So, you nod your head a lot and smile while your instructor explains how to conjugate verbs but you really, really aren't getting how they work at all! Sound familiar? Although you might be puzzled, there’s actually a reason that Spanish verbs have different endings for each tense. Well, are you ready to learn?
First of all, why do we even need to change the ending of the verbs in Spanish?
Answer: so that people know who in the world we are talking about!
In English, we have those wonderful pronouns like “I, you, he, she, it, we, and they” tell us what or who we are talking about. We pretty much use them all the time - yep, can't live without them. The good news is, we also have them in Spanish! The difference is that in Spanish we have the choice to use them or not. We have choices people, choices! When we change the ending of the verb in Spanish that's how we know who or what we are talking about.
Let me give you an idea how it works, using the word hablar or to speak. Hablar, without being conjugated, literally means “to speak.” So, we must change the ending to indicate who is speaking - you? Me? Him? Her?
So clearly, we can't just say 'speak' because how random would that sound?
But on the flip side, in Spanish:
I speak = (Yo) hablo
You speak = (Tu) hablas
He speaks = (El) habla
We have two great ways to say the same thing! When we replace the ar at the end of hablar with an ‘o,’ it forms the word hablo, which means ‘I speak.’ We can use this verb alone or with the pronoun (pronombre) ‘yo.’ Let’s see an example of how to use the conjugated ‘yo’ and ‘tu’ form of hablo:
Juan: Hola, hablas español?
Julia: Si, yo hablo español!
Or, in English:
Juan: Hello, do you speak Spanish?
Julia: Yes, I speak Spanish!
That, my people, is why we change the ending of verbs.
One of the best ways to really nail these verbs is to create study sheets for each verb. Then, take all your unit/chapter verbs and group the verbs together based on whether the verb ends in AR, IR or ER. Do a separate study sheet for each group and read them outloud once a day to commit them to memory!
Here's a sample of a study sheet I have my tutoring students do:
Study Sheet for Regular AR Verbs
Hablar = to speak
I speak = (yo) hablo
You speak = (tu) hablas
He speaks = (el) habla
She speaks = (ella) habla
You (formal) speak = (usted) habla
We speak = (nosotros/nosotras) hablamos
They speak = (ellas/ellos) hablan
All of you/you all speak = (ustedes) hablan
Let me know if you have any questions or if there are other instructional blogs you would to see! And remember....you got this!!!