Let's begin with a question: What's a verb?
From a grammatical point of view, a verb is a word that is used to indicate and action, state or condition. Verbs function as the predicate of a sentence or introduce the predicate.
Spanish verbs can be classified in four categories:
- All Spanish verbs end in -ar, -er and -ir. (andar - comer - vivir).
Verbs ending in -ar belong to the First Conjugation type.
Verbs ending in -er belong to the Second Conjugation type.
And finally, those verbs ending in -ir belong to the Third Conjugation.
- Regular verbs. These verbs are all conjugated the same way and once you have learned how to conjugate one verb for each category, you'll conjugate nearly all the Spanish verbs.
- Irregular verbs. These verbs have a concrete and unique conjugation. You should memorize them!
- Stem-changing verbs. The characteristic of these type of verbs is that they have the same endings as regular verbs, but they root (stem) changes.
- What does "infinitive" mean? Infinitive is the base form of the verb.
The Spanish infinitive form for To walk is Andar (1st Conjugation).
The Spanish infinitive form for To eat is Comer (2nd Conjugation)
And, for the 3rd Conjugation, we have Vivir and it is translated as To live.
- What does "to conjugate a verb" mean? When we conjugate a verb, we take the infinitive and "adjust" it to match the subject of the sentence. In Spanish, all verbs must be conjugated, according to the subject pronoun (I, you, he, she, we, they).
Let's take, for example, the verb Hablar (To talk) (Infinitive).
Yo hablo - I speak
Tú hablas - You speak
Usted habla - You speak (formal)
Él habla - He speaks
Ella habla - She speaks
Nosotros hablamos - We speak
Nosotras hablamos - We speak (female)
Vosotros habláis - You speak
Vosotras habláis - You speak (female)
Ustedes hablan - You speak (formal)
Ellos hablan - They speak
Ellas hablan - They speak (female)
* Note that "vosotros" and "vosotras" is mainly used in Spain and "Ustedes" is used in Latin America for both forms: formal and informal.
In English, the only change we have is the conjugation for the third person singular (he/she/it), taking an -s, and, as you can see, Spanish looks pretty different: There is one form for each pronoun.
But don't worry! At least Spanish language has concrete patterns to conjugate most verbs. We'll review in next lessons, step by step, all these patterns and exceptions, with lots of examples.
For any doubt or comment, e-mail me or post a message at the message boards. I'm here to help you!
Have a nice day!
¡Que tenga un buen día!
VOCABULARY IN THIS LESSON (alphabetical order):
Andar = To walk
Comer = To eat
El = He
Ella = She
Ellos = They (masculine)
Ellas = They (feminine)
Nosotros = We (masculine)
Nosotras = We (feminine)
Tu = You
Usted = You (formal)
Ustedes = You - plural (Formal)
Vivir = To live
Vosotros = You (masculine)
Vosotras = You (feminine)
Yo = I