Section 1: Introduction (Optional)
Section 2: Basics of Spanish Verbs

Intruction: Brief Comparison with English Verb Conjugation

Understanding the differences and similarities between Spanish and English verb conjugation can make learning Spanish more approachable. While both languages conjugate verbs to indicate tense, person, and number, the methods and complexity differ significantly. This section provides a brief comparison to highlight these contrasts and aid your understanding of Spanish verb conjugation.

Basic Structure of Verb Conjugation


English Verb Conjugation:


In English, verb conjugation is relatively simple. The base form of the verb changes minimally to indicate different subjects and tenses. For example:

  • Present Tense: I speak, you speak, he/she/it speaks, we speak, you (all) speak, they speak. (There are two variations: speak and speaks)
  • Past Tense: I spoke, you spoke, he/she/it spoke, we spoke, you (all) spoke, they spoke. (There is only one variation: Spoke)
  • Future Tense: I will speak, you will speak, he/she/it will speak, we will speak, you (all) will speak, they will speak. (There is only one variation: will speak)

In English, auxiliary verbs (do, did, will) often accompany the main verb to indicate tense.

Spanish Verb Conjugation:


Spanish verbs undergo more extensive changes based on the subject and tense. Each verb has a distinct conjugation for each subject pronoun, and the endings of the verb change accordingly. For example, the verb “hablar” (to speak) in the present tense:

  • Present Tense: yo hablo, tú hablas, él/ella/usted habla, nosotros/nosotras hablamos, vosotros/vosotras habláis, ellos/ellas/ustedes hablan. (There are six variations: hablo, hablas, habla, hablamos, habláis, hablan)
  • Past Tense (Preterite): yo hablé, tú hablaste, él/ella/usted habló, nosotros/nosotras hablamos, vosotros/vosotras hablasteis, ellos/ellas/ustedes hablaron. (There are six variations)
  • Future Tense: yo hablaré, tú hablarás, él/ella/usted hablará, nosotros/nosotras hablaremos, vosotros/vosotras hablaréis, ellos/ellas/ustedes hablarán. (There are six variations)

Unlike English, Spanish verbs do not typically require auxiliary verbs to indicate tense.

Subject Pronouns


English Subject Pronouns:


English has subject pronouns that are always required in a sentence to indicate who is performing the action:

  •  I, you, he, she, it, we, you (all), they

Spanish Subject Pronouns:


Spanish also has subject pronouns, but they are often omitted because the verb ending itself indicates the subject:

  • yo (I), tú (you – informal singular), él/ella/usted (he/she/you – formal singular), nosotros/nosotras (we), vosotros/vosotras (you all – informal plural), ellos/ellas/ustedes (they/you all – formal plural).

For example, “hablo” (I speak) clearly indicates the subject “yo” without needing to state “yo hablo” explicitly.

Regular vs. Irregular Verbs


English Regular Verbs:


Most English verbs are regular, meaning they follow a simple pattern for past and past participle forms, typically adding “-ed”:

  • talk -> talked, work -> worked, play -> played

English Irregular Verbs:


Irregular verbs in English do not follow this pattern and must be memorized individually:

  • go -> went, see -> saw, eat -> ate

Spanish Regular Verbs:


Spanish regular verbs fall into three categories based on their infinitive endings: -ar, -er, -ir. Each category follows a specific conjugation pattern:

  • hablar (to speak): hablo, hablas, habla, hablamos, habláis, hablan
  • comer (to eat): como, comes, come, comemos, coméis, comen
  • vivir (to live): vivo, vives, vive, vivimos, vivís, viven

Spanish Irregular Verbs:


Spanish has many irregular verbs that do not follow the regular conjugation patterns and must be learned individually (here are three examples):

  • ser (to be): soy, eres, es, somos, sois, son.
  • tener (to have): tengo, tienes, tiene, tenemos, tenéis, tienen.
  • ir (to go): voy, vas, va, vamos, vais, van.

Tenses and Moods


English Tenses and Moods:


English uses auxiliary verbs and verb forms to indicate tenses and moods. The main tenses include present, past, and future, with perfect, continuous, and perfect continuous aspects.

Spanish Tenses and Moods:


Spanish has a wider variety of tenses and moods, including the indicative, subjunctive, and imperative moods. Each mood has several tenses:

  • Indicative: present, preterite, imperfect, future, conditional.
  • Subjunctive: present, imperfect, future (rarely used), perfect, pluperfect.
  • Imperative: commands.



While both English and Spanish require verb conjugation, Spanish is more complex due to its varied endings, subject-specific forms, and extensive use of different tenses and moods. Understanding these differences can help you approach Spanish conjugation with greater clarity and confidence. By recognizing the patterns and practicing regularly, you will become proficient in navigating the rich verb landscape of the Spanish language.