Introduction to Spanish Verb Conjugation


OBJECTIVE: Be able to use verbs in Spanish to convey meaning, to communicate, to let everybody know what's going on without having to talk like Tarzan.
TASK: Open your mind and read this page really, really, really, really slow!
Vamos a ver ...
About Conjugation ...
There's no one-word answer here. You're going to have to dive in there and swim your way through the different verb patterns. Most of them are actually fairly simple, yet there is much to be considered in what the many forms can mean.
Compare the subject pronouns in the English conjugation above with the subject pronouns in the chart in the upper right column. Note that "Usted" is a FORMAL form for YOU, --- and does not equate with the English "it."
Until you comprehend conjugation, maintain the infinitive with a series of hand motions and grunts. That'll tell people something!


Spanish Studies
Verb Tenses
Verb Conjugation
Grammar Terms
Noun Cognates
Verb Lists
Vocabulary Lists
Indicative Mood
Present Tense
Regular -ar Verbs
Regular -er Verbs
Regular -ir Verbs
Stem e -> ie
Stem o -> ue
Stem e -> i
Stem iar: i -> í
Stem uar: u -> ú
Stem uir: i -> y
Stem ger/gir: g -> j
Yo form -oy
Yo form -zco
Yo form -go
Imperfect Tense
AR Verbs
ER & IR Verbs
Preterite Tense
Regular AR Verbs
Ending -car
Ending -gar
Ending -zar
ER/IR Verbs
ER/IR Verbs vowel Stem
IR Stem-changers
Irregular Stems
Future Tense
Regular Verbs
Irregular Stems
Conditional Tense
Regular Verbs
Irregular Stems
Compound Tenses
Progressive Tenses
Perfect Tenses
Perfect Progressive Tenses
A Spanish conjugated verb form is a complete sentence by itself.
Yes, ... it can also be a complete question ...
The verb infinitive identifies the action itself, and ends in -ar, -er, or -ir.
The verb stem is the infinitive minus the -ar, -er, or -ir.
When conjugating, endings can be added to either the verb stem or to the entire infinitive, depending on the tense being formed.
In some cases, endings are attached to (changed) stems of conjugated forms.
If THAT didn't scare you off, --- NOTHING will !!!
Conjugation is the art of knowing which ending to attach, and whether to attach the ending to the stem or to the infinitive.
An attached ending indicates/corresponds with WHO is doing the action, and when the action is being done.
Don't panic now! Remember: everybody in all those Spanish-speaking countries is doing this all day long with every single verb. Might say something about "mentality" --- ... huh?
Fortunately, conjugations in Spanish follow various patterns. That's what the -ar, -er, and -ir are all about.
It does take time to learn them, and you can do it.
(It's really disturbing when you hear a 5-year-old using the subjunctive forms correctly!)
Pick a set of forms to study, and stay with it until you are comfortable with it.
Just use the forms with several verbs, and get used to the idea of associating a subject with a verb - and that the ending will let you know when it's happening.
You don't need to learn all of them at one sitting.
You should come back to these pages over & over again as a reference, and gain mastery through much practice. It's worth it, just for the doors it'll open up for you!
English actually has worse scenarios, because so many "patterns" don't exist for verbs. When you think of how brought is related to bring, or thought to think, or go to went, etc., it's mind-boggling.

It would be of great benefit to initially familiarize yourself with the significance of the tense names. That in itself provides great control of how you'll deal with endings and patterns.
The following chart indicates different conjugation patterns that you will need to study for verb mastery. Don't let it scare you too much ...
The HEADERS listed below will be presented on following pages, so it's a good thing to learn to relate with what they are. Here are some hints:
Present = "now" or "ongoing"
Imperfect = [past] "was happening, used to happen, or would repeatedly happen"
Preterite = [past] "happened" or "did happen"
Future = "might happen" or "may happen" or "will happen"
Conditional = "would happen," if ... [There's a condition!]
NOW! Go for it! Pick a link and learn more!
Click on the Red Arrow to go to that category's conjugation pages:
Present Tense Conjugation:
Regular AR verbs
Regular ER verbs
Regular IR verbs
Stem-changing verbs: E ->I
Stem-changing verbs: E -> IE
Stem-changing verbs: O -> UE
* One stem-changing verb: U -> UE
Some verbs ending in -IAR have a stress shift: I becomes Í
Some verbs ending in -UAR have a stress shift: U becomes Ú
Verbs ending in -UIR need a stress shift: an extra Y is added
Verbs ending in -GER & -GIR need a spelling change: g ---> j in the yo form
Some AR, ER, & IR verbs have an irregular YO form ending in -oy
Some ER & IR verbs have an irregular YO form ending in -zco
Some ER & IR verbs have an irregular YO form ending in -go
* Some ER & IR verbs have an irregular YO form ending in -igo

Imperfect Tense Conjugation:
One set of endings is used for all AR verbs. There are no irregularities.
Most of the ER & IR verbs
* The Irregular Verbs: ir, ser, & ver


Preterite Tense Conjugation:
Regular AR verbs
Verbs ending in -CAR need a spelling change: c ---> qu in the yo form
Verbs ending in -GAR need a spelling change: g ---> gu in the yo form
Verbs ending in -ZAR need a spelling change: z ---> c in the yo form
Regular ER & IR verbs
ER & IR verbs with stem ending in a vowel
* ER & IR verbs with stems ending in j, ll, or ñ.
Stem-changing IR verbs
Irregular verb stems
* Irregular verbs

Future Tense Conjugations:
Endings are the same for all verbs
Irregular verb stems

Conditional Tense Conjugations:
Endings are the same for all verbs
Irregular verb stems
* These are being left up to your teacher for now. Ask questions!

Indicative & Subjunctive Indicative & Subjunctive
Progressive Tenses Perfect Tenses