Spanish Verbs Aren’t That Tricky!!!
In this lesson, we will discuss Spanish present tense verbs, the verb “hablar” and like verbs. Hablar is pronounced ah-BLAHR. This is a regular verb and what that means is that it follows the regular pattern of conjugation.
Conjugation is the changing of the ending of the verb to match the person speaking. For example, this is how conjugation works in English:
Hablar means “to speak.” In Spanish, when the action word (verb) ends in -ar, -ir, or -er, that means that it is in its infinitive form.
This is the general form of the verb. So if I want to say, “I want to speak to you,” I would say “yo quiero,” or quiero hablar contigo.”
In English, when you conjugate the infinitive “to speak” to correspond with the correct personal pronoun, it is as follows:
1. I speak
2. You speak
3. He, she it speaks (notice how in English, when you change to he, she and it, you must add an s. This is an example of how conjugation works. The verb form changes to correspond with the correct personal pronoun)
4. We speak
5. They speak
Spanish Verbs Change More!
Now it is time to blow your mind a little. In Spanish, the verb forms change more than they do in English.
This might make Spanish look more difficult initially, but even Spanish irregular verbs follow a predictable pattern, and with English verbs having so few rules, people tend to break those rules.
English speakers break conjugation rules all the time, which makes English more difficult for a non-native to understand.
In Spanish, these rules are simply not broken, even in slang and profanity. So, how do you translate this conjugation of the word to speak?
1. Yo hablo
2. Tú hablas
3. Él, ella, usted habla
4. Nosotros/nosotras hablamos
5. Ellos, ellas, ustedes hablan
So notice that the verb endings follow -o, -as, -a, -amos, and -an. This is how verbs ending in -ar are conjugated.
You can apply this to other verbs ending in -ar. Let’s look at a few.
Amar (to love)
Caminar (to walk)
Abandonar (to abandon)
Saltar (to jump)
Now look at how each of these verbs conjugate:
Usted, él, ella ama
Ustedes, ellos, ellas aman
Example: Yo amo a Claudia. (I love Claudia)
Usted, él, ella camina
Ustedes, ellos, ellas caminan
Example: Nosotras caminamos cada día. (we [feminine] walk every day).
Usted, él, ella abandona
Ustedes, ellos, ellas abandonan
Ellos abandonan a su perrito. They abandon their dog.
Usted, él, ella salta
Ustedes, ellos, ellas saltan
Ellas saltan en la cama. They (Feminine) jump in the bed.
Breaking Out of Beginner’s Spanish
I highly recommend the book Breaking Out of Beginner’s Spanish as it helps a lot with learning Spanish tenses.
In addition, I recommend a good verb work book to help you get familiar with Spanish verbs thoroughly. Here are some great recommendations:
Now take a look at some sentences and try to fit in the correct verb. The answers will be at the bottom.
Ellos __________ a la tienda.
They (walk) to the store.
mis papas _______ a su perrito.
my parents (love) their dog.
Ella ______ con su mamá por teléfono cada día.
She (speaks) with her mother on the phone every day.
Los niños _________ en la cama.
The children (jump) in the bed.
Los niños __________ su tarea.
The children (abandon) their homework.
Mis tíos ________ el martes con el abogado.
My uncle and aunt speak with the attorney on Tuesday.
Nosotros ________ afuera en la yarda cada día.
We (jump) outside in the yard every day.
Yo _______ con la maestra acerca de mis lecciones.
I (speak) with the teacher about my lessons.
Usted _______ al parque los martes con sus amigos.
You (walk) to the park on Tuesday with your friends.
Here are the answers to these sentences:
Ellos caminan a la tienda.
Mis papas aman a su perrito.
Ella habla con su mamá por teléfono cada día.
Los niños saltan en la cama.
Mis tíos hablan el mártes con el abogado.
Nosotros saltamos afuera en la yarda cada día.
Yo hablo con la maestra acerca de mis lecciones.
Usted camina al parque los martes con sus amigos.
Let’s change these sentences to their infinitive form to understand the infinitives better.
Ellos tienen que caminar a la tienda.
They have to walk to the store.
Mis papas quieren amar a su perrito.
My parents want to love their dog.
Ella quiere poder hablar con su mamá por teléfono cada día.
She wants to be able to speak to her mother on the phone every day.
Los niños no pueden saltar en la cama.
The children cannot jump in the bed.
(Notice here that although you do not translate the English sentence with the phrase ‘to jump,’ you are still using the general form of the verb, so it translates to saltar.)
Mis tíos prefieren hablar con un abogado el mártes.
My uncle and aunt prefer to speak with an attorney on Tuesday.
We want to jump outside in the yard every day.
Nosotros queremos saltar afuera en la yarda cada día.
Prefiero hablar con la maestra acerca de mis lecciones.
I prefer to speak to the teacher about my lessons.
You want to walk to the park on Tuesday with your friends.
Usted quiere caminar al parque el mártes con sus amigos.
I really hope that this lesson provides you a better understand of Spanish present tense conjugation and the infinitives. This practice will go a long way toward improving your Spanish. To get lots of practice, get a hold of the workbooks that I recommend, which helped me tremendously in my Spanish language learning journey.
If you have any comments, suggestions, or questions, please feel free to leave a comment below. I respond very quickly and am happy to hear from you. You may also message me on my Facebook page.