Regular "ar" Verbs

In Spanish, there are three categories of verbs. The category is determined by the last two letters of the infinitive:

-ar verbs (like hablar)
-er verbs (like comer)
-ir verbs (like vivir)

The infinitive is the base form of the verb, such as to speak, to eat, to live, etc. In Spanish, all infinitives end in -ar, -er, or -ir.

-ar verb
hablar (to speak)

-er verb
comer (to eat)

-ir verb
vivir (to live)

To conjugate a verb means to manipulate the infinitive so that it agrees with the different possible subjects. Here is the present tense conjugation of the infinitive “to speak”:

to speak

I speak
you speak
he speaks
she speaks
we speak
you-all speak
they speak

The present tense in Spanish can mean three things. The Spanish phrase “yo hablo” can mean:

yo hablo
I speak

yo hablo
I am speaking

yo hablo
I do speak

Many Spanish verbs are completely regular, meaning that they follow a specific pattern of conjugation. In this lesson you will learn to conjugate regular -ar, -er, and -ir verbs (in the present tense). Before you can do that, you must memorize the following subject pronouns.

yo (I)
tú (you – informal)
él (he)
ella (she)
usted (you – formal)

nosotros/nosotras (we)
vosotros/vosotras (you-all – informal)

ellos/ellas (they)
ustedes (you-all formal)

For a review of the subject pronouns, click here.

Spanish infinitives are divided into two parts: the ending and the stem. The ending is the last two letters. Remember, all infinitives end in -ar, -er, or -ir. The stem is everything that’s left after you remove the ending.

habl + ar = hablar
com + er = comer
viv + ir = vivir

In this lesson, we will use the model -ar verbs: hablar. In Spanish, you conjugate verbs by changing the ending. If the subject is I (yo), conjugate by dropping the ending and add -o.

yo hablo (hablar – ar + o = hablo)
I speak, I am speaking, I do speak

If the subject is you – informal (tú), conjugate by dropping the ending and add -as (for -ar verbs).

tú hablas (hablar – ar + as = hablas)
you speak, you are speaking, you do speak

If the subject is he (él), she (ella) or you – formal (usted), conjugate by dropping the ending and add -a (-ar verbs).

él/ella/usted habla (hablar – ar + a = habla)
he speaks, she is speaking, you (formal) do speak

If the subject is we (nosotros/nosotras), conjugate by dropping the ending and add -amos for -ar verbs.

nosotros hablamos (hablar – ar + amos = hablamos)
we speak, we are speaking, we do speak

If the subject is you-all – informal (vosotros/vosotras), conjugate by dropping the ending and add -áis for -ar verbs.

vosotros habláis (hablar – ar + áis = habláis)
you-all speak, you-all are speaking, you-all do speak

If the subject is they (ellos/ellas) or you-all – formal (ustedes), conjugate by dropping the ending and add -an (-ar verbs).

ellos/ellas/ustedes hablan (hablar – ar + an = hablan)
they speak, they are speaking, you-all (formal) do speak

As you can see, to conjugate regular -ar verbs, simply drop the ending (-ar) and add one of the following:

o
as
a
amos
áis
an

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