Verbs are critical components in sentence construction. The verb indicates action or movement. When conjugating Spanish verbs there are six positions: three singular and three plural. Vosotros (omitted here) is the second person plural and rarely used in North America. Whether regular or irregular, verb endings are a, e and i, as in the words tomar (to take), comer (to eat), and vivir (to live). Here, verbs are conjugated from the infinitive form to the past/preterite tense in the indicative because the indicative relates what is real.
There are three conjugations in Spanish: ar, er, ir
The six positions for conjugating verbs are: Yo (I), Usted/tú (you, formal/informal), ella/el/ (she, he, it), nosotros (we), ellas/ellos/ustedes (they/them). There are three major conjugations indicated by the vowels a, e, i, and followed by the consonant r. The first form of the three verbs--those ending in "ar"--are conjugated into the preterite by dropping the ending "ar" (i.e. tomar, tom-ar = tom). You are left with the root of the word. Add to the root the following endings corresponding to the persons (yo, tu, el/ella, nosotros, ustedes) -é, -aste, -ó, -amos, -aron.
The second main conjugation is the ending "er," as in the verb comer. Drop the ending, er. Take the root of the word which is com and add endings -í, -iste, -ió, -imos, -ieron. Thus the conjugation of the Spanish word for comer (to eat): yo comí, tú comiste, él/usted comió, nosotros comimos, ellos/ustedes comieron.
Vivir (to live) ends in ir, the third of the main conjugations. Following the pattern, you would drop the "ir" to form the root "viv" and add -í, -iste, -ió, -imos or -ieron. Vivir (to live): yo viví, tú viviste, él/usted vivió, nosotros vivimos, ellos/ustedes vivieron. Note that the verbs ending in er and ir have the same endings.
Items you will need
- Dictionary (bilingual Spanish/English)
- Student on campus with books and laptop. image by kuhar from Fotolia.com