Using verbs in Spanish

An explanation of the uses of the present tense and how to conjugate it

All Spanish verbs end in either -ar, -er or -ir. This form of the verb is called the infinitive. For example:

  • hablar - to talk
  • comer - to eat
  • vivir - to live

The infinitive is the form of the verb you will find in a dictionary.

However, the infinitive doesn't tell us the person of the verb (ie who is doing the action) or the tense of the verb (ie when the action takes place / took place / will take place, etc). To do this you need to conjugate the verb (ie change it into a different form).

To work out how to conjugate a verb correctly, ask yourself:

  • Which type of verb is it (-ar / -er / -ir)?
  • Which tense is it?
  • Which person is it?