How to learn Spanish native speakers conjugation

Verbs in Spanish

Spanish verbs - an overview

Before we go into the infinitive of Spanish verbs, we want to give you a brief overview of the essentials of the Spanish verb give.

Well what is a verb anyway? - A verb is a - if not THE - part of Spanish. Verbs express actions (hence the synonym "TUNwort"), states and events. The verb - regardless of whether as a stand-alone main verb or in a compound form with an auxiliary verb - forms the sentence statement of every Spanish sentence in its function as a predicate.

The last sentence leads us to an important distinction between verbs: In Spanish, too, you have to differentiate between “full verbs” and “auxiliary verbs”. Most of the verbs in Spanish are full verbs. A main verb is a verb that can stand alone (next to the subject) in a sentence. Full verbs express actions or states. An auxiliary verb, on the other hand, is a verb that only forms a complete grammatical form in conjunction with a main verb. Auxiliary verbs (“have”, “be”, “will”) can also stand alone. In this case, however, these verbs are considered full verbs.

It is important for you to know that some tenses in Spanish are formed with the help of an auxiliary verb. It works like in German too. Just think of the formation of the perfect perfect in German: "I wrote (auxiliary verb) (main verb)", "du hast written (auxiliary verb) (main verb)", etc.

This is exactly how the perfect perfect is formed in Spanish: You take a form of the auxiliary verb “haber” (dt .: have) and combine it with the past participle of the main verb. - We don't want to get ahead of ourselves at this point. This example is only intended to show you that it is very useful to know the (unfortunately) irregular conjugation forms of the auxiliary verbs by heart. For this reason, before you get to know the present tense forms of the full verbs, you will have the opportunity to deal with the conjugation forms of the auxiliary verbs.

In the Spanish verb system, there are mutable and immutable forms of the verb. The unchangeable forms include the infinitive (you will get to know it more closely in the following chapter), the participle and a form that does not exist in German, the “gerundio”.

All verb forms that can be formed in the three modes of Spanish are changeable. The three modes (modes of expression) of Spanish include all forms of the indicative (the reality form), the imperative (the command form) and the "subjuntivo" (the desired form - this should not be confused with the German subjunctive and its functions).

The formation of the different verb forms is based on a pattern that you should keep in mind as you learn from the beginning. A verb in Spanish consists of the root of the word, followed by a specific vowel and a personal ending.

So you can memorize the following rule of thumb:

Stem + vowel + ending

The vowel often denotes the mode or time of the verb form. The part of the verb form labeled "ending" indicates which person it is.

The fact that the Spanish verb always contains in the ending which person it is about leads us to an important difference between Spanish and German: In German, one can often not tell from the form of a verb which person is it is about. This is clearly stated in Spanish. For this reason, the personal pronoun is used in German to indicate which person is involved. In Spanish, the personal pronoun is usually left out before a verb for the same reason. It is always clear who it is and that does not have to be underlined by using the personal pronoun, except for too special emphasis.

Example comer (eat)

(yo) comOI esse
(tú) comityou eat
(él, ella, usted) comehe / she / it eats
(nosotros, nosotras) comemoswe essen
(vosotros, vosotras) comiceyou esst
(ellos, ellas, ustedes) comenyou essen

The above table shows that the German word “essen” alone does not make it clear whether it is the infinitive, the 1st person plural or the 3rd person plural. In Spanish there are three separate forms for this (“comer”, “comemos”, “comen”). There is no risk of ambiguity.

You will find the personal pronouns for this reason in the part of the grammar that deals with the pronouns in Spanish. As a rule, however, they will not appear in the conjugation tables.


The infinitive is the basic form of a verb. This is the form in which Spanish verbs are entered in all dictionaries. You will also always find verbs in the infinitive in the vocabulary lists of your language course.

There are three classes of verbs in the Spanish verb system. There is a a class, one e class and a i class. Depending on which of these three classes a verb belongs to, certain endings are used to form the various verb forms. For this reason, it is important to know which of the three classes a verb belongs to. “But you will recognize them by their infinitive form!” - The modification of this biblical quotation quickly shows you why all verbs are entered in dictionaries in the infinitive form. This can be used to assign the verbs to the three classes.

  • The verbs of a class end on –Ar.
  • The verbs of e class end on -he.
  • The verbs of i class end on -Ir.

With this in mind, you should now take a look at the chapter on the present tense.

The three conjugation classes of Spanish verbs

Examples of verbs from the three conjugation classes

a conjugatione conjugationi conjugation
jugarplaycomereatabrirto open
viajarto travelverseesalirgoing out
walk away

Use and formation of the present tense (el presente)

Use of the present tense

The “presente” is used in many ways in Spanish, as it is in German: for actions and states that are to be located in the present, i.e. at the time of speaking.

¿Voy a Madrid. Dónde especially usted?I travel to Madrid. Where to travel You?
Ana estudia en España.Ana educated in Spain.
Leo este texto.I reading This text.

Habits are also expressed in Spanish with the present tense:

Fumáis mucho.your smokes much.
El sábado comemos siempre en el restaurante.On Sunday eat we always in the restaurant.
Nunca compran en el supermercado, sino que van siempre al mercado to buy never in the supermarket, but walk always to the weekly market.

As in German, events and actions in the future can be named with the present tense.

Manana llamo a Carmen.tomorrow shout I Carmen at.
[Tomorrow I'll call Carmen.]
¿Vienes a la fiesta?Come you to the party
[Will you come to the party?]

Danger! Exception! You should note one exception in the use of the present tense: For questions that are formulated with “should” in German, you simply use the present tense in Spanish.

¿Te recojo?Should I pick you up?
[Am I picking you up?]
¿Te abro la puerta?Do you want me to open the door for you?
[Do I open the door for you?]
¿Me avisas del cambio de la cita?Should you let me know about the change of date?
[Will you let me know about the change of date?]

Perhaps you have already recognized the conjugation pattern in the example sentences. Here we show you an overview of all endings for all persons in all three conjugations:

The formation of the present tense

The present tense is formed as follows in Spanish:

a conjugation
viagar (travel)
e conjugation
comer (eat)
i conjugation
abrir (open)
1.Pers.Sg.viajoI travelcomoI eatabroI open
2.Pers.Sg.viajasyou travelcomesyou eatabresYou open
3.Pers.Sg.viajahe / she travelscomehe / she eatsabrehe / she opens
1st person placeviajamoswe travelcomemoswe eatabrimoswe open
2nd person pl.viajáisyou travelcoméisyou eatabrísyou open
3rd person pl.viajanthey travelcomenthey eatrun awaythey open

As you can see in the table above, the present tense is formed by deleting the respective infinitive ending from the infinitive of the verb in thought. This is how you get the “stem” of a verb. The ending (corresponding to the conjugation) for each person is then attached to this word stem.

With some verbs there are changes in the stem vowel in the present tense. There is also a separate chapter for this.

For the grammar and the complete explanation of the verbs, it is best to use the Spanish basic language course.

More grammar about the verbs

On the Spanish basic language course, the following points are dealt with on the subject of verbs in the Spanish language:

  • Verb system
  • infinitive
  • Expressions
  • Conjugation classes
  • auxiliary verbs
  • Indicative active
  • Present
  • Stem vowel change
  • Past tense
  • irregular verbs
  • Perfect
  • Past participle
  • past continuous
  • Future tense I.
  • Future tense II
  • passive
  • Past participle
  • imperative
  • and much more.

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