Updated: Mar 24
All Spanish verbs belong to one of three classifications, called conjugations, depending on the ending of the infinitive. The infinitive is the most basic form of a verb. In Spanish, infinitives always end in -ar, -er or -ir, with -ar being the most common. In English, "infinitive" is usually used to refer to the "to + verb" form of the verb such as "to run" or "to eat," although according to some authorities the infinitives are "run" and "eat."
An infinitive by itself does not indicate tense nor who or what is performing the action of the verb. In both English and Spanish, the infinitive can often function as a noun. In Spanish, such a noun is always masculine and is usually used in the singular form. The Spanish word for "infinitive" is infinitivo (verb stem+ infinitive ending)=infinitive.
habl +ar (to speak) = hablar
com+ er (to eat) = comer
viv+ir (to live)= vivir
Verbs are considered regular if there is no change in the stem when it is conjugated. In this lesson, you will learn to conjugate our modal verbs for I, you (formal), we, and you-all (formal).
Look for a pattern in the yo form. yo hablo, yo como, yo vivo
If the subject is I (yo), conjugate by dropping the ending and add -o.
yo hablo (hablar – ar + o = hablo)
yo como (comer – er + o = como)
yo vivo (vivir – ir + o = vivo)
Look for a pattern in the tú form. tú hablas. tú comes, tú vives
If the subject is you informal (tú), conjugate by dropping the ending and add -as, -es, -es
tú hablas (hablar – ar + as = hablas)
tú comes (comer – er + es = comes)
tú vives (vivir – ir + es = vives)
Look for a pattern in the nosotros/as form.
If the subject is we (nosotros/as), conjugate by dropping the ending and add -amos, -emos, or -imos.
Notice that the ending of the infinitive determines which is used: -ar verbs add -amos, -er verbs add -emos, -ir verbs add -imos.
(hablar – ar + amos = hablamos)
(comer – er + emos = comemos)
(vivir – ir + imos = vivimos)
Look for a pattern in the usted form. usted habla. usted come, usted vive
If the subject is you formal (usted) drop the ending and add either -a or -e. If the verb is an -ar verb, add -a. If it is an -er or -ir verb, add -e.
usted habla (hablar – ar + a = habla)
usted come (comer – er + e = come)
usted vive (vivir – ir + e = vive)
Look for a pattern in the ustedes form.
If the subject is you-all (ustedes), conjugate by dropping the ending and add -an or -en. If the verb is an -ar verb, add -an. If it is an -er or an -ir verb, add -en.
(hablar – ar + an = hablan)
(comer – er + en = comen)
(vivir – ir + en = viven)
Uses of the Present Tense
The present tense is used to express the English simple present tense and the English present progressive tense.
Question are formed by inverting the subject and the verb. In this case, the translation of the Spanish present tense includes the English helping verb do. Questions can also be indicated by rising intonation, without a change in word order.
Do you speak Spanish?
The present tense can be used to express a future event if an adverbial expression of future time is included
Ella habla con usted mañana
She will talk to you tomorrow
To make a sentence negative, place no directly before the verb
Listening Activity No. 1:
Quiz Activity No. 2: Practice the conjugation of the regular verbs in the present
Write your answer in the comments. Before you start working with the sentences below, don’t forget you can contact your tutor with any question you have about the present tense in Spanish. Don’t you have a Spanish online tutor yet?
Free Handout Activity No. 3: Presente indicativo: Juanes & Nelly Furtado "Fotografía"
Unfortunately there are many people who have to live away from their countries for work or political reasons. This is the case of many Latin American artists. The song "Your photography" contains a double meaning, like many songs by this author, which can be classified into typical Colombian genres, such as the guasca or the lane music.
This resource includes great practice for the regular and irregular forms of the Present Indicative. We hope you find it very useful. Before starting with the activities, remember to contact your tutor with any question you have or to ask for more homework. Enjoy it!
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¡Hasta la vista!
The Español Latino Team