3 cool tips on how to learn the Spanish verbs fast & remember them

blog post 55 3 cool tips on how to learn the Spanish verbs fast & remember them

If your dream is to master the Spanish verbs, you’re going to love the three tips I’m going to share with you here.

By now, you’ve probably spent some time studying the Spanish verbs, and you’re thinking: “There must be an easier way of doing this”. You keep getting the endings wrong, you can never remember the irregular forms, and you’re stuck in the present tense.

You know that, to become fluent in Spanish, you need to know the verbs well, so you keep trying. But most of your effort is wasted. So, what do you do?

How to master the Spanish verbs

I’ve been teaching the Spanish verbs for a long time, and I’m going to show you a way to master them that won’t fail you. This technique can be summed up in two words: finding similarities.

To get the verb endings right, to remember the irregular forms, and to be able to tell the difference between one tense and another, you need to:

  • Find similarities between regular verbs
  • Find similarities between regular and irregular verbs
  • Find similarities between tenses

Let’s see this with some real examples.

Finding similarities between regular Spanish verbs

The easiest way to remember the Spanish verb endings is by finding similarities between the regular ‘ar’, ‘er’ and ‘ir’ verbs. For instance, when you’re learning the present indicative, don’t learn the forms for each set in isolation. Compare the endings for the three sets and find similarities between them.

Let’s use the present tense as an example:

COMPRAR

compro
compras
compra
compramos
compráis
compran

VENDER

vendo
vendes
vende
vendemos
vendéis
venden

VIVIR

vivo
vives
vive
vivimos
vivís
viven

If you compare these three sets, the similarities you find are:

  • The yo forms always end in o.
  • The forms always end in s, and in both the ‘er’ and ‘ir’ verbs they end in es.
  • The él forms always end in a vowel, and that vowel is the same one we find in the forms.
  • The nosotros forms always end in mos. In ‘ar’ and ‘er’ verbs mos is preceded by the same vowel we find in the forms. In ‘ir’ verbs mos is preceded by an i.
  • The vosotros forms end in is in ‘ar’ and ‘er’ verbs, preceded by the same vowel we find in the forms. In ‘ir’ verbs it ends in ís with no other vowel.
  • The ellos forms always end in n preceded by the same vowel we find in the forms.

Finding similarities between regular and irregular Spanish verbs

Even the most irregular Spanish verbs have many similarities with regular verbs. To illustrate this, let’s compare the irregular verb estar with the regular verb comprar in the present tense:

ESTAR

estoy
estás
está
estamos
estáis
están

COMPRAR

compro
compras
compra
compramos
compráis
compran

  • The yo form of estar ends in y, but it also contains the o we find in all regular forms.
  • The form ends in ás instead of as.
  • The él form ends in á instead of a.
  • The nosotros form ends in amos, just like in the regular ‘ar’ verbs.
  • The vosotros form ends in áis, just like in the regular ‘ar’ verbs.
  • The ellos form ends in án instead of an.

Finding similarities between Spanish verb tenses

We’re now going to compare the present indicative with the present subjunctive:

PRESENT INDICATIVE

COMPRAR

compro
compras
compra
compramos
compráis
compran

VENDER

vendo
vendes
vende
vendemos
vendéis
venden

VIVIR

vivo
vives
vive
vivimos
vivís
viven

PRESENT SUBJUNCTIVE

COMPRAR

compre
compres
compre
compremos
compréis
compren

VENDER

venda
vendas
venda
vendamos
vendáis
vendan

VIVIR

viva
vivas
viva
vivamos
viváis
vivan

  • The yo forms always end in a vowel in both tenses. In the indicative, that vowel is always o. In the subjunctive, it’s e for ‘ar’ verbs and a for ‘er’ and ‘ir’ verbs.
  • The forms always end in s in both tenses. In ‘ar’ verbs, the indicative ends in as and the subjunctive in es. In ‘er’ and ‘ir’ verbs, the indicative ends in es and the subjunctive in as. They’re basically “the other way around”.
  • The él forms always end in a vowel in both tenses, and that vowel is the same one we find in the forms.
  • The nosotros forms always end in mos in both tenses. In ‘ar’ and ‘er’ verbs mos is preceded by the same vowel we find in the forms. In ‘ir’ verbs, in the indicative, mos is preceded by an i, and in the subjunctive by the same vowel we find in the form.
  • In the indicative, the vosotros forms end in is in ‘ar’ and ‘er’ verbs, preceded by the same vowel we find in the forms; and in ‘ir’ verbs it ends in ís with no other vowel. In the subjunctive, the vosotros forms always end is preceded by the same vowel we find in the forms.
  • The ellos forms always end in n in both tenses, preceded by the same vowel we find in the forms.
Whenever you learn a new set of verb forms, make sure you find similarities with the ones you already know. It’s the easiest way of mastering the Spanish verbs. – Click to Tweet

There are some Spanish verb courses that can help you a long way, and make it much easier to master the Spanish verbs. One of the most popular ones is an inexpensive book called 501 Spanish Verbs which comes with a cd-rom and an audio cd. If you can spend a bit more, there’s an excellent piece of software called Verbarrator. You can find out more about it on my site Spanish Bookworld.

How are you learning the Spanish verbs? Do you need help? Let me know!

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Comments

  1. Nasser Chahmirzadi says:

    No sé porque pero no pude votar por su podcast. No habia nada para votar en ; http://www.spanish-bites.com.
    Por favor digame como podria hacerlo.
    Gracias.

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