How to Conjugate Verbs in Spanish


When learning French language, it is useful to know about how to conjugate verbs to help you understand the verb alteration. For those who still have no clue what conjugation is let me explain it to you. A verb conjugation is the change of verbs’ form to express different point of view and meaning in a language. 

In English we can take the example of conjugation by changing the verbs like eat into different forms such as: eating, eats, ate, to eat, she eats, etc you get the point. 

Conjugation is the rules to follow when we want to say something for different time, subjects and actions. Synergy Spanish is a great online course for those of you who want to learn the language fast, especially when going to visit a Spanish speaking country. Click here to read a more detailed review on the course.

Let’s take another example of conjugating verbs based on tenses or time frames. In English we divide times into 3 core parts: Past tense, present tense and future tense. The verbs form also influenced by the subjects: I, you, they, we, she, he, it. 

Take a look at the example below which display phrases in Past Tense

To eat in past tense

I ateWe ate
You ateYou guys ate
She ate, he ateThey ate

In English grammar rule you simply refer to the list of English irregular verbs if the verbs are irregular e.g.: ate, drank, swam etc. The regular verbs are relatively easy to form. You just need to ad –d or – Ed. 

In Spanish language it is not as easy to conjugate the verbs. However, it should not discourage you from learning to conjugate Spanish properly in order to be able to communicate.

The tenses in Spanish are:

  • The present tense = El Presente
  • The Future Tense = El Futuro
  • The Fixed Past Tense= El Pretérito Perfecto
  • The Malleable Past Tense = El Pretérito Imperfecto

The tenses showed above are not covering all tenses. There are still some tenses which I haven’t showed yet. For the sake of the article we won’t discuss about those now.

What is the different between El Pretérito and El Imperfecto?

Those both tenses are categorized as past-tense forms. It will take a while to learn which one is appropriate to say in conversation but worry not, we can use cheat sheet to make memorizing tenses easier than ever. 

You should use El Pretérito (the fixed past tense) when talking about:

  • An event which took place or happened in the past
  • Events that started and ended in the past.

You can use the flexible past tense (El Pretérito Imperfecto) when you want to communicate about:

  • Something that is in the form of repeated or habitual action
  • The progressive action that has no fixed time about when it will complete
  • The time expressions which take place and time in the past
  • The common description about emotional and physical states of someone or something which happened in the past

In Spanish language it is relatively easy to tell if a word is in fact, a verb by noticing the signs below:

It is a verb if it ends with AR such as: Hablar, Presentar. Carminar

A word that ends with ER is also a verb: Saber, Corner, Correr.

If a word ends with IR it is also a verb: Describir. Vivir, Subir, Escribir.

How to conjugate present tense

In order to conjugate el presente you need to change words ending in AR, ER, and IR then replace it with -o, -as, -a . For example:

Hablar = Hablo, hablas, habla

Caminar = Camino, Caminas, Camina