Presente tiempo (present tense)
|Ud., El, Ella||a||Uds., ellos, ellas||an|
|Ud., El, Ella||e||Uds., ellos, ellas||en|
|Ud., El, Ella||e||Uds., ellos, ellas||en|
Pretérito Tiempo (preterit tense)
|Ud., El, Ella||ó||Uds., ellos, ellas||aron|
|Ud., El, Ella||ió||Uds., ellos, ellas||ieron|
|Ud., El, Ella||va||Uds., ellos, ellas||van|
|Ud., El, Ella||vaya||Uds., ellos, ellas||vayan|
|Ud., El, Ella||iba||Uds., ellos, ellas||iban|
|Ud., El, Ella||fué||Uds., ellos, ellas||fueron|
|Yo||fuera or fuese||Nos.||fuéramos or fuésemos|
|Tú||fueras or fueses||Vos.||fuerais or fuereis|
|Ud., El, Ella||fuera or fuese||Uds., ellos, ellas||fueron or fuesen|
|Ud., El, Ella||vaya||Uds., ellos, ellas||vayan|
Pensar (When stressed the stem vowel e becomes ie)
|Ud., El, Ella||piensa||Uds., ellos, ellas||piensan|
|Ud., El, Ella||piense||Uds., ellos, ellas||piensen|
|Ud., El, Ella||piense||Uds., ellos, ellas||piensen|
Contar (when stressed the stem vowel o becomes ue)
|Ud., El, Ella||cuenta||Uds., ellos, ellas||cuenten|
|Ud., El, Ella||cuente||Uds., ellos, ellas||cuenten|
|Ud., El, Ella||cuente||Uds., ellos, ellas||cuenten|
|Ud., El, Ella||anduvo||Uds., ellos, ellas||anduvieron|
|Yo||anduviera or anduviese||Nos.||anduviéramos or anduviésemos|
|Tú||anduvieras or anduvieses||Vos.||anduvierais or anduvieseis|
|Ud., El, Ella||anduviera or anduviese||Uds., ellos, ellas||anduvieran or anduviesen|
Asking a simple question: a simple question is one that elicits either a “yes” or “no” answer. To do this place the conjugated verb in front of the subject.
i.e. Tú hablas ingles. Becomes ¿Hablas tú ingles?
Asking a complex question: asking a complex question is one that elicits a response other than yes or no
¿Quién? ¿Quiénes? Who?
¿Por qué? Why?
Ex. ¿Dónde viven ellos? – Where do they live?
Asking a limiting question: Asking a limiting question involves an inquiry as to which, how much, or how many.
¿Cuál? Which? (sing.)
¿Cuáles? Which? (pl.)
¿Cuánto? (masc.); ¿Cuánta? (fem.) How much?
¿Cuántos? (m.); ¿Cuántas? (f.) How many?
Ex. ¿Cuál prefieres? – Which (one) do you prefer?
Ser and Estar
Ser is used in enduring situations, while estar is used in situations that are short-term, or which involve location or the result of some action. Thus, if you want to say, “I am a human being” you would use ser, but if you want to say “I am kneeling”, “I am in the library”, or “the window is open”, you use estar.
Admitir –to admit
Asistir (a) – to attend
Cubrir – to cover
Decider – to decide
Decribir – to describe
Descubrir – to discover
Discutir- to discuss
Permitir – to permit
Enseñar – to teach
Existir – to exist
Escribir – to write
Recibir – to receive
Subir – to climb, go up
Sufrir – to suffer
Unir – to unite
Andar – to walk; to go; to go about; to run
con cuidado-to be careful; ¡andale! – hurry
buscar – to look for
Caber – to fit into, go into; to have enough room for; to befall
Comprar – to buy
Cometer (un error) – to make (a mistake)
Contar – to count; to tell, relate; – con to count on, rely on; a – desde starting from, beginning with.
Creer– to believe; to think, suppose ¡ja lo creo! – I should say so! Yes, of course!
Dar – (hacer don) to give, confer; (golpear)to strike, hit; (emitir) give off, emit
Deber – to owe
Meter (en) – to put into
Poseer – to possess, own
Romper – to break
temer – to fear, dread
Destruir- to destroy, to ruin
Esperar – to hope; wait for
Sentir – to feel; to sense; to hear; to regret; -se to feel (well, strong, sad, etc.); to feel oneself, consider oneself; to feel resentment; to feel a pain; sin – without being realized or felt; inadvertently; unnoticed; m. feeling; judgement; opinion
Pedir – to ask, beg, petition; to ask for; to demand; to require; to order (merchandise); a – de boca exactly as desired
Poder – to be able; can; may
Puede que –it is possible that, it may be that, perhaps; hasta más no _ to the utmost, to the limit; no _ mas – not to be able to do more; to be exhausted
Poner – to put; to place; to set; to lay; to suppose
Buscar – to seek, search, look for
Seguir – to follow; to continue; to pursue; -se to follow as a consequence
Haber – to have
Llegar – to arrive
Llevar – to wear, carry
Cocinar – to cook
Dar – to give, confer; to strike, hit
Haber – to have (auxillary verb)
Debujar/ trazar – to draw
Oír – to hear; to listen; to understand
Ver – to see; to look; to look at; to look into; to examine
Poner – to put; to place; to see; to lay; to suppose
Placer – to please
Oler – to smell; to scent
Gustar; probar; saborear, paladear – to taste
Huir – to flee, escape; avoid, shun
Valer – to favor, protect; to cost; to be worth
Lavar – to wash, to launder
Aprender – to learn
Llamar – to call, to summon; to name; to invoke; _ a la puerta – to knock at the door; -se – to be called, named; Am.(American-Spanish) – to break one’s word or promise
Tomar – to take
Hacer – to do, to make
Los días de la semana (days of the week)
Wed. – Miércoles
Thurs – jueves
Friday – viernes
Satur. – Sábado
Sun. – domingo
Los Estaciónes (the seasons)
Spring – primavera
Summer – verano
Fall – otoño
Winter – invierno
Meses del año (months of the year)
January – enero
February – febrero
March – marzo
April – Abril
May – Mayo
June – Junio
July – Julio
August – agosto
September – Septiembre
November – Noviembre
December – Diciembre
Los colores (colors)
Blue – Azul
Yellow – Amarillo
Green – verde
Purple – púrpura
Orange – Naranja
Brown – Moreno
Gray – gris
White – blanco
Black – Negro
Painter – el pintor
Boss – Jefe
Cook – cocinero
Musician – Músico
Dishwasher – lavaplatos
Fighter – luchador, combatiente; guerrero
Athlete – atleta
Waiter/ waitress – mozo/moza; camarera/camarera
Basketball – basquetbol
Baseball – beisbol
Football – fútbol
Dishwasher (machine) – máquina de lavar platos
Knife – cuchillo, cuchilla
Grill – parrilla
Shrimp – camarón
Spicy – picante
Breakfast – desayuno
Lunch – almuerzo
Dinner – cena
Hungry – hambriento
To be hungry – tener hambrre
Thirsty – sediento
To be thirsty – tener sed
Spinach – espinaca
Artichoke – alcachofa
Bacon – tocino
Beef – carne
Steak – biftec o bisté
Chicken – pollo
Chicken Wing – ala de pollo
Duck – pato, pata
Pork – puerco
Plum – ciruela
Buffalo – búfalo
Berry – baya
Apple – manzana
Cheese – queso
Corn – maíz
Flour – harina
Hamburger – carne picada de vaca; bocadillo o emparedado de carne picada; hamburguesa
Broccoli – Brócoli
Noodle – tallarín, fideo, pasta
Broil – asar(se)
Carrot – zanahoria
Pea – guisante
Pecan – pacana
Radish – rábano
Beet – remolacha
Bean – judía
Fish – pescado
Cabbage – col, repollo, berza
Sour – agrio, acre
Garden – el jardín
Store – tienda
Bakery – la panadería
Oven – el horno
Coro – chorus
La banda – band
El cumplido – compliment
A veces – sometimes
Temprano – early
La cortada – cut, slash
éso/ésa – that one
ésos/ésas – those
eso – that
¡eso! – that’s right
cual – which
siguiente – following
respuesta – response; answer; reply
ropa – clothing
his/ her (s.,pl.) – su/sus
echa una siesta – to take a nap
educación fisica – phys. Ed.
Mientras – while
Vecinos – neighbors
Jack of all trades – aprendiz de todo y official de nada
Well Done – Bien Hecho
Row, tier, rank – fila
Another – de otro
Socks – calcetines
Actress – actriz
Broken – roto
Short – bajo
Thin – delgado
Every day – cada día
Sunglasses – las grafas de sol
Bookstore – la libería
Beforehand – antes
Ser and Estar
The simplest but not all-inclusive, dichotomy to be made of ser and estar is to say that ser is used in enduring situations, while estar is used in situations that are short-term, or which involve location or the result of some action. Thus if you want to say, “I am a human being,” you will use the verb ser, but if you want to say “I am kneeling,” “I am at the library,” or “The window is open,” you will use estar.
|él, ella, ud.||es||ellos/ellas/uds.||son|
|él, ella, ud.||está||ellos, ellas, uds.||están|
Situations in which ser is used:
Origin: one’s origin is an unchangeable fact, one of the few permanent aspects of one’s life. Therefore you will always be from your hometown.
Yo soy de los Estados Unidos. I am from the United States.
¿De dónde eres tú? Where are you from?
Yuri es de Rusia. Yuri is from Russia
Relationships: there are two types of relationships one can have with others: familial and selected.
Familial: These are blood relationships (parents, siblings, cousins, etc.), and even though they may be volatile relationships, they endure. Thus one says:
Ellos son mis padres. They are my parents.
Vosotros sois mis hermanos. You are my brothers.
Ella es mi hermana. She is my sister.
Selected: Friends, enemies, spouses, employers, etc. achieve relationships with us by selection. While the status of these relationships does change from time to time, a friend is always a friend. Thus, one says:
Tú eres mi amigo. You are my friend.
É les mi esposo. He is my husband.
Somos vecinos. We are neighbors.
Physical attributes: Aspects of one’s body are not to be taken lightly: they go everywhere with a person-they are not changed by location or how one feels. Even though hair color changes from blonde to gray, and beauty fades, these changes do not occur overnight; rather, they are considered enduring.
Yo soy alto. I am tall.
Rizitos de Oro es rubia. Goldilocks is blonde
Ellos son delgados. They are slim.
Personality characteristics: Like physical attributes, personalities do change from time to time: however, people tend to behave and react to life pretty much the same one day to the next (do not confuse one’s personality with his or her moods which can and do change quickly, and thus are covered under estar).
Ella es amable. She is nice.
Ustedes son cómicos. You all are funny.
Eres cortés. You are polite.
Possession: What is yours is yours and nobody can take it from you. Even as you write your will, the house and everything init are still yours. Just because you can’t take them with you doesn’t meant they aren’t yours until you go!
La casa es mía. The house is mine.
El crystal es mío. The crystal is mine.
Nada aquí es tuyo. Nothing here is yours.
Profession: It is true that most people change jobs, and even careers, many times in their lives. However, one generally does not accept a job offer only to turn around and write his letter of resignation. When one is employed, even part-time, the employee takes on the aspects of that position, as though it were an added personality characteristic.
Perry Mason es abogado. Perry Mason is a lawyer.
Kate Moss y Fabio son modelos. Kate moss and Fabio are models.
Ustedes son estudiantes. All of you are students.
Identification: When identifying anything, whether animal, vegetable, or mineral, you will use ser. Some linguistic philosophers will tell you (if you ask) that, independent of the object, names (or identifying words) are meaningless. In other words, the name is the object, and thus endures as long as does its referent.
Ésta es una frase. This is a sentence.
El señor Ed es un caballo. Mr. Ed is a horse.
Éstos son calcentines. These are socks.
Date and time: However fleeting time may seem (and therefore short-term-estar territory), it still must be argued that now is now. In other words, though it may appear odd to regard the statement, ”It is June 11,” as enduring, realize that the unstated subject is “today,” as in “today is June 11.” Thus, giving the date is actually a form of identification. Similarly with time, “It is 10:30” has as its unstated subject now.
Hoy es el veintiséis de septiembre. Today is September 26.
Mañana es sábado. Tomorrow is Saturday.
¿Qué hora es? What time is it?
Son las tres de la mañana. It’s 3:00 a.m.
Nationality: This is similar to origin, in that your place of birth never can be denied. However, the United States being the great melting pot that it is, we differ from persons in many other countries because here one’s origin and nationality often differ. Thus, one could say, Ýo soy de los Estados Unidos,” indicating origin, and, in the same breath, “Yo soy francés,” indicating nationality. Note that nationalities are not capitalized in Spanish.
Gabriel es colombiano. Gabriel is Colombian.
La Princesa Diana es inglesa. Princess Diana is English.
Dudley Doright es canadiense. Dudly Doright is Canadian.
Natural color: This is tricky, because color can take either ser or estar, depending on the changeability of the color. Obviously grass is green, the sky is blue, and snow is white-in the abstract. However, there are times when the grass is not green, say, after a drought, and who has never seen gray skies or yellow snow? (At these times you would use estar.) So remember, when an object is referred to in its natural color, you will use ser.
La leche es blanca. Milk is white.
Mi casa es marrón. My house is brown.
La bandera de Japón es roja y blanca. Japan’s flag is red and white.
Situations in which estar is used.
Location: The location of anything takes estar. Whether it is short-term (I am in the shower) or permanent (Paris is in France), if it’s location you’re dealing with, your verb is estar.
Yo estoy en el comedor. I am in the dining room.
¿Dónde estás tú? Where are you?
¿Dómde está Londres? Whereis London?
Mood: one’s mood could be termed a short-term personality characteristic. Our moods describe how we feel at any given moment. In our discussion of ser, we learned that personality characteristics tend to be pervasive and enduring. But your moods, like your emotional status, ride the roller coaster of life: One day you’re happy, the next day you’re sad-it all depends on the ever-changing circumstances of life.
Yo estoy feliz. I am happy.
Ellos están tristes. They are sad.
Vosotros estáis enjados. You are angry.
Ella está de buen/mal humor. She is in a good/bad mood.
Physical condition: Like your moods, how you feel physically also changes from day to day: one day hale and hearty, the next day sick as a dog.
Ella esta bien. She is fine.
Estamos enfermos. We are sick.
Ellos están cansados. They are tired.
Result of action: This refers to what you are doing. If you just sat down, it means that you are seated. Soon you will be standing and, if you are studying this in church, you may be kneeling any minute now. Even being dead, which is about as enduring as it gets, takes estar, for it is the result of having lived.
Estoy sentado/a. I am seated
Estás de pie. You are standing.
Ella está de rodillas. She is kneeling
La mosca está muerta. The fly is dead.
Estos televisores están dañados. These television sets are broken.
Unnatural color or condition: When you are very sick, your face may turn green; however unless you are from another planet, this color is unnatural. Meat that has sat around too long takes a shade of gray; bananas turn black; and old newspapers turn yellow. In a nutshell, in describing things that aren’t as they were originally intended, you will use estar.
El cielo está gris. The sky is gray.
Esta nieve está amarilla. This snow is yellow.
Las manos están sucias. Her hands are dirty.
Él está feo con esos pantalones. He is ugly in those pants.
Going from the general to the particular: If you like coffee as I do, then you would agree that “El café es la bebida de los dioses”, and you would use ser to express this absolute truth. This does not mean, however, that every individual cup of coffee in the world is wonderful. So, when referring to a specific cup of coffee, or plate of spaghetti or order of fries, you will use estar.
Este café está muy bueno. This coffee is very good.
Este café está malísimo. This coffee is horrible.
Estas papas fritas están riquísimas. These French fries are delicious.
Use of ser and estar in context:
Cuando estoy feliz yo canto, pero hoy estoy de mal humor. Mi gato está enfermo, mi televisor está roto, y este mañana mi café está malísimo. Hoy es lunes. Trabajo en un librería. Dos personas estan en la tienda ahora, un hombre y una mujer. El hombre es alta y él busca libros que no existen. ¿Por qué esta aquí? La mujer es baja y muy delgada. Ella compra el periódico aquí cada día. A veces ella lee cinco o seis revistas antes. Siempre lleva las grafas de sol y un sombrero grande. Ella es muy misteriosa. Creo que ella es una espía. ¿Quien es ella y por qué está aquí?
The verb tener (to have) is important in Spanish, not just because it is such a basic and commonly used verb, but because of its many uses: (1) it can show possession; (2) it is used to show age; (3) it is used in several idiomatic expressions; and (4) it can show obligation. In this section well consider the four uses.
Tengo un perro. I have a dog.
Tienes un hermono. You have one brother.
Tenemos cinco dólares. We have five dollars
Idiomatic expressions: There are several phrases in Spanish that use tener where in English we use the verb to be, For example, instead of being hungry (an adjective), one has hunger (a noun). Below is a list of the most common of these idiomatic expressions. Note (by mucho or mucha) which nouns are masculine and which are feminine.
Tener (mucha) hambre to be (very) hungry
Tener (mucha) sed to be (very) thirsty
Tener (mucho) frío to be (very) cold
Tener (mucho) calor to be (very) warm
Tener (mucho) miedo to be (very) afraid
Tener (mucha) suerte to be (very) lucky
Tener (mucha) prisa to be in a (big) hurry
Tener (mucho) sueño to be (very) sleepy, tired
Tener razón to be right
No tener razón to be wrong
Obligation: in order to show obligation, you will use:
Tener (conjugated) + que + infinitive
Tengo que practicar el pieno I have to practice the piano
¿Tenemos que comer esta carne? Do we have to eat this meat?
Tienes que estudiar. You have to study.
Tenéis que limpiar la casa. You guys have to clean the house
Juan tiene que estudiar Juan has to study.
using tener in context: Me llamo Gregorio y hoy es mi cumpleaños. Tengo vente nueve años. Todos mis amigos están en mi casa porque cada año tengo una gran fiesta. Ellos tienen hambre y sed. Soy hambre y sed, también. Tenemos torta, helado, y leche. Pero primero ellos tienen que cantar feliz cumpleaños. Dispués nosotros comemos. Luego abro mis regales porque hay muchos regales para mi.
The Personal “A”
When the direct object of a verb is a specific person (or persons), you must place an a directly before the mention of that person (or persons). This is known as the personal a. The direct object is that noun which is affected directly by the verb, and it usually follows the verb immediately in both English and Spanish.
Yo amo a Lucy – I love Lucy
Miramos a Jorge. – We watch George.
Buscas a mi hermano – You look for my brother
The personal a is unique to Spanish and, as you can see in the examples, it doesn’t translate. Adding the personal a can been seen as a sign of respect, an acknowledgement that the person is more important than his or her car.
Veo a Juan. – I see John.
Veo el coche de Juan. – I see John’s car.
1. You will not use the personal a with the verbs ser (to be), tener (to have, or hay (there is, there are):
Juan es colombiano. – John is Columbian.
Tengo dos hermanos. – I have two brothers.
Hay un chico en la casa. – There is a boy in the house.
2. You will not use the personal a when the direct object is an unspecified person.
Necesito una secretaria bilingüe. – I need a bilingual secretary.
Busco un amigo leal. –I’m looking for a loyal friend.
3. You will use the personal a with your pets and/ or other animals with whom you have a personal relationship. You will not use the personal a with strays, nesting birds, alley cats, squirrels in your back yard, insects, cockroaches, and any other animals with whom you do not wish to form an allegiance.
Amo a preciosa gata, Princesa. – I love my darling cat, Princess.
Odio las termitas. – I hate termites.
4. In a complex question that requires the personal a, place the a before the interrogative:
¿A quién amas? – Who do you love?
¿A quién miras? – Whom are you watching?
5. When there is a series of direct objects that are people (or pets), each will require a personal a:
Veo a Juan, a María, a Miguel, a Margarita y a Fido.
6. When the personal a precedes the definite article el, these contract to form al:
Veo al chico. – I see the boy.
Ella ama al hombre. – She loves the man.
A Dozen Highly Useful Irregular Verbs
Dar (to give) poder (to be able to)
Doy das da puedo puedes puede
Damos daís dan podemos podéis pueden
Decir (to say, tell) poner (to put)
Digo dices dice pongo pones pone
Decimos decís dicen ponemos ponéis ponen
Hacer (to make, do) querer (to want)
Hago haces hace quiero quieres quiere
Hacemos hacéis hacen queremos queréis quieren
Ir (to go) salir (to leave)
Voy vas va salgo sales sale
Vamos vais van salimos salís salen
Jugar (to play) venir (to come)
Juego juegas juega vengo vienes viene
Jugamos jugáis juegan venimos venís vienen
Oír (to hear) ver (to see)
Oigo oyes oye veo ves ve
Oímos oís oyen vemos veis ven
Querer, poder, and deber: Phrases with two verbs
As learned about tener que, when two verbs are next to each other and operate together to form a single idea, the first verb is conjugated and the second verb remains in the infinitive form.
You know that deber means “to owe.” Directly preceding another verb, however, deber means “ought,” as in “I ought to study.” The verb deber is regular. You also know querer means “to want,” and poder means “to be able to.”
Debo salir de la oficina. I should leave the office.
Podemos ver la luz. We can see the light.
¿Puedes nadir bien? Can you swim well?
¿Queréis cenar ahora? Do you want to eat dinner now?
Ella quiere ser lingüista. She wants to be a linguist.
¿Queréis cenar ahora? Do you want to eat dinner now?
Ellos no deben decirnos nada. They shouldn’t tell us anything.
Hacer and estar: Their use in describing the weather
One specific and important use of the verbs hacer and estar is in talking about the weather. Bother hacer and estar will operate only in the third person singular in this context, as the subject is the nebulous “it.” Note that it will always be hace + noun and está + adjective. Memorize these phrases.
Idioms with hacer
Hace (mucho) frío it is (very) cold
Hace (mucho) calor it is (very) warm
Hace (mucho) sol it is (very) sunny
Hace viento it is windy
Hace fresco it is cool
Hace (muy) buen tiempo it is (very) nice out
Hace (muy) mal tiempo it is (very) bad out
Expressions with estar
Está nublado it is cloudy
Está lloviendo it is rainy
Está nevando it is snowing
Está lluvioso it is rainy, wet
Está húmedo it is humid
Está seco it is dry
¿Qué tiempo hace hoy? – What is the weather like today?
Jugar: to play a game:
The verb jugar means, “to play (a game); to gamble.” Don’t confuse jugar with tocar, which means to play (an instrument). Below are examples of games one can play. Note the inclusion of the word a and the appropriate definite article before the name of the game. Speakers in many countries, however, also use the verb without the a (juego béisbol).
Jugar al ajedrez to play chess
Jugar al baloncesto to play basketball
Jugar al béisbol to play baseball
Jugar al billar to play billiards, pool
Jugar a las damas to play checkers
Jugar al fútbol to play soccer
Jugar al fútbol Americano to play football
Jugar al golf to play golf
Jugar al hockey to play hockey
Jugar a un juego to play a game
Jugar a los naipes to play cards
Jugar al tennis to play tennis
Jugar al voleibol to play volleyball
Ir + a + infinitive: Expression of future action
When you know the verb ir in the present tense, you can also speak of the future, as in what you are “going to do” or what “is going to happen”. To do this follow these easy steps:
Ir (conjugated) + a + infinitive
Voy a cantar I am going to sing
Vamos a comprar una lámpara We are going to buy a lamp
¿Qué vas a hacer mañana? What are you going to do tomorrow?
¿Cuándo vais a salir del cuarto? When are you going to leave the room?
Va a llover It’s going to rain.
Ellos no van a estar aquí. They aren’t going to be here.
Phrases of future time:
Esta tarde – this afternoon
Esta noche – tonight
La semana que viene – next week
El mes que viene – next month
El año que viene – next year
Use of irregular verbs in context:
Mañana es el cumpleaños de me mejor amigo. Voy a tener una fiesta para él. Puedo invitar muchas personas porque mi casa es grande. Tengo muchas fiestas y siempre hago lo mismo. Voy a la panadería y compro una torta. Le Digo al panadero que quiero muchas flores y el nombre de mi amigo en la torta. Pongo la torta en la mesa en el comedor donde todos pueden verla-oigo que un centro de mesa dramático es importante. Los invitados vienen a mi casa a siete. hablamos y comemos y bebemos – a veces bailamos o jugamos un juego-entonces le damos regales al invitado de honor. Va a ser una fiesta marvillosa.
Saber and Conocer
Just like ser and estar have the same meaning, saber and conocer both mean “to know”. On closer inspection, they perform two differing functions: saber means “to know information,” while conocer means “to know, or be familiar with, a person, place, or thing.
Saber – Essentially, saber means “to know facts and information.” It implies full knowledge (while conocer implies familiarity).
Saber – only irregular in the yo form
Saber: to know information. When dealing with facts and information, you will use saber.
Sé tu dirección. I know your address
Él no sabe dónde trabajo. He doesn’t know where I work.
Sabemos el número de teléfono. We know the telephone number.
Saber que….: To know that… In English we have the option of saying either “I know that he’s here somewhere,” or simply, “I know he’s here somewhere.” In Spanish, we do not have that option and must include the relative pronoun que (that) which ALWAYS will be followed by a complete sentence.
Sé que su nombre es Juan. I know that his name is John.
¿Sabes que ella está embarazada? Do you know that she is pregnant?
Ellos no saben que los vemos. They don’t know that we see them.
Saber + infinitive: To know how to do something. To say that you know how to do something in Spanish, you simply add the infinitive immediately after the conjugated saber. Do not add cómo (how).
Sé leer. I know how to read
No sé cocinar. I don’t know how to cook.
Él sabe escribir bien. He knows how to write well.
Sabemos esquiar. We know how to ski.
Saber in context:
Juan es mi mecánico. Él sabe mucho de carros, y estoy felíz porque no sé nada de carros. No, no es completamente cierto. Yo sé dónde está el tanque de gasoline y sé llenarlo. Sé conducir y sé que no puedo aparcar enfrente de una estación de bomberos. Juan sabe que él tiene que saber de carros y de la gente, porque muchas personas saben muy poco de carros.
If you are familiar with a person, a place, or a thing, you will need the verb conocer. The key word is familiarity, for one can never know another person, place, or thing completely.
Conocer (to be familiar with)
*as with saber, the verb is irregular only in the yo form
Conocer + a: To know a person. When talking about knowing another person (or someone’s pet animal – not a stray), the conjugated conocer will be followed by the personal a except when you use an object pronoun.
Conozco a Felipe. Lo conocemes.
I know Phillip. We know him.
Tú conoces a María. La conocéis.
You know Mary. You know her.
María conoce a Eduardo. María y Jorge lo conocen.
Mary knows Edward. Mary and George know him.
Conocer + location: To know a place. To visit is to become familiar. Whether you know a location inside-out or hardly at all, you will use conocer. To indicate how well you know a place, you use muy bien or muy poco.
Conozco Puerto Rico. I know/am familiar with/have been to Puerto Rico.
La actriz conoce muy bien Hollywood. The actress knows Hollywood very well.
Las arañas conocen bien mi sótano. Spiders know my basement well.
Él conoce muy poco Las Vegas. He is slightly familiar with Las Vegas.
Conocer + noun: To know, be well versed in an area. Virtually everybody has at least one talent. Whatever your area of expertise, you know that field, and to say so you will use conocer.
Mi mecánico conoce bien los motores alemanes. My mechanic knows German engines well.
El fotógrafo conoce las cámaras japonesas. The photographer knows Japanese cameras.
Juanito conoce los libros del Dr. Seuss. Johnny knows Dr. Suess’s books.
conocer used in context:
No sé por qué, pero creo que te conozco. ¿Conoces a mi primo, Enrique? ¿Sí? Pues, entonces sabes que su esposa sabe hablar ruso-pero ella no leerlo. Ella tiene muchas fiestas maravillosas porque ella conoce todas las personas y porque ella sabe cocinar como una cocinera profesional. Sé que quieres conocerla. Voy a arreglar la presentación.
The two parts of the infinitive are: 1. the ending (-ar, -er, or –ir) and 2. the base (what is left when the ending is removed). Another word for the base is the stem, and with regular verbs, the stem (or base) always remains the same.
The verbs convered in this section have changes that take place in BOTH the stem and the conjugation ending. There are three kings of stem-changing verbs, and we will consider each separately.
1. o changes to ue: The first group of stem-changing verbs involves changing the stem’s o to ue in all forms but nosotros and vosotros. Their endings for conjugation remain regular. Note the examples:
contar – (to count) mover (to move)
cuento contamos muevo movemos
cuentas contáis mueves movéis
cuenta cuentan mueve mueven
dormir – (to sleep)
one of the features of stem-changing verbs is that the change takes place in the first, second, and third person singular, and the third person plural. If you were to draw a line around these changed verbs, you would come up with something resembling a boot. This shape is often referred to as the “boot of irregularity”
several o à ue verbs
almorzar – to eat lunch mostrar – to show
aprobar – to approve mover – to move
colgar – to hang (up) probar – to prove, test, sample, taste
contar – to count recordar – to remember
costar – to cost resolver – to solve
devolver – to return (an object) rogar – to beg, pray
dormir – to sleep sonar – to sound, ring
encontrar – to find soñar (con) – to dream (about)
envolver – to wrap (up) tostar – to toast
morder – to bite volver – to return
morir – to die volar – to fly
2. e changes to ie: The second group of stem-changing verbs involves changing the stem’s e and ie in all forms except nosotros and vosotros.
Cerrar (to close) perder (to lose)
Cierro cerramos pierdo perdemos
Cierras cerráis pierdes perdéis
Cierra cierran pierde pierden
hervir (to boil)
Listed below are severa; e –> ie stem-changing verbs. Note that a few have both an o and an e in the stem. You can be sure that these are e–> ie stem-changing verbs (and not o–>ue) because you will always change the vowel prior to the ending: comenzar; confesar; consentir; convertir.
Acertar – to guess, get right encender – to light, kindle
Advertir- to advise, warn entender – to understand
Cerrar – to close, shut fregar – to scrub, wash dishes
Comenzar-to begin hervir – to boil
Confesar-to confess mentir – to lie, tell a lie
Consentir-to consent negar – to deny
Convertir – to convert pensar (en) – to think about
Defender – to defend perder – to lose
Empezar – to begin preferir – to prefer
Querer – to want, wish sugerir – to suggest
Referir – to refer temblar – to tremble
Sentir – to feel sorry, regret tropezar (con) – to stumble, bump into
3. e changes to i: The third and final group of stem-changing verbs involves changing the e in the stem to an i (except with nos. and vos.). This type is found only in ir verbs.
Seguir (to follow) repetir (to repeat)
Sigo seguimos repito repetimos
Sigues seguís repites repetís
Sigue siguen repite repiten
Below are several e –> i verbs. Of the three stem-changing verb groups, this is the smallest.
Bendecir – to bless gemir – to groan, moan
Colegir – to deduce impedir – to impede, hinder
Competir – to compete maldecir – to curse
Conseguir – to obtain, get medir – to be long, measure
Corregir – to correct pedir – to request, ask for
Decir – to say, tell reír – to laugh
Despedir – to fire repetir – to repeat
Elegir – to elect seguir – to follow, continue
Freír – to fry servir – to serve
stem-changing verbs in context:
Hola. Yo soy Osvaldo. Vendo casas. Es difícil, pero alguien tiene que hacerlo. Las casas cuestan mucho estos días, y por eso usualmente muestro cada cliente más o menos veinte casas. A menudo volvemos a la primera casa y el cliente me dice que él quiera comprar. Tiemblo con rabia (a veces maldigo o gimo) porque pienso en todo el tiempo que pierdo, pero entonces pienso en mí comisión y entiendo por qué vendo casas. No te miento cuando te confieso que quiero vender casas para siempre.
As we know by now, many verbs are irregular in Spanish. However, many of these irregular verbs fall into categories and you can recognize them by their infinitives. In this unit we will break them down.
Verbs ending with –cer preceeded by a vowel: The following verbs all end in –cer. On closer inspection, however, you will notice that the –cer is preceded by a vowel. All such verbs are irregular only in the yo form, where a z precedes the c. All other conjugated forms are regular in the present tense.
Conocer (to know a person) parecer (to seem)
Conozco conocemos parezco parecemos
Conoces conocéis pareces parecéis
Conoce conocen parece parecen
Below is a list of commonly used verbs in this category, along with their respective yo forms.
Agradecer to be thankful yo agradezco
Aparecer to appear yo aparezco
Conocer to know a person yo conozco
Crecer to grow yo crezco
Desparecer to disappear yo desaparezco
Establecer to establish yo establezco
Merecer to deserve, merit yo merezco
Nacer to be born yo nazco
Obedecer to obey yo obedezco
Ofrecer to offer yo ofrezco
Parecer to seem yo parezco
Pertenecer to belong yo pertenezco
Placer to please, gratify yo plazco
Reconocer to recognize yo reconozco
Yacer to lie down yo yazco
Vebs ending with –ucir: verbs that end with –ucir are similar to verbs ending with –cer in that a z is inserted in the yo form. As with the preceding, -cer verbs, all other forms are regular.
Producir – to produce traducir – to translate
Produzco producimos traduzco traducimos
Produces producís traduces traducís
Produce producen traduce traducen
Conducir to conduct, drive yo conduzco
Deducir to deduce yo deduzco
Delucir to tarnish, spoil yo desluzco
Inducir to induce, persuade yo induzco
Introducir to insert, introduce yo introduzco
Lucir to light up, display yo luzco
Producir to produce yo produzco
Reducir to reduce yo reduzco
Traducir to translate yo traduzco
Verbs ending with –cer or –cir preceded by a consonant: When a verb ending with –cer or –cir is preceded by a consonant, the yo form will have the c replaced by z. All other forms are regular.
Ejercer – to exert, exercise zurcir – to mend
Ejerzo ejercemos zurzo zurcimos
Ejerces ejercéis zurces zurcís
Ejerce ejercen zurce zurcen
Convencer to convince, persuade yo convenzo
Ejercer to exert, exercise yo ejerzo
Esparcir to scatter, spread yo esparzo
Vencer to conquer, defeat yo venzo
Zurcir to mend, darn yo zurzo
Verbs ending in –ger or –gir: The g is soft (sounds like h) in the infinitive, and that same sound must be retained in its conjugated form. Since a g before an o in Spanish is hard (as in go), the g in the yo form will change to j in order to keep it soft. All other forms are regular.
Coger (to catch, seize, grab) corregir (e–>i) (to correct)
Cojo cogemos corrijo corregimos
Coges cogéis corriges corregís
Coge cogen corrige corrigen
Verbs in this category:
Coger to catch, seize, grab yo cojo
Colegir (e–>i) to deduce yo colijo
Corregir (e–>i) to correct yo corrijo
Dirigir to direct yo dirijo
Elegir (e–>i) to elect, choose yo elijo
Escoger to select yo escojo
Exigir to demand, require yo exijo
Fingir to pretend yo finjo
Proteger to protect yo protejo
Recoger to pick up, gather yo recojo
Sumergir to submerge, immerse yo sumerjo
Surgir to surge, spurt yo surjo
Verbs ending in –aer: When an infinitive ends in –aer, its yo form will end with –aigo. All other forms will be regular
Caer (to fall) traer (to bring)
Caigo caemos traigo traemos
Caes caéis traes traéis
cae caen trae traen
Verbs in this catgory:
Atraer to attract yo atraigo
Caer to fall yo caigo
Contraer to contract yo contraigo
Raer to scrape, rub off yo raigo
Retraer to bring back yo retraigo
Sustaer to remove, subtract yo sustraigo
Traer to bring yo traigo
Verbs ending in –uir (not preceded by a g): In the previous categories, we saw verbs which, when conjugated, became irregular only in the yo form. The following group of infinitives produces irregular conjugations in all the singular forms, as well as the third person plural. In each of these forms a y is added to the stem.
Huir (to flee, run away) destruir (to destroy)
Huyo huimos destruyo destruimos
Huyes huís destruyes destuís
Huye huyen destruye destruyen
Verbs in this category (along with the yo form)
Concluir to conclude yo concluyo
Constituir to constitute yo constituyo
Construir to construct, build yo construyo
Contribuir to contribute yo contribuyo
Destruir to destroy yo destruyo
Fluir to flow yo fluyo
Huir to flee, run away yo huyo
Incluir to include yo incluyo
Influir to influence yo influyo
Verbs ending in –guir. Earlier in this unit we looked at verbs ending in-ger or –gir that had to retain the soft g. in this section, our job is to retain the hard g thoughout the conjugations. In infinitives ending in –guir, the u is merely a hard sound marker; without it, the g would be soft. Because the infinitive has a hard g sound, so must its conjugations. And because g in front of o is a naturally hard sound, the u is no longer necessary. Thus, in the yo form, the u is dropped, all other forms are regular
Distinguir (to distinguish) seguir (e–>i) (to follow)
Distingo distinguimos sigo seguimos
Distingues distinguís sigues seguís
Distingue distinguen sigue siguen
Verbs in this category:
Conseguir (e–>i) to get, obtain yo consigo
Distinguir to distinguish yo distingo
Erguir (e–>i) to erect, lift up yo irgo*
Extinguir to extinguish yo extingo
Perseguir (e–>i) to pursue, persecute yo persigo
Seguir (e–>i) to follow yo sigo
*in erguir, the stressed e changes to i; irgo; irgues; irgue; erguís; irguen
A verb is reflexive when the subject (the performer of the action) and the object (the receiver of that action) are the same.
For example, the verb in the sentence I see you is not reflexive because I (the subject/actor) and you (the object/receiver) are not the same person. However, if I look in the mirror and see myself, the verb is reflexive because I (the subject) and me (the object) are the same person. Another way of looking at reflexive verbs is to say that the action doesn’t go anywhere
In english, the object of a reflexive verb is usually one of the following: myself, yourself; himself; itself; oneself; themselves. In spanish, reflexive verbs require reflexive object pronouns, which are employed in the same manner as direct and indirect object pronouns:
If there is one verb in the clause, the object pronoun preceeds the verb.
Me veo. I see myself.
If there are two verbs in the clause, the object either precedes the first verb or is attached directly to the second verb. Either is acceptable.
Me quiero ver. Or quiero verme. I want to see myself.
Another important distinction is that in English, our use of the reflexive pronoun is quite restricted and generally involves the full being: I love myself, you know yourself, He hates himself, and so on.
In Spanish, however, this notion of being reflexive is far more expansive. As long as the action is going back to the actor, it is considered a reflexive verb. Thus, “I wash my hair”, “You take a bath” and “We brush our teeth” are all examples of sentences that will require reflexive pronouns in Spanish.
These are the reflexive prounouns:
A few things to note before working with reflexive verbs:
1. Many reflexive verbs are stem-changing (these are noted in the list at the end of this unit), and you will conjugate them just as you learned in the previous units.
2. Many involve the mentioning of a body part or parts (e.g. cepillarse – to brush). Generally speaking, use the definite article rather than the possesive adjective before the body part (because of the reflexive pronoun, it is obvious whose body is being discussed):
Me cepillo el pelo. I brush my hair.
Ella se cepilla los dientes. She brushed her teeth.
Te lavas el pelo. You wash your hair.
3. Nearly all verbs in the language can be either reflexive or non-reflexive: I can scratch myself (reflexive) or I can scratch my cat (non-reflexive). Thus, the list below is far from exhaustive. However, there are certain actions that usually are reflexive due to the nature of the action (bathing, shaving, brushing teeth, etc.) For the most part, these are the verbs you will find below.
4. One unual verb is irse (to go away). This strays from the general description of the reflexive verb in that this is not a case where the subject and object are the same. Instead the reflexive pronoun intensifies the action. One other exception is comerse (to gobble up) which does not mean “to eat oneself” (thank you Ms. Dorothy Richmond)
Some commonly used reflexive verbs:
Acostarse (o–>ue) to go to bed
Afeitarse to shave oneself
Bañarse to bathe oneself
Casarse (con alguien) to get married; to marry (someone)
Cepillarse to brush oneself
Despertarse (e–>ie) to wake up
Desvestirse (e–>i) to undress oneself
Dormirse (o–>ue) to fall asleep
Ducharse to take a shower
Enfermarse to get sick
Enojarse to get angry, mad
Irse to go away
Lavarse to wash oneself
Levantarse to stand up, get up
Llamarse to call oneself
Mirarse to look at oneself
Peinarse to comb one’s hair
Ponerse to become
Ponerse (la ropa) to put on (clothing)
Preocuparse (por) to try on (clothing)
Probarse (o–>ue) to try on (clothing)
Quitarse to take off, remove (clothing)
Secarse to dry oneself
Sentarse (e–>ie) to sit down, seat oneself
Sentirse (e–>ie) to feel (emotionally, physically)
Verse to see oneself
Vestirse (e–>i) to get dressed
Me quito el sombrero. Nos vestimos en la mañana.
I take off my hat. We get dressed in the moning.
Te acuestas a las once. You go to bed at eleven o’clock.
Os llamáis Brigada y Pancho. Your names are Brigada and Pancho.
Romeo se casa con Julieta. Romeo marries Juliet.
Ellas se ponen nerviosas. They become/ get nervous.
Use of reflexive verbs in context:
Cada noche Marta se acuesta a las once y media. Se duerme rápidamente y nunca tiene pesadillas. Cada mañana ella se despierta a las seis y media, pero no se levanta hasta las siete. Ella entra en el baño donde se cepilla los dientes y se mira en el espejo. Algunos días se baña, pero usualmente se ducha porque es más rápido y porque Marta se siente mas limpio. Después de la ducha, Marta se peina y se seca el cabello. Se viste, anda a la cocina donde se sienta, toma el café, y lee el periódico por quince minutos. Entonces se va al trabajo.
Gustar et al.
There are several verbs in Spanish (and in English) that are commonly used only in the third person singular or plural. The most common of these verbs is gustar (to be pleasing to).
While in English one will say, “I like the cat” (“I” being the subject and “the cat” being the object), in Spanish you will say, literally, “The cat pleases me” (“the cat” now being the subject and “I” the object).
The key to the verbs in this section is to remember that they nearly always operate in their third person singular and plural forms. The things being discussed have their effect on people: frogs fascinate me; noise bothers you; Recipes for chili interests him.
To work with these verbs, you will use the following recipe:
Indirect object pronoun + 3rd person singular or plural verb + noun(s)
Me gusta el gato. I like the cat.
No te gusta el libro. You don’t like the book.
Le gusta la casa. He likes the house.
No nos gusta el perro. We don’t like the dog.
Os gusta la luz. You like the light.
Les gusta la revista. They like the magazine.
Me gustan los gatos. I like the cats.
No te gustan los libros. You don’t like the books.
And so on.
When mentiontng the name of a person (or persons), place the name (or pronoun) between the preposition a and the indirect pronoun. This adds clarity and/or emphasis.
A Juan le gusta bailar. John likes to dance.
A los chicos les gusta hablar. The boys like to talk.
A ella le encanta el café. She loves coffee.
A ellos no les falta nada. They don’t need anything.
Bastar to be sufficient/ enough to: to suffice
Disgustar to be repugnant to: to “hate”
Doler (oàue) to be painful to; to hurt
Encantar to be enchanting to; to “love”
Faltar to be lacking to; to be missing to
Fascinar to be fascinating to
Gustar to be pleasing to; to “like”
Importer to be important to
Interesar to be interesting to
Molestar to bother
Parecer to seem; to appear to
Sobrar to be left over to; to be in surplus
PUERTO RICAN SPANISH
This refers to pronouncing as /s/ the sound written ⟨z⟩ or ⟨c⟩ (when soft; that is, followed by an ⟨i⟩ or an ⟨e⟩) like most other Hispanic American accents, whereas in Europe /θ/ is used. Examples: zapato is /saˈpato/, not /θaˈpato/; and azul is /aˈsul/ not /aˈθul/.
Aspiration or elimination of the /s/
This usually occurs before a consonant or at the end of a word, /s/ is debuccalized to [h] or eliminated altogether. Examples include [lah ˈrosah] instead of [las ˈrosas] (las rosas, ‘the roses’) [loh ðoh] instead of [los ðos] (los dos, ‘the two’). This is also common in other Caribbean basin Spanish-speaking countries.
Aspiration of /x/
/x/ (written as ⟨g⟩ (before /e/ or /i/) and ⟨j⟩) is usually pronounced as [h]. Meaning, [lah muˈheɾeh] instead of [las muˈxeɾes] (las mujeres, ‘the women’), and [hoˈse] instead of [xoˈse] (Jose, ‘Joseph’).
Elimination of /d/ between vowels
This usually happens usually near the end of a word. Examples include [ehˈtao] instead of [esˈtaðo] (estado, ‘state’), and [ˈto.o] instead of [ˈtoðo] (‘all’).
Elimination of /d/ at the end of a word
In this case, a stress is usually placed on the final vowel. Examples include [päˈre] instead of [päˈreð] (pared, ‘wall’) and [mäˈðɾi] instead of [mäˈðɾið] (Madrid).
Change of /r/ to [χ]
Many rural Puerto Ricans do not roll their tongues on the double “r” sound in words (ex. “arroz” or “carro”), making it sound like the Scottish loch, arroz and carro are pronounced [aˈχos] and [ˈkaχo] respectively.
Change of /r/ to [l]
The /r/ that comes at the end of a syllable (not followed by a vowel) is often changed to an /l/, so that words like “perdón” (forgiveness) and “Puerto Rico” become “peldón” and“Puelto Jjico” respectively.
Change of /n/ to [ŋ]
Word-final /n/ is pronounced as velar [ŋ] ([ŋ] is an allophone of /n/ before velar consonants and word-final position), words include consideran [kõnsiˈðeɾãŋ] (‘they consider’) andTeherán [teeˈɾãŋ] (‘Tehran‘).
Shortening of words
Puerto Ricans also often shorten words by eliminating whole syllables. A good example are the words para, madre, and padre (“for”, “mother”, and “father”): Puerto Ricans may pronounce para as /pa/, madre as /mai/, and padre as /pai/.