Author Archive for DannyM

An Introduction to Spanish Verb Conjugation and Irregular Spanish Verbs

Irregular Spanish VerbsFor the simplest way to describe and understand what a verb is we must venture back to when we first attended elementary school. It was back then that many of us were first told that a verb is simply a ‘doing’ word and that it is a vitally important part of every sentence in every language in every part of the world.

Words like speak, learn, eat, run and read are all verbs, and in Spanish they are very easy to learn whilst in their infinitive forms, but it isn’t until the verb is in its numerous conjugated forms that learning Spanish verbs starts to become much more difficult, and irregular Spanish verbs in particular can prove to be very hard to learn for many people.

The correct use of verb conjugation and tense is the most important factor in making sense out of a sentence, using the wrong conjugation or the wrong tense can completely change the meaning of a sentence and will make it very difficult to figure out who or what is performing the action and when that action is taking place.

In Spanish, all verbs are first learned in their infinitive form. Spanish verbs are divided into three groups : the ‘ar’ verbs, ‘er’ verbs and ‘ir’ verbs. Quite simply, every Spanish verb will have one of these endings. The vast majority of Spanish verbs end in ‘ar‘, followed by ‘er‘ and then ‘ir‘.

Each of these verb groups, the -ar, -er and -ir verbs has a specific pattern of conjugation that is applied to the verbs of each group, although there are exceptions but more on these in a moment. Verbs that follow any of these three patterns of conjugation are called REGULAR verbs. Regular verbs are relatively easy to learn since once the various conjugations for a specific group has been learned it is basically a case of applying those same endings to the stem of any regular verb from that group.

By the way…in Spanish, verbs are made up of two parts; the ‘stem’ and the ending ‘-ar’,’-er’ or ‘-ir’. The stem is basically the verb and the ending is the Spanish equivalent to the English ‘to‘.

Spanish Verb HablarFor example, the regular verb, ‘hablar‘ meaning ‘to speak‘ in English, is broken down thus: ‘habl-‘ is the stem of the verb and ‘-ar‘ is the equivalent to the English ‘to‘.

However, now we’re going to talk about the exceptions to the rules which are verbs that break from the normal conjugation patterns. These verbs are known as irregular Spanish verbs, and they are not quite as easy to master as their regular counterparts, in fact they can be really difficult at times.

As mentioned, irregular verbs do not follow the common patterns of conjugation followed by regular verbs hence why they are called ‘irregular’. Unfortunately, the most commonly used verbs in Spanish are often irregular, however, this is also the case in most other languages too, including English, and this is why they will be encountered very early on in your studies.

The biggest plus for the student is that even though irregular verbs are undoubtedly more difficult to learn, they will be used a lot more often than regular verbs and because of this they will become etched into a students’ memory much more quickly. This is why there is just one way to learn irregular verbs successfully and that is with constant use and much practice.

It’s a fact that learning Spanish verb conjugation is the main stumbling block that forces many students to settle for speaking ‘pigeon Spanish’ rather than mastering the language properly. This is compounded by the widespread use of Spanish courses that do not devote an adequate amount of time to verb training. What that means is that the time it takes to learn and eventually master Spanish verbs depends a great deal upon the individual effort of the student and the methods he or she uses.

There are two things a student needs in order to successfully train themselves in verb conjugation and they are an effective verb training program which will help to quickly learn those difficult irregular verbs and a good verb conjugation book for fast and accurate reference.

I have personally compiled an irregular Spanish verb conjugation book, that can be downloaded within seconds and you can have your very own copy for only $2, which will go toward maintaining this site and you can read about it here.

The most important tool for verb training and one that will make the whole task of learning Spanish verbs a lot easier and a much more enjoyable experience is a verb conjugation trainer and you can read my review of one of the most popular training programs here. If you are struggling with Spanish verbs then these two should definitely be checked out.

Also, to help you with any immediate issues, I have provided conjugation sheets along with information for the most commonly used Irregular Spanish Verbs and you can find these by following the links in the sidebar.

I hope you enjoy my site and find it beneficial to your studies. Please spread the word on twitter, Facebook or any of the other social networks you might use.

Mucho Gracias y Hasta Luego
Daniel Major
www.irregularspanishverbs.com

What Is Stopping You From Learning Spanish?

Learning Spanish BienvenidosIf you want to learn a second language then Spanish is a terrific choice. For a start, it is one of the easiest tongues for a native English speaker to get to grips with. Add the fact that it is spoken by an estimated 460 million people all over the planet and we can see that it is an exciting language to learn.

However, what if something is stopping you from learning Spanish? There are some common reasons for not going ahead and taking the lessons you want so let’s take a look at them.

Afraid of the Difficulty Level

It is fair to say that no foreign tongue is easy to learn. After all, you need to learn thousands of new words and a good deal of grammatical rules. Having said that, if you are enthusiastic about your lessons and put your best efforts into them you can learn it a lot easier than you might think. There are many Spanish words which are similar to their English counterparts, so you can make a strong start by learning some simple rules and some easy words. If you get into the swing of things and start enjoying the classes you will soon look at it as a great hobby instead of a chore anyway.

No Chance to Use It

Maybe you are keen to learn some Spanish but aren’t sure whether you would ever get a chance to use it in real life. The good news here is that there are Spanish speaking countries and communities of native speaking immigrants all over the world. This means that whether you are an adventurous traveler or prefer staying close to home you can find people to speak to. You might also find that you can use it in your work at times or simply enjoy some Spanish language films and books in your spare time.

It Might Take Too Long

Of course, we live in an age in which we all want everything right now. Learning a language is something which is going to take you time but it is going to enjoyable along the way too. By getting these classes started you will see how much fun it can be and how the long period of studying isn’t going to be as tough as you might think.

Poder Conjugation

The Spanish verb PODER means ‘to be able to’ or, ‘can’ in English and is a commonly used verb in everyday Spanish, much the same as it is in English. Poder does cause a few problems however as it is a highly irregular verb which is irregular in all tenses with the exception of the imperfect, this includes the tenses of the subjunctive mood and the imperative.

As there is a lot to learn with poder conjugation it is probably best to start with one tense initially and that is why this post will concentrate on conjugating the present tense of poder. There will be future posts covering each of the other irregular tenses and the intention is to interlink all relevant posts…but all in good time.

Poder Conjugation

Conjugation of Poder Present Tense

PODER is one of many vowel changing verbs, in the case of poder in the present tense the o changes to ue in the second and third person singular and the third person plural. Poder has different irregularities in other tenses, which is what makes it particularly difficult to learn, but it is probably best if you just concentrate on this present tense irregularity to start with.

Singular

yo puedo I can, or am able to
tú puedes you can, or are able to
él/ella puede he/she/it can, or is able to
usted puede you can, or are able to

Plural

nosotros podemos we can, or are able to
vosotros podéis you all can, or are able to
ellos/ellas pueden they all can, or are able to
ustedes pueden you all can, or are able to

That about covers the present tense of poder except to say that the nature of the Spanish verb poder is such that it often functions as an auxiliary verb, meaning that it usually precedes another verb which, in most cases, is the infinitive.

For example: ‘I can go to the cinema’ would translate as ‘Puedo ir al cine’, this is a physical ability, but if you wanted to ask the question ‘Can you drive?’ you would have to use the verb Saber, which means ‘to know’…therefore ‘¿Sabes conducir?’, confusing isn’t it!

Don’t forget to bookmark this post or do a search for any other verbs and tenses you might be having problems with, if you can’t find what you need, post a comment and I’ll do my best to get the relevant information posted!

Venir Conjugation

The Spanish verb VENIR means ‘to come’ in English and is as commonly used in Spanish as it is in English. Venir is a highly irregular Spanish verb which is irregular in the present, preterit, future and conditional tenses and also in all of the subjunctive tenses as well as in the imperative.

For now though we will simply concentrate on how to conjugate venir in the present tense and cover all other tenses in future blog posts that will be posted very soon.

Venir Conjugation

Conjugation of Venir in the Present Tense

VENIR is often referred to as a ‘go’ verb because of the use of go as an ending in the first person singular. Venir is also a vowel changing verb, in this case the e changes to ie in the second and third person singular and the third person plural.

Singular

yo vengo I come
tú vienes you come
él/ella viene he/she/it comes
usted viene you come

Plural

nosotros venimos we come
vosotros venís you all come
ellos/ellas vienen they come
ustedes vienen you all come

Please remember to bookmark this page/site and to keep checking back as I will be adding more and more on a regular basis.

Spanish Verb Conjugation Practice, Practice, Practice!

Spanish verb conjugation practiceIt should come as little surprise to you that practice makes perfect when it comes to learning Spanish verb conjugation.

However, it can become very tiresome going over each verb conjugation time and time again and this is the reason why so many students decide to call it a day trying to learn Spanish beyond a basic level.

Unfortunately, there has been no other way to master Spanish verbs apart from this, and this has been the case since people started to learn Spanish…that is until the development and introduction of verb training software programs. The best of these programs is called the Verbarrator and is well worth checking out.

If you’re fed up of learning Spanish verb conjugation, I’m sorry…but there’s no getting away from it, but you can make the task of doing so a lot more enjoyable and quicker by clicking here…http://www.irregularspanishverbs.com/verbarrator/ …and yes…I do actually have a copy and wouldn’t part with it if you paid me!

Subjunctive Spanish Conjugation

Learning Subjunctive Spanish Conjugation is no different to learning the conjugation of verbs and tenses in the indicative, the difficulty is in knowing when you should use the subjunctive in Spanish, as it is rarely used by English speakers and is therefore often understood.

Below are tables containing all the regular subjunctive Spanish conjugation for the three different verb groups.

Please note that this post and the information in it deal only with REGULAR verbs, there are many irregular verbs in the subjunctive which are either dealt with in other posts or will be in the not too distant future.

For the following conjugations the regular Spanish verbs hablar (to speak), abrir (to open) and beber (to drink) will be used.

Present Subjunctive (Presente Subjunctivo)
Hablar Abrir Beber
yo hable abra beba
hables abras bebas
él/ella/usted hable abra beba
nosotros hablemos abramos bebamos
vosotros habléis abráis bebáis
ellos/ellas/ustedes hablen abran beban

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Imperfect Subjunctive (Imperfecto Subjunctivo)

* The imperfect subjunctive has two different sets of endings, the first are those that use –ra and it those that should be normally used. The other set of endings use –se, these are generally used within literature

Hablar Abrir Beber
yo hablara/ase abriera/ese bebera/ese
hablaras/ases abrieras/eses beberas/eses
él/ella/usted hablara/ase abriera/ese bebera/ese
nosotros habláramos/ásemos abriéramos/esemos bebéramos/esemos
vosotros hablarais/aseis abrierais/eseis beberais/eseis
ellos/ellas/ustedes bablaran/asen abrieran/esen beberan/esen

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Future Subjunctive (Futuro Subjunctivo)
Hablar Abrir Beber
yo hable abriere bebere
hables abrieres beberes
él/ella/usted hable abriere bebere
nosotros hablemos abriéremos bebéremos
vosotros habléis abriereis bebereis
ellos/ellas/ustedes hablen abrieren beberen

The Subjunctive Spanish conjugation of the present perfect, pluperfect and future perfect are all formed using the past participle of the verb being conjugated as they are in the indicative.

However, the preceding auxiliary verb haber does change as it uses the subjunctive variants of the same tense instead of the indicative:

Example
Indicative: he bebado I have drank
Subjunctive: haya bebado I have drank

he’ being the present tense of haber in the indicative and ‘haya’ the present tense of haber in the subjunctive.

Preterite vs Imperfect in Spanish

When learning past tenses, Preterite vs Imperfect is a question that often causes a few problems for students learning Spanish verbs, and knowing which of these two past tenses to use, and when, can certainly be confusing. However, the following guidelines will provide you with a clear idea as to which tense, preterite or imperfect, should be used.

The Preterite Tense in Spanish

The preterite tense, sometimes referred to as the ”past historic, is used to explain completed actions in the past and will tell you what happened or, what somebody did at a particular time

Examples:

  • Conduje el coche – I drove the car
  • Cerré la ventana – I closed the window

The Spanish Imperfect Tense

The imperfect tense tells us what was going on, who was doing it or, who used to do it, over an indefinite period of time, with no beginning and no end.

Examples:

  • Juan compraba el periódico todos los días – Juan used to buy the newspaper every day.
  • El hombre vendía coches – The man was selling cars.

Obviously, getting past the preterit vs imperfect issue is a lot easier when you have tools that will help you learn each tense well, in particular the preterit which has a high number of verbs that are irregular in this tense.

One such tool is called the Verbarrator, a recently developed downloadable software program that has had a remarkable impact on how students learn Spanish verbs, helping them to do so much more easily and much more quickly than ever before.

It’s worth checking out… The Verbarrator

For more information on using the preterite and imperfect in Spanish the links below will be of help.

Spanish Imperfect Tense

The Spanish imperfect tense is probably one of the easier tenses to learn due to the fact that there are only three verbs that are irregular in the imperfect tense and they are ser, ir and ver but before covering how the Spanish imperfect is conjugated lets first look at when we should use this frequently used past tense.

The Spanish imperfect tense refers to an action that happened in the past that is:

1. Indefinite: that is to say it has no definite start or end date.

2. Is a continuous or repeated action

3. Happened over a period of time

4. Began in the past but has continued into the present

Spanish Imperfect Tense Verb Endings

As well as only having three irregular conjugations to learn there are only two sets of endings as -er and -ir verbs both share the same endings. The Spanish imperfect is formed using the stem of the verb and the respective imperfect ending.

Hablarto speak: Regular Conjugation of an -ar verb in the Spanish Imperfect Tense

Singular
yo habl-aba I was talking
habl-abas You were talking
él, ella, usted habl-aba He/She/You was/were talking
Plural
nosotros/as habl-ábamos We were talking
vosotros/as habl-abais You were talking
ellos, ellas, ustedes habl-aban They/You were talking

Comerto eat: Regular Conjugation of an -er verb in the Spanish Imperfect Tense

Please note that the same endings are used for verbs ending in -ir.

Singular
yo com-ía I was eating
com-ías You were eating
él, ella, usted com-ía He/She/You was/were eating
Plural
nosotros/as com-íamos We were eating
vosotros/as com-íais You were eating
ellos, ellas, ustedes com-ían They/You were eating

Ver Imperfect Tense

Ver is one of only three verbs that are irregular in the Spanish imperfect tense, the others being ser and ir. Although irregular, ver imperfect tense doesn’t need too much effort to master as it retains all the endings that other -er verbs use but it’s stem, v is extended to include ane’...ve, as shown in the table below.

Ver Imperfect Tense Conjugation

Singular
yo ve-ía I was seeing
ve-ías You were seeing
él, ella, usted ve-ía He/She/You was/were seeing
Plural
nosotros/as ve-íamos We were seeing
vosotros/as ve-íais You were seeing
ellos, ellas, ustedes ve-ían They/You were seeing

Spanish Preterite – How to Conjugate the Preterite Tense in Spanish

The Spanish preterite is a past tense consisting of one word, compared with the Perfect which has two, the auxiliary verb and the past participle, here are the essential aspects of the Spanish preterite.

  • It is firstly a tense in one word both in Spanish and in English
  • It describes a single, completed action in the past: for example, ‘I said‘, ‘Paul spoke‘, ‘we ate‘ and so on.
  • What it is important to remember is it can be used in conversation just as well as in the narrative, which is the part outside the dialogue describing past actions.

Here are the endings for the Spanish preterite for each of the three groups of verbs; ar, er and ir.

Hablarto speak

Singular
yo hablé I spoke
hablaste You spoke
él, ella, usted habló He/She/You spoke
Plural
nosotros/as hablamos We spoke
vosotros/as hablastais You spoke
ellos, ellas, ustedes hablaron They/You spoke

Comerto eat

Singular
yo comí I ate
comiste You ate
él, ella, usted com He/She/You ate
Plural
nosotros/as comimos We ate
vosotros/as comisteis You ate
ellos, ellas, ustedes comieron They/You ate

Vivirto live

Singular
yo viví I lived
viviste You lived
él, ella, usted viv He/She/You lived
Plural
nosotros/as vivimos We lived
vosotros/as vivisteis You lived
ellos, ellas, ustedes vivieron They/You lived

The biggest problem with learning the Spanish preterite is the large number of irregular verbs that must be mastered. The most important and most commonly used of these irregular verbs are dar, estar, haber, hacer, poder, poner, querer, saber, tener, venir, ser, ir and decir.

Learning each of the conjugations for each of these verbs is not going to be easy but… a verb training tool, such as the Verbarrator, will not only provide you with the best possible help but it will also enable you to learn verb conjugation so much faster than if you were using traditional methods of study.

Take your first step towards mastering Spanish verb conjugation and check out this Verbarrator review, and you will then see how you and your studies can benefit greatly from using it.

How to Conjugate Decir Preterite Tense

DECIR is an irregular stem changing Spanish verb.

The conjugation table below shows Decir preterite conjugation clearly with the stem of Decir, DECchanging to DIJ in all forms.

Decir Preterite Conjugation

Singular
yo dije I came
dijiste You came
él, ella, usted dijo He/She/You came
Plural
nosotros/as dijimos We came
vosotros/as dijisteis You came
ellos, ellas, ustedes dijieron They/You came

Conjugation of Venir Preterite Tense

VENIR which means ‘to come‘ in Spanish is a highly irregular verb in every tense, with the exception of the imperfect.

Venir preterite conjugation is what is known as a stem changing irregular verb as are so many other verbs that are irregular in the preterite.

In Venir’s case the stem is ‘VEN’, in the preterite tense however this stem changes to ‘VIN’ and this is shown clearly in the table below.

Venir Preterite Conjugation

Singular
yo vine I came
viniste You came
él, ella, usted vino He/She/You came
Plural
nosotros/as vinimos We came
vosotros/as vinisteis You came
ellos, ellas, ustedes vinieron They/You came

Saber Preterite Tense Conjugation

The Spanish verb Saber meaning ‘to know‘ is irregular in all but the imperfect tense.

Saber preterite conjugation is, like so many other irregular verbs in the preterite, a stem changing conjugation. Saber’s stem of ‘sab’ changes to ‘sup’ as highlighted in the table below.

Saber Preterite Conjugation

Singular
yo supe I knew
supiste You knew
él, ella, usted supo He/She/You knew
Plural
nosotros/as supimos We knew
vosotros/as supisteis You knew
ellos, ellas, ustedes supieron They/You knew

Querer Preterite Tense Conjugation

The Spanish verb Querer meaning ‘to want‘ is frequently used and is also irregular in all but the imperfect tense. Querer preterite conjugation is a stem changing irregular tense as the stem of querer changes from ‘quer’ to ‘quis’ as detailed in the table below.

Querer Preterite Conjugation

Singular
yo quise I wanted
quisiste You wanted
él, ella, usted quiso He/She/You wanted
Plural
nosotros/as quisimos We wanted
vosotros/as quisisteis You wanted
ellos, ellas, ustedes quisieron They/You wanted

Poner Preterite Tense

The Spanish verb Poner meaning ‘to put’ is yet another frequently used Spanish verb that is extremely irregular.

Poner preterite tense conjugation is quite different in its irregularity compared to the other indicative tenses as the stem ‘pon’ changes to ‘pus’ as shown in the table below.

Poner Preterite Tense Conjugation

Singular
yo puse I put
pusiste You put
él, ella, usted puso He/She/You put
Plural
nosotros/as pusimos We put
vosotros/as pusisteis You put
ellos, ellas, ustedes pusieron They/You put