How Verbs Work

Tenses – Just like in English, Spanish has multiple tenses for verbs; i.e., future (I will be) or present (I am).

Endings – In Spanish, every verb has one of three endings: -ar, -er, -ir. Every verb. If a word does not have one of these three endings, then you can be certain that it is not a verb. In order to use a verb, you simply take the last two letters off of the end of the verb and add the new ending for whatever tense you want to use. There are some irregularities in verb, but they mostly follow a pattern and will be particular to each verb tense. Don’t worry. You will learn them with each verb tense.

Personal Pronouns – In order to conjugate a verb, you need to know who you are conjugating it for. These are the following personal pronouns that accompany the verb.

Singular Plural
Yo
I
Nosotros
We
I
Vosotros
You (informal)
El
Ella
Usted
He
She
You (formal)
Ellos
Ellas
Ustedes
They
They (feminine)
You (formal)

What is the difference between “tú” and “usted? Tú and Usted both mean “you” in English”. The difference between the two is a matter of formality. “Tú” is used for informal situations, like friends, family, little kids, and with people that you interact with on a first name basis. “Usted” on the other hand is more formal, polite, and respectful. You would use that when interacting with strangers, in a business setting, or anywhere you want to show some respect. “Vosotros” and “Ustedes” are just the plural forms of “Tú” and “Usted”, respectfully. However, in Latin America, nobody really uses “Vosotros”. Instead, “ustedes” is used for all forms of the plural “you”.

For a brief look at what all of the different verb tenses and moods look like, check here.

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