same compared to -ar that we have just explained. Drop the infinitive ending like we just did the previous example, then add the appropriate ending to the remaining root.
The following tables will be presented in Spanish for better understanding when studing Spanish
|Person||-ar ending||Example: caminar||Result|
|tú||-as||caminas||tú (informal) caminas|
|él, ella, usted||-a||camina||é / ella camina, usted camina|
|nosotras, nosotros||-amos||caminamos||nosotros(as) caminamos|
|ellas, ellos, ustedes||-an||caminan||ellas, ellos, ustedes caminan|
|Person||-er ending||Example: aprender||Result|
|tú||-es||aprendes||tú (informal) aprendes|
|él, ella, usted||-e||aprende||é / ella aprende, usted (formal) aprende|
|nosotras, nosotros||-emos||aprendemos||nosotros(as) aprendemos|
|ellas, ellos, ustedes||-en||aprenden||ellas, ellos, ustedes aprenden|
|Person||-ir ending||Example: compartir||Result|
|tú||-es||compartes||tú (informal) compartes|
|él, ella, usted||-e||comparte||é / ella comparte, usted (formal) comparte|
|nosotras, nosotros||-imos||compartimos||nosotros(as) compartimos|
|ellas, ellos, ustedes||-en||comparten||ellas, ellos, ustedes comparten|
Although most verbs are conjugated regularly, the most common verbs in Spanish generally do not. In some cases, not only the endings change, but also the main part of the verb, known as the root. This is similar to English, where the more common verbs like "to be" and "to go" are also very irregular verbs.
|dar||dar||yo doy, tú das, usted / él / ella da, nosotros / nosotras damos / ustedes / ellos / ellas dan|
|estar||ser -estar||yo estoy, tú estás, usted / él / ella está, nosotros / nosotras estamos / ustedes / ellos / ellas están|
|hacer||para hacer||yo hago, tú haces, usted / él / ella hace, nosotros / nosotras hacemos, vosotros / vosotras hacéis, ustedes / ellos / ellas hacen|
|ir||ir||yo voy, tú vas, usted / él / ella va, nosotros / nosotras vamos / ustedes / ellos / ellas van|
|poder||ser capaz de||yo puedo, tú puedes, usted / él / ella puede, nosotros / nosotras podemos / ustedes / ellos / ellas pueden|
|ser||ser -estar||yo soy, tú eres, usted / él / ella es, nosotros / nosotras somos / ustedes / ellos / ellas son|
|tener||tener||yo tengo, tú tienes, usted / él / ella tiene, nosotros / nosotras tenemos / ustedes / ellos / ellas tienen|
The conjugation of regular verbs in Spanish in the indicative present tense only involves removing the ending in the infinitive ( -ar , -er or -ir ) as we have explained and changing it to another. But the conjugation of verbs in Spanish is much more extensive than in English, so it provides more information about the action of the verb since it establishes the tenses and modes more precisely.