What is a verb? 
A verb is a part of speech that expresses action, existence, or occurrence.

What is an infinitive?
An infinitive is the basic verb form.
In English we call it a verbal.
It does not tell who is performing the action in a sentence (person).
or when the action is taking place (tense).

How does one identify an infinitive?

In English:  It is a verb form which begins with the word "to"

     Example:  to speak, to eat, to live.

In Spanish:  It is a verb form which ends with the letters "-ar", "-er", or "-ir".

     Example:  hablar, comer, vivir.

Note:  some Spanish words which are not verb forms also end in these letters, but they are not infinitives since they aren't verbs!

What are the parts of a Spanish infinitive?

 1.  The Stem

 2.  The Ending

     Example:  Hablar, which means "to speak or    to talk".

          HABLar  (habl is the stem)     HablAR   (ar is the ending)

What kinds of Spanish verbs are there?

Regular verbs Irregular verbs (You will hate these!)

Spelling-change verbs (the endings are regular)

Stem-changing verbs (also called "shoe verbs" – the endings are regular)

Reflexive verbs (most any verb can be reflexive)

What are regular verbs?  Regular verbs follow a regular pattern in the way they are conjugated.

What is verb conjugation? Verb conjugation is the process where the infinitive is changed in order to identify:

    1.    when the action is taking place, etc.  (this is called verb tense). 

         Example:  I speak, I spoke, I will speak, etc. 

2.    who is performing the action, etc.  (this is called person).

         Example:  I speak, he speaks, she speaks, we speak, they speak, etc.

Why are verbs conjugated?

 To determine 2 things:

1.      who is performing the action of the verb (person).

2.     when the action is taking place (tense).

How are regular verbs conjugated?

1.    Drop the verb ending from the infinitive;

           Example:  Hablar:    drop the ar, leaving only the stem HABL;

                        Comer:          drop the er, leaving only the stem COM;

                        Vivir:             drop the ir, leaving only the stem VIV.

2.    Add a new ending to the stem 

          Example:  habl   +  o  =              hablo (I speak)

                        com  +  o  =              como (I eat)

                        viv    +  o  =              vivo ( I live)

What are the new endings to be added to the stem? 

The ending depends upon 2 situations:

1.  the verb tense (when the action is happening) 

2.  the person (who is performing the action).

What are the new endings for verbs ending in –ar?

 The endings are -o, -as, -a, -amos, -an in the present indicative tense (see chart below). 

Yo hablo  =  I speak


Nosotros hablamos   We speak

Tú hablas   You speak


Vosotros habláis   You (all) speak Él habla   He speaks,  Ella habla   She speaks, Usted habla   You speak


Ellos or Ellas hablan   They speak   Ustedes hablan   You (all) speak

What are the new endings for verbs ending in –er?

The endings are –o, -es, -e, -emos, -en in the present indicative tense.

What are the new endings for verbs ending in –ir?

The endings are –o, -es, -e, -imos, en in the present indicative tense.  

How does one know which ending to use?

That’s simple!

It depends upon the subject.  If the subject is I, you use –o; if it is we, you use –amos, etc.
always look for the subject first!

How many Spanish "verb tenses" are there? There are 14 Spanish verb tenses
     7 simple tenses(1 verb), and
     7 compound tenses (a verb preceded by a helping verb).

Note:  It is important that each student master the Present Indicative tense as well as possible.  The concepts and principles related to verbs that are learned in studying the Present tense will make the other tenses much easy.

What is the verb chart? Language students study verbs by means of the “verb chart”.  This is simply a means of visualizing the concept of verb conjugation and is used as a tool for learning this concept.  Eventually all students who wish to become fluent in a language must actually learn what the individual words (conjugated verbs) mean.  This comes from lots of practice.  In the meantime, the verb chart is an effective tool to help the student through the early stages.

What are subject pronouns? Subject pronouns are simply pronouns used as the subject of a sentence.


English Subject Pronouns



We You (familiar)


You (familiar) in Spain, etc. He, She, It, and You (formal)


  They and You (plural)

 Spanish Subject Pronoun View



nosotros and nosotras


vosotros and vosotras él, ella, and usted (Ud.)


ellos, ellas, and ustedes (Uds.)

What’s the difference between the “formal” and “familiar”?

Spanish speaking people have a unique way of speaking to other people that requires using one of two verb forms.
These are called the formal and the familiar (sometimes called the informal).

These are used when one person is speaking to another person or persons, not when speaking about them.
In Spain and the Canary Islands they also use two forms depending whether they are speaking to one person or more than one person (see note below).  However, Spanish speakers in Latin America and the United States use only one form in speaking to more than one person, regardless of who they are.

What is the familiar?

The familiar uses the form of the verb.  This is sometimes called the 2nd person singular(Spain uses the vosotros form, sometimes called the 2nd person plural.)

When is the familiar used? When speaking to close family members, friends, members of your own peer group, small children, and sometimes pets.  This rule varies from one Spanish speaking country to another and from one family to another.

When is the formal used? Spanish speaking people use the formal in all cases where they would not use the familiar.  It is used when you are not acquainted with the other person, when the person has authority over you, when it is proper to show respect to the other person (such as children talking to adults), or whenever you are in doubt what form you should use.


Familiar Spanish                          Formal Spanish How are you?

¿Cómo estás tú?                         ¿Cómo está usted?

What’s your name?

¿Cómo te llamas tú?                    ¿Cómo se llama Ud?

Where are you going?

¿Adónde vas?                             ¿Adónde va Ud?

Do you speak Spanish?

¿Hablas tú español?                    ¿Habla usted español?

Do you want the book?

¿Quieres tú el libro?                    ¿Quiere Ud. el libro?

Are you waiting for the train?

¿Esperas tú el tren?                     ¿Espera Ud. el tren?

What is unique about the formal used in Spain?

Latin Americans and Spanish speaking people in the United States usually use the familiar only when talking to one person.  When they are speaking to more than one person they will use the same form regardless to whom they are speaking.

Examples:   English-  Do you have my book?   Latin America/The United States
     (Talking to a friend)      ¿Tienes mi libro?
     (Talking to 2 or more friends)
     ¿Tienen ustedes mi libro?
     (Talking to 2 or more people to whom you owe respect)
     ¿Tienen ustedes mi libro? Spain/The Canary Islands
     (Talking to a friend)
     ¿Tienes mi libro?        (Talking to 2 or more friends)      ¿Tenéis vosotros mi libro?     (Talking to 2 or more people to whom you owe respect)
    ¿Tienen ustedes mi libro?

What is the best way to learn verbs?

     Keep it simple!




 Sorry, but nothing beats old-fashioned hard work!