Regular Spanish 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.
hablar (to speak)
comer (to eat)
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”:
The present tense in Spanish can mean three things. The Spanish phrase “yo hablo” can mean:
I am speaking
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.
tú (you – informal)
usted (you – formal)
vosotros/vosotras (you-all – informal)
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 three model verbs: hablar, comer, and vivir. 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
yo como (comer – er + o = como)
I eat, I am eating, I do eat
yo vivo (vivir – ir + o = vivo)
I live, I am living, I do live
If the subject is you – informal (tú), conjugate by dropping the ending and add -as (for -ar verbs) or -es (for -er and -ir verbs).
tú hablas (hablar – ar + as = hablas)
you speak, you are speaking, you do speak
tú comes (comer – er + es = comes)
you eat, you are eating, you do eat
tú vives (vivir – ir + es = vives)
you live, you are living, you do live
If the subject is he (él), she (ella) or you – formal (usted), conjugate by dropping the ending and add -a (-ar verbs) or -e (-er and -ir verbs).
él/ella/usted habla (hablar – ar + a = habla)
he speaks, she is speaking, you (formal) do speak
él/ella/usted come (comer – er + e = come)
he eats, she is eating, you (formal) do eat
él/ella/usted vive (vivir – ir + e = vive)
he lives, she is living, you (formal) do live
If the subject is we (nosotros/nosotras), conjugate by dropping the ending and add -amos, -emos, or -imos, depending on whether the verb is -ar, -er or -ir.
nosotros hablamos (hablar – ar + amos = hablamos)
we speak, we are speaking, we do speak
nosotros comemos (comer – er + emos = comemos)
we eat, we are eating, we do eat
nosotros vivimos (vivir – ir + imos = vivimos)
we live, we are living, we do live
If the subject is you-all – informal (vosotros/vosotras), conjugate by dropping the ending and add -áis, -éis, or ís.
vosotros habláis (hablar – ar + áis = habláis)
you-all speak, you-all are speaking, you-all do speak
vosotros coméis (comer – er + éis = coméis)
you-all eat, you-all are eating, you-all do eat
vosotros vivís (vivir – ir + ís = vivís)
you-all live, you-all are living, you-all do live
If the subject is they (ellos/ellas) or you-all – formal (ustedes), conjugate by dropping the ending and add -an (-ar verbs) or -en (-er and -ir verbs).
ellos/ellas/ustedes hablan (hablar – ar + an = hablan)
they speak, they are speaking, you-all (formal) do speak
ellos/ellas/ustedes comen (comer – er + en = comen)
they eat, they are eating, you-all (formal) do eat
ellos/ellas/ustedes viven (vivir – ir + en = viven)
they live, they are living, you-all (formal) do live
As you can see, to conjugate regular -ar verbs, simply drop the ending (-ar) and add one of the following:
To conjugate regular -er verbs, simply drop the ending (-er) and add one of the following:
To conjugate regular -ir verbs, simply drop the ending (-ir) and add one of the following: