Regular "ar" Verbs
In Spanish, there are three categories of verbs. The category is determined by the last two letters of the infinitive:
-ar verbs (like hablar)
-er verbs (like comer)
-ir verbs (like vivir)
The infinitive is the base form of the verb, such as to speak, to eat, to live, etc. In Spanish, all infinitives end in -ar, -er, or -ir.
hablar (to speak)
comer (to eat)
vivir (to live)
To conjugate a verb means to manipulate the infinitive so that it agrees with the different possible subjects. Here is the present tense conjugation of the infinitive "to speak":
The present tense in Spanish can mean three things. The Spanish phrase "yo hablo" can mean:
I am speaking
I do speak
Many Spanish verbs are completely regular, meaning that they follow a specific pattern of conjugation. In this lesson you will learn to conjugate regular -ar, -er, and -ir verbs (in the present tense). Before you can do that, you must memorize the following subject pronouns.
tú (you - informal)
usted (you - formal)
vosotros/vosotras (you-all - informal)
ustedes (you-all formal)
For a review of the subject pronouns, click here.
Spanish infinitives are divided into two parts: the ending and the stem. The ending is the last two letters. Remember, all infinitives end in -ar, -er, or -ir. The stem is everything that's left after you remove the ending.
habl + ar = hablar
com + er = comer
viv + ir = vivir
In this lesson, we will use the model -ar verbs: hablar. In Spanish, you conjugate verbs by changing the ending. If the subject is I (yo), conjugate by dropping the ending and add -o.
yo hablo (hablar - ar + o = hablo)
I speak, I am speaking, I do speak
If the subject is you - informal (tú), conjugate by dropping the ending and add -as (for -ar verbs).
tú hablas (hablar - ar + as = hablas)
you speak, you are speaking, you do speak
If the subject is he (él), she (ella) or you - formal (usted), conjugate by dropping the ending and add -a (-ar verbs).
él/ella/usted habla (hablar - ar + a = habla)
he speaks, she is speaking, you (formal) do speak
If the subject is we (nosotros/nosotras), conjugate by dropping the ending and add -amos for -ar verbs.
nosotros hablamos (hablar - ar + amos = hablamos)
we speak, we are speaking, we do speak
If the subject is you-all - informal (vosotros/vosotras), conjugate by dropping the ending and add -áis for -ar verbs.
vosotros habláis (hablar - ar + áis = habláis)
you-all speak, you-all are speaking, you-all do speak
If the subject is they (ellos/ellas) or you-all - formal (ustedes), conjugate by dropping the ending and add -an (-ar verbs).
ellos/ellas/ustedes hablan (hablar - ar + an = hablan)
they speak, they are speaking, you-all (formal) do speak
As you can see, to conjugate regular -ar verbs, simply drop the ending (-ar) and add one of the following: