Spanish Verb Conjugations
One of the hardest things in Spanish are the verb tenses. In this post I'm going to try and explain all of them. If you see moods or tenses you don't know, just keep reading; I'll try and explain them. If you want to look up certain moods or tenses, I've highlighted them.
First off, in Spanish they're are three moods:
indicative mood is just saying something factual, for example: "Yo hablo español" (I speak Spanish) or "Voy a Perú" (I'm going to Peru). The
imperative is a command. For example: "¡Compre Ud. el anillo!" (Buy the ring! (formal)) or "¡Hazlo!" (Do it!). The
subjunctive mood is used to express everything except certainty and objectivity: things like doubt, uncertainty, subjectivity, etc. For example: "Dudo que yo vaya a Perú" (I doubt that I am going to Peru.)
infinitive form of a verb is its unconjugated state, like hablar instead of hablo. It's called infinitive because it can be about anything. You don't know who you're talking about. Ex. Tengo que llegar temprano. The
present participle and the
past participle are basically adding -ing to the end of an English verb. The present participle is used for the progressive tenses, while the past participle is used for the perfect tenses.
INDICATIVE MOOD TENSES
present tense is the same as in English. For example: "Yo hablo español" (I (do) speak Spanish) or "También hablo inglés." (I also speak English). Generally speaking, the
preterite tense is used for actions in the past that are seen as completed. Use of the preterite tense implies that the past action had a definite beginning and definite end. Generally speaking, the
imperfect tense is used for actions in the past that are not seen as completed. Use of the imperfect tense implies that the past action did not have a definite beginning or a definite end. Differentiating between the
preterite and the
imperfect tenses is very hard. Like most Spanish concepts, there are a lot of exceptions. Do a little research on your own. The
conditional tense is basically the same as adding "would" before an English verb. For example: "Yo hablaría español si estuviéramos en España." (I would speak Spanish if we were in Spain.) The
future tense is basically the same as adding "will" before an English verb."Yo iré a Perú." (I will go to Peru.) The
simple future tense is basically the same as adding "going to" before an English verb. You create the simple perfect tense by taking a conjugated form of the verb ir, add a, and then stick on a verb in its infinitive form. ir + a + infinitivo For example: "Voy a hablar en Perú" (I am going to talk in Peru.)
PERFECT TENSES: NOTE: For the perfect tenses, take the tense you want, take off the "perfect", conjugate the verb haber in that tense, and then add the past participle of the verb you are trying to conjugate. Conjugate haber here: http://www.spanishdict.com/conjugate/haber
present perfect Example: He has spoken.
preterite perfect Example: He had already spoken.
past perfect (imperfect perfect) Example: He had spoken a lot before the train left.
conditional perfect Example: He would have spoken, but he was sick.
future perfect Example: He will have spoken in three different countries by tomorrow.
PROGRESSIVE TENSES: NOTE: For the progressive tenses, take the tense you want, take off the "progressive", conjugate the verb estar in that tense, and then add the present participle of the verb you are trying to conjugate. Conjugate estar here: http://www.spanishdict.com/conjugate/estar
present progressive Example: I am speaking.
preterite progressive Example: But he was already speaking.
past progressive (imperfect progressive) Example: He was speaking a lot before the train left.
conditional progressive Example: He would be speaking, but he was sick.
future progressive Example: He will be speaking in three different countries by tomorrow.
PERFECT PROGRESSIVE TENSES: NOTE: For the perfect progressive tenses, take the tense you want, take off the "perfect progressive", conjugate the verb haber in that tense, add the past participle of the verb estar (estado), and then add the present participle of the verb thatyou are trying to conjugate.
present perfect progressive Example: I have been speaking.
conditional perfect progressive Example: He would have been speaking, but he was sick.
future perfect progressive Example: He will have been speaking in three different countries by tomorrow.
IMPERATIVE MOOD TENSES
The imperative mood only has one tense,
the imperative tense. It's a command. For example: "¡Hazlo!" (Do it!)
SUBJUNCTIVE MOOD TENSES
The subjunctive mood has the exact same tenses as the indicative except the
preterite perfect subjunctive, the
conditional perfect subjunctive, and the
future perfect subjunctive tenses do not exist. But, use this mood to express everything except certainty and objectivity: things like doubt, uncertainty, subjectivity, etc.
To conjugate the verbs in all of the tenses, go here:
For regular -ar verbs: http://www.spanishdict.com/conjugate/
Also, make sure to check out @Resonance2001 's videos on Spanish verb patterns: http://youtu.be/BeqQuJsFJhk
Thanks for reading! If there are any mistakes or tenses I forgot, please tell me. I typed this pretty fast.
Yeah? That's you? Nice :). I've had these videos bookmarked for a little while now. They're really good and I've rather enjoyed them. I don't know why they're not more popular. Do you have a blog or anything? Do you participate in other language/polyglot forums? Me thinks you need to get the word out lol.
Here's 10 lingots for your effort and well thought out videos.
Wow! Thank you! I shall have to finish the series now! I am going to upload one on French, then finish off part 3. I shall try and find you to tell you when. Part 4 is going to be difficult though. I do not have a blog or anything, just a website for people to read my documents I have written. Your comments have made me feel happier with continuing the series.
Just to let you know my progress - I have recorded part 3 of the Spanish videos. I have to edit them and scrutinize them for errors which takes quite a lot of time so hopefully I will be uploading it in a few days time. Part 4 will be about the subjunctive. I'm not looking forward to that one...
Oh sweet. I look forward to seeing it :).
Part 4 will be about the subjunctive. I'm not looking forward to that one...
haha I bet. I'm not quite "at" the subjunctive yet so take your time :p
I shall have to. I want to do all four tenses in one video but in a nice concise manner.
¿Verdad? Excelente. Los vídeos no son populares pero, voy a hacer más vídeos pronto.
Bookmark this post and keep it towards the top of your 'Learning Spanish' folder. Thanks NBSnyder - This is really going to come in handy!
You're welcome. I've seen a lot of posts about people not knowing what tense to use or confusing them, so I'm hoping to clear it up for everyone.
this certainly clears up a lot for me. Thanks so much for posting this. Here are 5 lingots :)
Thanks for this. Just one little note: Is this right? "PROGRESSIVE TENSES: NOTE: For the perfect tenses, take the tense you want, ..." Should that be progressive not perfect?
NBSryder: Thanks for sharing. I know you took time to write this.
I have a little project of my own, which I have abandoned for the moment. It is to find all the irregular patterns in Spanish irregular verbs. There are a few verbs that just do not have a pattern.
There are some lists out there on the Web and there are books also which touch on the subject. I have not found a single book that covers all the patterns in any kind of organized way. There are some verbs which may have as many as three different patterns. I call these patterns 'rules'. So if one knows all the patterns/rules, one can predict the conjugations by only memorizing five/six components of each verb form. There are books that reference 'like verbs'. For example there are not 501 patterns. There are less than 100.
Because of my limited knowledge of most computer applications, I am doing it in a note book and it gets tedious. Thanks again for the thoughtful post.
Might I suggest using a spreadsheet. You can find free spreadsheets at http://www.computerhope.com/issues/ch001222.htm. One of the programs they list is Lotus which was one of the original spreadsheet programs.
I just started at Memrise and have set up my vocabulary including conjugated verbs in a spreadsheet. I use spreadsheets for all kinds of lists both for activities on the computer as well as real world activities.
Let me know if you would like help setting up a spreadsheet.
For practicing these I've been reading about each one and then doing duo lessons for it.
Present and imperative are easy. Let's only speak in those. I mean, Only Speak In Those!
I'm a bit confused as to what you mean by'' take the tense you want, take off the "perfect progressive"'' or ''take the verb tense you want, take off the ''perfect'', etc. Would it be possible for you to give an example of what ''take off'' means? Also the Perfect Progressive tenses explanation doesn't make sense to me: For the perfect progressive tenses, take the tense you want, take off the "perfect progressive", conjugate the verb haber in that tense, add the past participle of the verb estar (estado), and then add the present participle of the verb thatyou are trying to conjugate.. Why is haber being used? Thanks!
Didn't even had to read it all! From the first paragraph i knew it was helpful! So i followed it so i can read it again :3
Very good stuff. I've not seen it explained so clearly and concisely. I'm clipping and keeping this. Thanks.
I've found the following site extremely useful since it's the only one that offers pronunciation of over 35000 English, French, German, Italian and Spanish verb conjugation tables. Just type in the verb you would like to see conjugated and hear how each and every form of the verb of your choice is pronounced: http://conjugation.io/