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Guide to Conjugating Verbs in Present Tense in Spanish for Beginners

When I started learning Spanish through Duolingo I had a hard time learning how to conjugate. I took a formal Spanish class and would like to share how I was taught.

I will be sharing how to conjugate verbs in the present tense. This is not the same as past or future tense.

I'll be mainly using three different verbs today: hablar (to talk), comer (to eat), and escribir (to write). They are in their unconjugated formats.

There are three different endings for Spanish verbs; -ar, -er, and -ir. Notice that each of these endings are represented in habl-ar, com-er, and escrib-ir.

Conjugation Endings

There are six ways to conjugate a Spanish verb. I, you, he/she/it, we, you all (only used in Spain), and you all. The easiest way to learn these is to put it in to a "six-pack". Look at this image for the six packs of each ending: http://i.imgur.com/qtwW2OF.png (Note: The "You All" should be they.)

The easiest way to memorize the three six-packs is to write them down and chant them.

How to Conjugate

The conjugation that we will be doing only concerns the end of the verb. When conjugating a verb, look at the ending. Then, replace the ending with proper conjugation.

Example: We talk. The Spanish verb for talk is hablar. Hablar ends in -ar. "We" are talking, so we know it is box 4, -amos. Replace the -ar in hablar with -amos. Hablamos = We talk.

This works with any verb. Let's try "He eats". The Spanish verb for eat is comer. Comer ends in -er, and it's "he" (third box). Come = He eats.

Refer to this image to see examples: http://i.imgur.com/3F4sgvX.png

-ir and Box 5

Note how -er and -ir share boxes 1-3 and 6. To remember this, you can pretend -ir is -er's little brother. -ir copies -er, but is starting to branch out in boxes 4 and 5. Try pumping your first on boxes 4 and 5 when chanting the -ir endings to remember.

Box 5 is used in Spain only. Some people don't teach this ending but I believe it's important to know.

If you liked this post and would like to see another guide let me know.

3 years ago

9 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/TatianaBoshenka

Very handy, but the third person plural is "they", not "you all" unless you mean formal you, "ustedes", but you didn't mention informal vs. formal at all. So I think that needs to be fixed. Otherwise, great post!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HandsomeNwealthy

"ustedes" isn't formal from what i was taught. Only "usted" is formal

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Michelle978512

You're right about they, I edited it! Thanks for catching that!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rozzie
Rozzie
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Please post more I would love to see what else you have been taught.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dkrobe
dkrobe
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Me gusta. Gracias!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/thedikker

I like this tip. Thank you for sharing.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mercutio

michel thomas has a great system he basically says there are only two tracks, you are either on the ar track or the er ir track, as the endings for er ir match

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Michelle978512

Just posted another guide on reflexive verbs: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/8339787

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lisa4duolingo
lisa4duolingo
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While reviewing your post, I got tired of pulling up another tab/window to view your chart, so I am adding the image to this post:

BTW, really great post. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us, Michelle94564. I especially love the tips such as chanting and thinking of -ir as -er's little brother. Very clever!

2 years ago