Spanish Verbs

For most beginning students of Spanish, one of the hardest things is understanding verbs. That's because verbs in Spanish act differently from verbs in English. There are many Spanish verbs (like ser and estar) that convey distinctions in meanings that don't exist in English! You'll discover tenses (like the subjunctive) that you never knew existed. Strangest of all, you'll discover that verbs in Spanish not only contain information about when the action took place (the tense), but also who performed the action (the subject).

Spanish Verbs Explained
Spanish verbs are tough, but this section will help you master them. Before you dive in, you need to know a little vocabulary first.

  • verb: an action word
  • subject: who performs the action (e.g., I, he, she, you, we)
  • tense: past, present, future, etc.
  • infinitive: the unconjugated form of a verb, such as "to write," "to be," "to want," " to run."
  • conjugation: the process of changing the form of a verb to reflect the desired tense and subject
  • regular verbs: verbs that follow the "rules" of conjugation
  • irregular verbs: verbs that break the "rules" of conjugation
Here's a taste of what you will learn about Spanish verbs. In English, you always have to specify the subject before the verb. For example:

  • I write (present tense)
  • I wrote (past tense)
  • We will write (future tense)
In Spanish, all that information can be contained in a single word. For example, here are the same sentences as the ones above, except in Spanish.

  • Escribo (present tense)
  • Escribiste (preterite past tense)
  • Escribiremos (future tense)
In order to speak Spanish properly, you are going to have to learn how to form those verbs properly, through a process called conjugation.

Nouns (Sustantivos): Referring to one person or thing

The name of a person, place, or thing is a noun. In Spanish, every noun has a gender, either masculine or feminine. Almost all nouns that end in o are masculine. Almost all nouns that end in a are feminine.

Museo (Museum)

Making Nouns Plural

If a noun ends in a vowel, simply add -s

  • manzana (apple): manzanas 
If a noun ends in a consonant, simply add -es
  • ciudad (city): ciudades 
If a noun ends in a -z, change the z to c before adding -es
  • lápiz (pen) lápices

Definite Articles / Artículos definidos

Definite articles are words that specify a particular and identifiable noun. In English we use the word “the” for this purpose. In Spanish, there are four words that can translate as “the”, each based on the gender and plurality of the noun it modifies

                     Masculine      Feminine

Singular       el the             la the
Plural           los the           las the

el muchacho (boy) la muchacha (girl)
el amigo (friend) la amiga (friend)

los muchachos las muchachas
los amigos las amigas

Indefinite Articles / Artículos definidos 

In Spanish a or an is either un or una. You use un with masculine nouns and una with feminine nouns. In Spanish the Indefinite article agrees with the noun in gender (masculine or feminine) and number (singular or plural).

                   Masculine   Feminine

Singular    un a an        una a an
Plural        unos             unas

un muchacho (boy) una muchacha (girl)
un amigo (friend) una amiga

unos muchachos unas muchachas
unos amigos unas amigas

Adjectives / Adjetivos

An adjective is a word that describes a noun. A Spanish adjective agrees in gender and number with the noun it modifies or describes.

un amigo simpático          a nice friend
una amiga simpática        a nice friend
unas casas some houses  unos gatos some cats

Días de la semana / Days of the week:

lunes (Monday)
martes (Tuesday)
miércoles (Wednesday)
jueves (Thursday)
viernes (Friday)
sábado (Saturday)
domingo (Sunday)

Algunas reglas para el uso de los días:

Some rules when using the days of the week:

Son masculinos. They are all masculine.

El lunes, el martes,... el sábado, el domingo.

Se escriben siempre en minúscula (excepto al principio de una frase).
They are never capitalized (except at the beginning of a sentence).

En los países de habla hispana el primer día de la semana es el lunes y el último es el domingo.
In Spanish–speaking countries, the first day of the week is always Monday and the last Sunday.

Para formar el plural:

De lunes a viernes (los acabados en "–s") no cambian.
From lunes to viernes -those finished in "–s"- there is no change.

El lunes – los lunes
El martes – los martes
El miércoles – los miércoles
El jueves – los jueves
El viernes – los viernes
Sábado y domingo añaden una "–s". Sábado and domingo add an "–s".
El sábado – los sábados
El domingo – los domingos

Para hablar de los días utilizamos el verbo "SER".
To speak about the days we use the verb "SER".
Hoy es lunes. Today is Monday.

Los meses del año / Months of the year:

enero / January
febrero / February
marzo / March
abril / April
mayo / May
junio / June
julio / July
agosto / August
septiembre / September
octubre / October
noviembre / November
diciembre / December

All of the names for months are masculine: el enero, el febrero, etc. It usually isn't necessary to use the “el” except when giving specific dates.

Note also that the names of the month are not capitalized in Spanish.