Spanish Grammar: Verb Conjugation – Basics

Spanish Grammar: Verb Conjugation - Basics

Creative Commons Image via The LEAF Project


Spanish Grammar: Verb Conjugation – Basics
la gramática española: la conjugación de los verbos – los básicos

  • Indicates action in a sentence.
  • Attribute actions to someone or something.


Infinitive verbs are verbs that are unchanged. They are in their most basic form, and can be adapted in many different ways. (An infinite number of ways, so to speak.) These are verbs like hablar (to speak), comer (to eat), vivir (to live), caminar (to walk), nadar (to swim), etc.

Infinitive verbs in Spanish will always end with the letters AR, ER, or IR.

Infinitive verbs, in English, always mean to do … (action). For example: to run, to read, to speak, to live, to eat, to see, to hear, to work, to study …

The system of adapting infinitive verbs to different people, places, and things is called verb conjugation.

When we conjugate verbs, we team them up with different Subject Pronouns to attach actions to people, places or things. Like from TO SPEAK (hablar) to HE SPEAKS (el habla).

When we conjugate verbs, we first DROP the AR/ER/IR endings, and then reattach a NEW ENDING that lets us know who or what is acting or being acted upon. (New verb endings will be discussed in later lessons, there’s a LOT of them!)

Subject Pronoun + New Ending = Correctly Conjugated Verb! That’s how it works!

YO + HABLO = I speak!

TÚ + COMES = You eat! (familiar form)

ÉL + ESTUDIA = He studies

ELLA + COME = She eats

USTED + TIENE = You have! (formal form)


VOSOTROS + TRABAJÁIS = Y’all work! (familiar plural)

ELLOS + SON = They are! (Masc. or mixed group)

ELLAS + ESTÁN = They are! (Feminine group)

USTEDES + VAN = You all go! (formal plural)


¿Habla usted español?
Do you (formal) speak Spanish?

Si, yo hablo español.
Yes, I speak Spanish.

¿Él habla español?
Does he speak Spanish?

No, él no habla español.
No, he does not speak Spanish.

¿Nosotros estudiamos en la biblioteca?
Are we studying in the library?

No, nosotros estudiamos en el laboratorio.
No, we are studying in the lab.

¿Vosotros viajáis a España este verano?
Are you traveling to Spain this summer?

No, nosotros viajamos a México.
No, we are traveling to Mexico.

¿Ellos cocinan con carne?
Do they cook with meat?

No, ellos cocinan solamente con verduras.
No, they only cook with vegetables.

¿Tú nadas cada día?
Do you swim every day?

Si, yo nado cada día.
Yes, I swim every day.

¿Ellas enseñan inglés a los estudiantes?
Are they (fem.) teaching the students English?

No, ellas enseñan el alemán.
No, they (fem.) are teaching German.