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Spanish Verbs Basics and Conjugation

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                                        Spanish Verbs Basics And Conjugations
                                                         By Adolfo Garcia



   When learning Spanish, understanding verbs is one of the hardest spots that people may come
across. Spanish verbs differ from English verbs in a variety of ways. For instance, many verbs in
Spanish express distinctions in meanings, and includes tenses such as the subjunctive, which do not
exist in other languages including English. Above all, Spanish verbs convey information regarding
when the action took place, and who performed that action in a single word. For example, in English,
the subject is always specified before the verb, like “I write”; while in Spanish, the single word “Escribo
(write)” contains all the information regarding the subject.

The infinitive of a verb in English is formed by adding the word “to”, like in “to do”, “to be” etc. The
infinitive of a verb in Spanish, on the other hand, is indicated by –AR, -ER, and –IR, such as in
“Estudiar (to study)”, “Escriber (to write)”, and “Comer (to eat)”. Each type of Spanish verbs has a
different group of endings – Yo; Tú; Ud., él, ella; Nosotros; Vosotros; and Uds., ellos, ellas. For
example, the verb “escribir (to write)” may be ended with a o, es, e, emos, éis, and en, like in “escribo”,
“escribimos”.

Any type of verb conjugation needs the “stem”, which usually remains constant, to be identified first. In
Spanish, the stem is formed by removing the AR, -ER, and –IR and taking the infinitive of the verb. For
example, the stem for the verb “Escriber” becomes “Escrib”. So, in order to conjugate the verb, the
stem “Escrib” is used to say “Escribo (I write)”, “escribes (you write)”, “Escribos (we write)”, and so on.

Note that many Spanish verbs are stem changing in every form except nosotros/as and vosotros/as.
The three common types of stem changing verbs include ‘e’ to ‘ie’, ‘e’ to ‘i’, and ‘o’ to ‘ue. For example,
in ‘e’ to ‘ie’, “Comenzar (to begin)” would be conjugated into “comienzo”, “comienzas”, and so on.
Therefore, “I start the game” would be said “comienzo el juego”, and “we start the game” as, “nosotros
comenzamos el juego”. There are also a few other rare stem changes besides the one mentioned
above.

Certain verbs, such as “tener” and “venire”, may also follow irregular verb ending patterns. So, in
normal rules, the “yo” form of “tener” would be “teno”, but it is not. Instead it becomes “tengo”,
“tienes”… “ten-éis”, and so on.

In Spanish, when two verbs are used in reference to one subject in a single sentence, the second verb

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is usually written in the infinitive form. For example, “Espero trabajar pronto (I hope to work soon)”. To
say a sentence in the negative in Spanish is easy. All you need to do is add the word “no” right before
the conjugated verb, as in “No Espero trabajar pronto (I do not hope to work soon)”.

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                                          An Introduction To Spanish Grammar
                                                         By Steven Muller



 When learning a new language, it is always useful to be familiar with its main grammatical units. This
constitutes the first necessary step in order to understand and create meaningful speech.

Here are the main grammatical elements in Spanish and some useful information about them:

Nouns: A noun is a word which is mostly used to refer to a person or thing. All nouns in Spanish have
a gender, meaning that they are either masculine or feminine. For example, “niño” (boy) is masculine
and “niña” (girl) is feminine. The best way to identify gender is undoubtedly experience, although here
are some general guidelines which may be useful at the beginning: usually nouns ending in –o are
masculine and nouns ending in –a are feminine. Of course there are always exceptions.

For example, “mano” (hand) and “radio” (radio) are feminine. On the other hand, words of Greek origin
ending in –ma, such as “dilema” (dilemma) or “problema” (problem) are masculine. When you are
learning new vocabulary, it is recommendable that you learn a noun together with its corresponding
article. That will help you to remember their gender. For example “la niña”, “la mano” or “el problema”
and “el niño”.

Adjectives: Adjectives are used to qualify a particular noun, to say something about it. It is important to
remember that in Spanish they are usually placed after the noun. Since adjectives are always related
to a noun, they have to agree with them in gender and number.

This means that if you want to say something about the noun “niño”, which is masculine and singular,
the adjective that you use will also have to be masculine and singular. Thus, you can say “niño alto”
(tall boy), “niño pequeño” (small boy), etc. If, on the other hand, if you were talking about a girl, you
would have to say “niña alta” and “niña pequeña”.

Pronouns: Pronouns substitute for nouns. For example, you can say “la niña está aquí” (the girl is
here) or “ella está aquí” (she is here). In this case “ella” is substituting for “la niña”. The subject
pronouns in Spanish are “yo” (I), “tú/usted/vos” (singular you), él (he), ella (she), nosotros (we),
vosotros/ustedes (plural you), ellos (they).

The singular and plural “you” are used differently depending on the dialect of Spanish that you are
using. It is important to remember that subject pronouns are frequently omitted in Spanish, since the
ending of the verb already indicates this. Thus, native spears would say “estoy aquí” (I’m here) rather
than “yo estoy aquí”.

Verbs: Verbs indicate actions. Usually when you enumerate a verb, you use what is called the
infinitive, for example “hablar” (to speak). In Spanish there are three different types of verbs, depending
of how their infinitive ends. These different categories are called conjugations.

Thus, there are verbs ending in –ar, such as “hablar”, in -er “comer” (to eat) and in –ir “dormir” (to
sleep). As mentioned before, verbs in Spanish have different endings depending on who the subject of
the action is. These endings will vary from one conjugation to the other. For example, with the verb
“hablar”, the singular “you” is “(tú) hablas”, whereas with “comer” it is “(tú) comes”. This can obviously


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be complicated for learners at the beginning, but once you get used to it, you will have no problem
communicating effectively.

Steven Muller works for Babylon Idiomas, a Spanish language institute with schools in Spain
[Barcelona, Madrid, Sevilla, Valencia], Argentina and Costa Rica. For more information visit
http://www.babylon-idiomas.com




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