Spanish verb conjugation, present tense

RobsMob Aug 7, 2007 Other
Let's talk about conjugating Spanish verbs in present tense.

Intro 

So why bother learning how to conjugate verbs in Spanish?  Well, quite simply, it's 75% of the language.  Once you know how to conjugate verbs in their respective tenses you'll be down the home stretch for speaking Spanish.

A good companion to this lesson would be the famous 501 Spanish Verbs book. It has 501 verbs in all the various tenses.  They are the more common verbs and will be of great help in a regular conversation.

Subject Pronouns 

When we form sentences, we conjugate verbs without even realizing it.  One of the key components to this is the subject pronoun.  It has to agree with the conjugation of the verb.  For example, in English when we conjugate the verb 'to be' it looks something like this:

I         am            We are

You     are

He                       They are

She     is

It 

 

The Spanish language requires the same.  The Spanish subject pronouns are as follows:

 

yo (I)                            nosotros (We, masculine)

                                    nosotras (We, feminine)

 

tú (you, familiar)

él (he)                         ellos (they, masculine) 

ella (she)                    ellas (they, feminine)

usted (you, formal)     ustedes (you, formal, plural)

 

Please not the gender for plural subject pronouns.  If a group of women says 'We....', then the nosotras for would be used.  As soon as one male enters the group, then it automatically becomes nosotros.  By default, gender will be masculine if there is one masculine in the group.  

 

The same is true for they (ellos/ellas).  If one masculine is found in the group, then the whole group becomes masculine (ellos).   Sorry ladies.....Spanish is a man's language. 

 

*Note:  I have intentionally left out the vosotros/as form.  It is rarely used today and only in certain regions.  This tutorial is written to give the most compatibility world wide. 

 

Verb Endings

The Spanish language is a language of rules with few exceptions.  All Spanish verbs end in -ar, -er, and -ir.  The verb 'to eat' is 'comer'.  The verb 'to walk' is 'caminar'.  The verb 'to open' is 'abrir'.  

 

-ar Verb Endings 

 

-ar verb endings are conjugated by removing the -ar from the end of the verb and replacing it with the proper ending for the subject pronoun:

 

yo        -o         nosotros      -amos

                        nosotras

 

tú        -as       

                   

 

él                     ellos

ella      -a         ellas             -an

usted               ustedes

 

 

So let's try it out with a common -ar verb.

 

caminar - to walk

 

yo         camino         nosotros caminamos

 

tú         caminas

 

él                              ellos

ella      camina          ellas         caminan 

usted                       ustedes

 

-er Verb Endings 

-er verb endings are conjugated by removing the -er from the end of the verb and replacing it with the proper ending for the subject pronoun:

yo -o                      nosotros -emos

                              nosotras

 

tú -es

él                            ellos

ella         -e            ellas         -en

usted                      ustedes

 

So let's try it out with a common -er verb.

comer - to eat

yo      como          nosotros comemos

tú       comes

él                        ellos

ella      come       ellas         comen

usted                  ustedes

-ir Verb Endings 

 -ir verb endings are conjugated by removing the -ir from the end of the verb and replacing it with the proper ending for the subject pronoun:

yo -o                      nosotros -imos

                              nosotras

 

tú -es

él                            ellos

ella -e                     ellas -en

usted                      ustedes

 

So let's try it out with a common -ir verb.

abrir - to open

yo     abro                      nosotros abrimos

tú     abres

él                               ellos

ella     abre                ellas abren

usted                         ustedes

 

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  • Last Updated : Aug 7, 2007