Easy Learning Spanish

Overview of verbs - Easy Learning Grammar Spanish

  • Verbs are frequently used with a noun, with somebody’s name or, particularly in English, with a pronoun such as I, you or she. They can relate to the present, the past and the future; this is called their tense.
  • For more information on Nouns and Pronouns, see Nouns and Pronouns.
  • Verbs are either:
  • regular; their forms follow the normal rules
  • irregular; their forms do not follow normal rules
  • Almost all verbs have a form called the infinitive. This is a base form of the verb (for example, walk, see, hear) that hasn’t had any endings added to it and doesn’t relate to any particular tense. In English, the infinitive is usually shown with to, as in to speak, to eat, to live.
  • In Spanish, the infinitive is always made up of just one word (never two as in to speak ­in English) and ends in -ar, -er or -ir: for example, hablar (meaning to speak), comer (meaning to eat) and vivir (meaning to live). All Spanish verbs belong to one of these three types, which are called conjugations. We will look at each of these three conjugations in turn on the next few pages.
  • Regular English verbs have other forms apart from the infinitive: a form ending in -s (walks), a form ending in -ing (walking), and a form ending in -ed (walked).
  • Spanish verbs have many more forms than this, which are made up of endings added to a stem. The stem of a verb can usually be worked out from the infinitive.
  • Spanish verb endings change depending on who or what is doing the action and on when the action takes place. In fact, the ending is very often the only thing that shows you who is doing the action, as the Spanish equivalents of I, you, he and so on (yo, , él and so on) are not used very much. So, both hablo on its own and yo hablo mean I speak. Sometimes there is a name or a noun in the sentence to make it clear who is doing the action.
José habla español.José speaks Spanish.
El profesor habla español.The teacher speaks Spanish.
  • For more information on Subject pronouns, see Pronouns.
  • Spanish verb forms also change depending on whether you are talking about the present, past or future, so (yo) hablaré means I will speak while (yo) hablé means I spoke.
  • Some verbs in Spanish do not follow the usual patterns. These irregular verbs include some very common and important verbs like ir (meaning to go), ser and estar (meaning to be) and hacer (meaning to do or to make). Other verbs are only slightly irregular, changing their stems in certain tenses.
  • For Verb Tables, see the middle section.
Key points
  • Spanish verbs have different forms depending on who or what is doing the action and on the tense.
  • Spanish verb forms are made up of a stem and an ending. The stem is usually based on the infinitive of the verb. The ending depends on who or what is doing the action and on when the action takes place.
  • Regular verbs follow the standard patterns for -ar, -er and -ir verbs. Irregular verbs do not.

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