Lecciones de Español

Temas

Lessons for topic Verb tenses

The Spanish "Near Future" Tense

The Spanish near future tense is an alternative to the traditional future tense in Spanish. If you haven't yet learned to conjugate the future tense in Spanish or find it difficult, we recommend using the near future tense in Spanish, which is expressed with a simple formula that we'll teach you today.

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Present Indicative Conjugation of Ir

Since the near future tense in Spanish is most commonly (but not always!) seen in the present indicative tense, it will behoove you to make sure you know the present indicative conjugation of the verb ir. Let's take a look:

 

Subject Pronoun Present Conjugation of Ir
yo voy
vas
él, ella, usted va
nosotros/as vamos
vosotros/as vais
ellos/as, ustedes van

 

Formula for the Spanish Near Future Tense

Now that we've recalled the present indicative conjugation of ir, let's take a look at the formula for the Spanish near future tense, which is ir + a + infinitive. As ir means "to go," and a can mean "to," you can think of the Spanish near future tense as "to be going to" do something. Let's see some examples:

 

¡Abuelo, no vas a creer lo que te voy a contar

Grandpa, you aren't going to believe what I'm going to tell you!

Caption 9, Guillermina y Candelario El Mejor Columpio

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y ellos nos van a dar un poco de información. 

and they are going to give us a bit of information.

Caption 4, El Aula Azul Los profesores de la escuela - Part 2

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Entonces, hoy vamos a hablar de la familia. 

So, today we are going to talk about family.

Caption 1, Curso de español Vamos a hablar de la familia

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Sidenote:

The first person plural form vamos a + infinitive can also be an alternative for the nosotros/as command form, which is the equivalent of "Let's" [do something] in English. We see this in the popular expression Vamos a ver (Let's see):

 

Así que, vamos a ver de qué se trata.

So, let's see what it is.

Caption 6, Ana Carolina Receta para una picada

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That said, although there may be some cases in which it is difficult to determine whether a Spanish sentence with vamos a + infinitive is intended to mean "we're going to" or "let's," in most cases, context should make this clear.  

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When to Use the Spanish Near Future Tense

Technically, the Spanish near future tense is intended for events that are imminent rather than in the distant future, and for that reason, it is quite often accompanied by words like ahora (now) or hoy (today), as in the following examples:

 

y hoy les voy a dar siete consejos prácticos para mejorar su pronunciación en español.

and today I'm going to give you seven practical tips to improve your pronunciation in Spanish.

Captions 4-5, Ana Carolina Mejorando la pronunciación

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Muy bien. Pues ahora, vais a practicar más.

Very good. Well, now you're going to practice more.

Caption 39, Clase Aula Azul La segunda condicional - Part 7

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Having said that, the near future tense is extremely common to hear in spoken Spanish (probably more so than the traditional future tense) and will often be heard describing events with a vaguer or more distant timeline:

 

Y algún día voy a ser la voz líder de mi banda, los Equis seis.

And someday, I'm going to be the lead singer of my band, the X6 [Ex Six].

Caption 11, X6 1 - La banda - Part 1

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For this reason, as the traditional future and near future tenses are virtually equivalent in terms of meaning, you should feel free to use this near future tense "hack" in virtually any situation in which you wish to describe an action in the future. 

 

Expressing the Near Future in the Past

So, what if, rather than saying you "are going to" do something, you wish to say that, at a certain moment in the past, you "were going to" perform an action? You would do so by using the near future tense, but conjugating the infinitive ir in the Spanish imperfect tense. Let's take a look at it:

 

Subject Pronoun Imperfect Conjugation of Ir
yo iba
ibas
él, ella, usted iba
nosotros/as íbamos
vosotros/as ibais
ellos/as, ustedes iban

 

Now, let's see some examples:

 

Llegué al examen muy contenta porque sabía que iba a aprobar.

I got to the exam very happy because I knew I was going to pass.

Captions 64-65, Los casos de Yabla El examen - Part 1

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Te dije que íbamos a hacer ejercicio.

I told you we were going to exercise.

Caption 67, Cleer y Lida Los números

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Sidenotes: 

1. Be aware that this same construction could be used to indicate something one "used to go do" in the past, for example, "En el verano, yo iba a nadar a la piscina" ("In summer, I'd go to swim at the pool"). Context will usually tell you which meaning is intended.

 

2. For the past version of the near future tense, remember to use the imperfect, or ongoing past tense, rather than the Spanish preterite tense, which would indicate that something already happened (E.g. Yo fui a nadar a la piscina = I went to swim at the pool). 

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Quiz on the Near Future Tense

Let's conclude today's lesson with a little quiz. Taking a few examples of the traditional future tense from our library, see if you can convert them to the present indicative form of the near future tense. Try to do them yourself prior to looking at the answers.

 

Future Tense:

No, abuelito. ¡Hoy haré el salto más alto del mundo! 

No, Grandpa. Today I'll do the world's highest jump!

Caption 12, Guillermina y Candelario Una Amiga muy Presumida - Part 1

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Near Future Tense: 

No, abuelito. ¡Hoy voy a hacer el salto más alto del mundo!

No, Grandpa. Today I'm going to do the world's highest jump!)

 

Future Tense: 

Sin embargo de esto hablaremos en la próxima lección. 

However, we will talk about this in the next lesson.

Caption 51, Carlos explica Diminutivos y Aumentativos Cap 1: Los sufijos

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Near Future Tense: 

Sin embargo de esto vamos a hablar en la próxima lección

However, we're going to talk about this in the next lesson.

 

Future Tense:

Verán que mañana el estadio estará lleno.

You guys will see that tomorrow the stadium will be full.

Caption 45, Carlos explica Tuteo, ustedeo y voseo: Ustedes y vosotros

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Near Future Tense: 

Van a ver que mañana el estadio va a estar lleno.

You guys are going to see that tomorrow the stadium is going to be full.

 

That's all for today. We hope that this lesson has helped you to feel more confident using the Spanish near future tense, which can come in quite handy when talking about your plans... and don't forget to write us with your suggestions and comments.

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The Passive Voice in Spanish

Let's talk about the passive voice in Spanish!

 

What is "Voice"?

Let's start by understanding the concept of voz (voice) in a sentence- in English or Spanish. This refers to the relationship between a sentence's subject and verb. A sentence's voice can be active or passive. But what's the difference?

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The Active Voice

In the active voice, the subject performs a verb's action onto an object and is thus considered the sentence's actor or agent (the person or thing that carries out the action). Let's see some examples:

 

Pedro come galletas. 

"Pedro come galletas" [Pedro eats cookies].

Caption 21, Carlos explica La concordancia gramatical - Part 2

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In this caption, Pedro is the subject/agent who executes the action of "eating" the object (the cookies).

 

eh... pintábamos muchísimos fondos oscuros

um... we painted a ton of dark backgrounds

Caption 99, María Marí Su pasión por su arte - Part 1

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In this example, "we" is the subject/agent who carried out the action of "painting" the object, "a ton of dark backgrounds."

 

Gabriel García Márquez escribió muchos libros.

Gabriel García Márquez wrote a lot of books.

Caption 50, Carlos explica El pretérito Cap. 1: Perfecto simple o Indefinido

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And finally, here, Gabriel García Márquez is the subject, and agent, who performed the action of "writing" the object (a lot of books).  

 

The Passive Voice

In the passive voice, on the other hand, what was previously the object in the active voice actually becomes the subject, but, this time, receives the action of the verb. At the same time, the previous subject becomes a "passive agent" who may or may not be mentioned at the end of the sentence. That said, before finding out how to convey sentences in the passive voice in Spanish, let's convert our previous English examples of the active voice to the passive voice:

 

Active: Pedro eats cookies

Passive: Cookies are eaten by Pedro

 

um... we painted a ton of dark backgrounds

um... a ton of dark backgrounds were painted by us

 

Active: Gabriel García Márquez wrote a lot of books.

Passive: A lot of books were written by Gabriel García Márquez.

 

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Two Formulas

Now that we have a better concept of the passive voice, how do we express it in Spanish? Let's learn two different formulas for doing so. 

 

1. Ser + past participle + (por + agent)

In this first formula, the verb ser (to be) is conjugated in accordance with the subject of the sentence and followed by a past participle (you may wish to consult this lesson that covers conjugating the past participle). In this construction, the participle (the equivalent of English words like "spoken," "eaten," "gone," etc.) must agree with the subject in terms of number and gender. Subsequently, por plus an agent may be optionally added to explain who or what completed the action. Let's take a look at some examples of this formula in Spanish:

 

y es escrito por mí personalmente.

and is personally written by me.

Caption 46, Los Tiempos de Pablo Escobar Capítulo 1 - Part 7

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Since the speaker is referring to a singular, masculine object (un libro/a book), the verb ser is conjugated in its third person singular form, and the participle, escrito, is masculine and singular. Let's see another example:
 

En el Siglo dieciocho, las costas de San José en Almería eran asaltadas frecuentemente por piratas 

In the eighteenth century, the coasts of San José in Almería were assaulted frequently by pirates

Captions 32-33, Club de las ideas Batería de breves - Part 1

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Here, what "were assaulted" were the plural, feminine "las costas," so the plural conjugation of ser is followed by the feminine/plural participle asaltadas. Let's see one more:
 

Las tarjetas fueron usadas

The cards were used

Caption 32, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 3 - Part 12

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Note that in accordance with las tarjetas, the third person plural of serfueron, is used along with the feminine plural participle usadas. However, in contrast to the other two examples where por is used to identify the person or people who carried out the action, here, the agent is unknown and thus unmentioned. Let's move on to our second formula.

 

2. Se + verb in third person

This construction is formed with se and a verb in third person singular or plural, depending upon whether what is being spoken about (the subject) is singular or plural. Let's see a few examples:

 

Este vino se hace con una de las uvas más populares 

This wine is made with one of the most popular grapes

Caption 21, Amaya Cata de vinos

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las corridas se celebraban en la Plaza Mayor.

bullfights were held in the Plaza Mayor.

Caption 5, El Trip Madrid

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"Garr", no entiendo para qué se hicieron esos uniformes.

Garr, I don't understand why those uniforms were made.

Caption 53, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 2

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In the first caption, the verb hacer is conjugated in the third person singular to agree with el vino, while celebrar and hacer in the second and third examples are plural in agreement with las corridas and los uniformes. Notice that there is no mention of the entity who performed the action in any of these sentences since this second formula rarely mentions the action's agent. 

 

When Is the Passive Voice Used?

The passive voice is more commonly encountered in the media or literature or when the agent that carried out the action is unknown or considered less relevant. It can only be used with transitive verbs, or verbs that are capable of transmitting some action onto a direct object. In terms of tenses, you may have noticed that our examples have included the presentimperfect, and preterite. While the passive voice formulas contain particular grammatical specifications, there is no mention of any of the specific Spanish verb tenses because active Spanish sentences in any verb tense can be converted to the passive voice. With this in mind, let's conclude this lesson with a present perfect tense example of the verb descubrir (to discover) in the active as well as both formats of the passive voice:

 

Active:

 

Científicos han descubierto que cuando un abrazo dura más de veinte segundos se produce un efecto terapéutico

Scientists have discovered that when a hug lasts more than twenty seconds, a therapeutic effect is produced

Captions 5-7, Aprendiendo con Silvia El abrazo

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Passive 1:

 

Ya que ellos, pues, han sido descubiertos en Inglaterra

Since they, well, have been discovered in England

Caption 40, Hugo Rodríguez Duendes artesanales

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Passive 2:

 

porque se han descubierto muchas virtudes

because many virtues have been discovered

Caption 9, Cómetelo Crema de brócoli - Part 1

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That's all for today. For more information on the passive voice in Spanish, check out this four-part video series on La voz pasiva as well as this lesson on the passive vs. impersonal se constructions. And don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.

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The Pluperfect Tense in Spanish

Like in English, the Spanish pluperfect tense describes something that happened before something else, for example, something that "had" already happened at a certain point in time or before another past action. Let's find out how to conjugate the Spanish pluperfect tense and hear several examples in action.

 

Conjugating the Spanish Pluperfect

The Spanish pluperfect tense, which is sometimes referred to as the past perfect tense, is pretty easy to conjugate! It is very similar to the Spanish present perfect tense (the verb haber in the present tense + the participle) except that haber will be conjugated in the Spanish imperfect tense. So, the formula for the pluperfect tense in Spanish would be:

 

haber in the imperfect tense + the participle

 

Let's first take a look at the imperfect conjugation of haber:

 

Personal Pronoun: Conjugation of Haber:
yo había
habías
él/ella/usted había
nosotros/as habíamos
vosotros/as habíais
ellos/ellas/ustedes habían

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Now we need a Spanish participle. These correspond to English participles (which often but not always end in -ed or -en). Examples include regular -ar verbs like hablado (talked/spoken) and mirado (looked), regular -er verbs like comido (eaten) and aprendido (learned), regular -ir verbs like recibido (received) and dormido (slept), and irregular verbs like abierto (opened), visto (seen), and dicho (said). For a list of more irregular Spanish participles as well as a detailed explanation of how to conjugate participles in Spanish, we invite you to consult this lesson on the present perfect tense in Spanish

 

Meaning of the Spanish Pluperfect

Whereas the verb haber in the present tense can be translated as "have" in the context of the present perfect in examples like Yo he comido (I have eaten), Tú has comenzado (You have begun), or Nosotros/as hemos hablado (We have talked/spoken), the translation for the imperfect conjugation of haber within the pluperfect tense is "had." That said, let's look at those same verbs conjugated in the pluperfect, noting their translations:

 

Yo había comido: I had eaten

Tú habías comenzado: You had begun

Nosotros/as habíamos hablado: We had talked/spoken

 

Examples of the Spanish Pluperfect

Now that we know how to conjugate the Spanish pluperfect and how to translate it, let's view a few examples. You will note from the translations that the Spanish pluperfect is used in very similar situations as the pluperfect in English. 

 

Cuando Cenicienta quiso dar las gracias, el hada ya había desaparecido.

When Cinderella tried to say thank you, the fairy had already disappeared.

Caption 1, Cuentos de hadas Cenicienta - Part 2

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Here, the pluperfect is used to indicate that the fairy "had disappeared" prior to the moment that Cinderella "tried" to say goodbye (as described by the preterite verb quiso).  Let's see another one:

 

Pero es que nunca había visto una anguila.

But the thing is that I had never seen an eel.

Caption 3, Guillermina y Candelario Un pez mágico - Part 2

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In this example, rather than expressing that "he'd" never "seen" an eel before some other past action, the speaker employs the pluperfect to explain that, at the moment in the past that he is describing, he "hadn't seen" an eel ever in his life. Let's look at one more: 

 

decidieron regresar al lugar de donde habían venido.

they decided to return to the place where they had come from.

Caption 44, Aprendiendo con Carlos América precolombina - El mito de Bachué

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In this final example, the preterite verb decidieron lets us know that in that moment in the past, "they decided" to go back to the location where they "had come from" (at some other moment in time prior to deciding to go back, of course!). 

 

That's all for today. We hope that this lesson has helped you to understand how the Spanish pluperfect tense is conjugated and used... and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

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The Spanish "Second Conditional": A Simple Hypothetical Formula

What would you do if you won the lottery? Spanish uses a type of conditional sentence known as the segunda condicional (second conditional) to describe these types of scenarios, which is formed with a simple formula that we will cover today. 

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The Second Conditional in Spanish

There are many different types of Spanish conditionals, or conditional sentences. These are sentences that describe the result "if" a certain condition were in place. They are formed with a conditional si, or "if" clause, plus a main clause, and are classified according to the likelihood of the hypothetical situation. The second conditional typically focuses on scenarios that are unlikely or hypothetical, but can also be used to make an utterance extra polite

 

The Spanish Second Conditional Formula

Let's take a look at the formula for the second conditional in Spanish:

 

Si + imperfect subjunctive verb + conditional verb 

 

If you need to learn or review these tenses or how to conjugate them, we recommend these lessons on the Spanish imperfect subjunctive tense, which describes the unlikely or hypothetical action, and the Spanish conditional tense which conveys the action(s) that "would" happen if some other condition "were" in place.

 

Examples of the Spanish Second Conditional 

Let's take a look at several examples of the Spanish second conditional and some situations in which it could be employed. We'll start with some sentences that describe very unlikely situations:

 

Si me tocara la lotería, viajaría por todo el mundo, y me alojaría en los hoteles más lujosos. 

If I won the lottery, I'd travel around the whole world, and I'd stay at the most luxurious hotels.

Captions 26-27, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: La segunda condicional

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Si tuvieras que morir, no podrías dejarme aquí

If you had to die, you couldn't leave me here

Caption 8, La Gusana Ciega No Me Tientes

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Si pudiera bajarte una estrella del cielo Lo haría sin pensarlo dos veces

If I could lower you down a star from the sky I'd do it without thinking twice 

Captions 5-6, Enrique Iglesias Cuando me enamoro

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Now, let's take a look at some situations that are hypothetical but less outlandish, including the equivalent for the common English expression, "if I were you":
 

Y si tuvieras hijos, ¿te gustaría que practicaran el surf también?

And if you had kids, would you like them to surf as well?

Captions 63-64, El Aula Azul Un día de surf

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Si tuviera que definirla en una sola palabra, sería amor.

If I had to define her in just one word, it would be love.

Caption 22, Fermín y los gatos Mi gata Poeska

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Bueno, si yo fuera tú, hablaría con él. 

Well, if I were you, I would speak with him.

Caption 24, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: Subjuntivo y condicional

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And finally, let's see an example where the second conditional is used in a likely scenario for the sake of politeness:

 

Pues, si pudiera venir a la oficina mañana a las nueve, la ubicaríamos en su puesto enseguida. 

Well, if you could come to the office tomorrow at nine, we would get you acquainted with your position right away.

Captions 28-29, Negocios Empezar en un nuevo trabajo - Part 1

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Note that while the first conditional si puede venir a la oficina mañana a las nueve, la ubicaremos en su puesto enseguida (if you can come to the office tomorrow at nine, we will get you acquainted with your position right away) could also have been used in this situation, the second conditional in Spanish is sometimes chosen to infuse a sentence with extra formality. 

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Reversing the Formula

In some cases, the order of the imperfect subjunctive and the conditional verbs can be flipped. Let's take a look at a couple of examples:

 

Pero, por eso, estamos imaginando qué pasaría si nos tocara la lotería,

But that's why we're imagining what would happen if we won the lottery,

Captions 34-35, Clase Aula Azul La segunda condicional - Part 2

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¿Qué harías si te encontraras un sobre con cincuenta mil euros?

What would you do if you found an envelope with fifty thousand euros?

Caption 19, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: La segunda condicional

 Play Caption

 

That's all for today. We hope that this lesson has helped you to understand a very common formula for talking about hypothetical situations in Spanish. For further information on this topic, we recommend this entertaining video entitled La Doctora Consejos: La segunda condicional (Doctor Advice: The Second Conditional) by El Aula Azul, or this more in-depth lesson called La Segunda Condicional by Clase El Aula Azul. And as always... don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

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The Imperfect Subjunctive in Spanish

What is the imperfect subjunctive tense in Spanish? It is basically the past version of the Spanish present subjunctive! That said, let's begin this lesson with a bit of background on the subjunctive, which is one of the three Spanish moods.

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The Spanish Subjunctive Mood

Most simply put, Spanish uses different verb tenses to distinguish between objective states and actions and subjective, uncertain, or emotional ones, for example, things we merely "hope" will happen. So, while there's no difference in verb form between "you come" and "I hope you come" in English, in the equivalent statement in Spanish, (usted) viene (you come) changes to the present subjunctive venga as we see here: 

 

Espero que venga a ver nuestros productos,

I hope you come see our products,

Caption 70, Otavalo Artesanos

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To get a tad more technical, as we see in the example above, in Spanish sentences with a subjunctive verb, we often (but not always) see the following structure:

 

1. An independent clause with a verb in the indicative that "triggers" the use of the subjunctive (we'll learn more about these later!)

2. A conjunction, or connecting word, like que

3. A dependent clause with a subjunctive verb

 

And while a "triggering" present tense verb provokes the present subjunctive, a "triggering" verb in some form of the past tense (e.g. preterite, imperfect, or past perfect) will be followed by a verb in the Spanish imperfect subjunctive, as we see here:

 

La verdad esperaba que usted viniera con su apoderada.

Truthfully I was hoping that you'd come with your client.

Caption 70, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 1 - Part 10

 Play Caption

 

How to Conjugate the Imperfect Subjunctive in Spanish

Now that you know a little bit about the Spanish imperfect subjunctive, let's learn how to conjugate it. If you know how to conjugate the third person plural of the preterite in Spanish, conjugating the imperfect subjunctive is relatively easy. You simply remove the -ron ending to get the imperfect subjunctive stem, then add one of two sets of endings (there are two distinct forms of the imperfect subjunctive in Spanish that are used interchangeably). Let's first take a look at these two ending sets:

 

Subject Pronoun: Ending 1: Ending 2: 
yo: -ra -se
tú: -ras -ses
él/ella/usted: -ra -se
nosotros/as: -ramos -semos
vosotros/as: -rais -seis
ellos/ellas/ustedes: -ran -sen

 

Now, let's remove the -ron endings to come up with the imperfect stems for several common Spanish verbs: 

 

Verb 3rd Person Plural Preterite Stem
hablar hablaron habla-
comer comieron comie-
subir subieron subie-
estar estuvieron estuvie-
ser fueron fue-

 

Now that we have the stems, let's add the endings to come up with the two versions of the Spanish imperfect subjunctive for all of these verbs, noting the addition of the accent in the nosotros/as (we) forms to maintain pronunciation. Although the first ending set is more commonly heard, while the second is the more "classic" form, there is no difference in meaning whatsoever.

 

Ending Set 1:

 

Pronoun/Verb: hablar comer subir estar ser
yo: hablara comiera subiera estuviera fuera
tú: hablaras comieras subieras estuvieras fueras
él/ella/usted: hablara comiera subiera estuviera fuera
nosotros/as: habláramos comiéramos subiéramos estuviéramos fuéramos
vosotros/as: hablarais comierais subierais estuvierais fuerais
ellos/ellas/ustedes: hablaran comieran subieran estuverian fueran

 

Ending Set 2:

 

Pronoun/Verb: hablar comer subir estar ser
yo: hablase comiese subiese estuviese fuese
tú: hablases comieses subieses estuvieses fueses
él/ella/usted: hablase comiese subiese estuviese fuese
nosotros/as: hablásemos comiésemos subiésemos estuviésemos fuésemos
vosotros/as: hablaseis comieseis subieseis estuvieseis fueseis
ellos/ellas/ustedes: hablasen comiesen subiesen estuviesen fuesen

 

And the good news is... there are no irregular verbs in the Spanish imperfect subjunctive!

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When to Use the Spanish Imperfect Subjunctive

So, what are some examples of Spanish verbs that trigger the subjunctive? The acronym W.E.I.R.D.O., which stands for Wishes, Emotions, Impersonal Expressions, Recommendations, Doubt/Denial, and Ojalá, can help you to remember many of them. Keep in mind that because today's lesson focuses on the imperfect subjunctive, all of said verbs will appear in one of the Spanish past tenses.

 

As you read the English translations, you might notice that while all of the Spanish sentences meet our aforementioned criteria for using the imperfect subjunctive, there is no "one size fits all" formula for translating this verb tense because it is used in a variety of different circumstances that call for varying verb tenses in English.  

 

1. Wishes

Verbs that describe our wishes, hopes, or desires call for the Spanish subjunctive and include desear (to want/wish/desire), esperar (to hope), exigir (to demand/require), insistir (to insist), mandar (to order), necesitar (to need), ordenar (to order), pedir (to ask), preferir (to prefer), and querer (to want). Let's take a look at two examples where said verbs in the Spanish imperfect tense prompt the use of the Spanish imperfect subjunctive:

 

que lo único que esperaba era que su madre pudiera acompañarlo a una presentación del colegio.

as the only thing he was hoping for was for his mother to be able to go with him to a school performance.

Captions 2-3, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 2 - Part 11

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Pero dijo que quería que fueran amigos.

But she said she wanted you guys to be friends.

Caption 55, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 11 - Part 4

 Play Caption

 

In these two examples, the English infinitives "to be" and "to be able" were used to translate the Spanish imperfect subjunctive because in English, we often say that we what we hoped was for something "to happen." However, in the first example "the only thing he was hoping for was that his mother could accompany him to a school performance" could be another viable/equivalent translation.

 

2.  Emotions

Emotional verbs like alegrarse (to be happy/glad), enojarse (to be/get angry), encantar (to delight), lamentar (to regret/be sorry), molestar (to bother), sentir (to be sorry), and sorprender (to surprise) also provoke the subjunctive. Let's see two examples of the imperfect subjunctive sparked by the imperfect and preterite tenses:

 

¿Y por eso te preocupaba tanto que él viniera a verme, que me contara algo?

And that's why it worried you so much that he'd come to see me, that he'd tell me something?

Caption 54, Yago 12 Fianza - Part 2

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No, me encantó que me llamaras, escucháme, eh...

No, I loved it that you called me; listen to me, um...

Caption 63, Muñeca Brava 2 Venganza - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

The first example describes one's past worry about what might happen (whether or not it did), and since in English, we often say we were worried about what "would happen," it was translated in this fashion. The second example, on the other hand, describes an action that actually took place: "you called". And yet, despite the necessary differences in the English translations, we see that in both cases, the use of an "emotional" verb in the first clause triggered the use of the Spanish imperfect subjunctive in the second. 

 

3. Impersonal Expressions

Impersonal expressions are constructions that don't involve any particular person and typically begin with the third person singular of some form of ser (to be) plus almost any adjective. Examples include bueno (good), curioso (interesting), dudoso (doubtful), extraño (strange), importante (important), necesario (necessary), probable (probable), raro (strange), urgente (urgent), and many more (the exception being adjectives that indicate certainty, such as cierto (certain) or seguro (sure). Let's see some examples of impersonal expressions in the imperfect tense that call for an imperfect subjunctive verb in the second clause:

 

Es que era muy raro que no abrieran la puerta.

It's just that it was very strange that they weren't opening the door.

Caption 20, Tu Voz Estéreo Embalsamado - Part 10

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Y para mí era bien importante que el grupo tuviera letras...

And it was really important to me that the band had lyrics...

Caption 61, La Gusana Ciega Entrevista - Part 1

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Again, the first caption describes an action that was actually happening (they weren't opening the door), while the second describes someone's past preference (which may or may not have come to fruition). Regardless, an impersonal expression in the imperfect tense triggered the use of the imperfect subjunctive. Note that an alternative translation for the second example might be: "And it was really important to me for the band to have lyrics."

 

4. Recommendations

Verbs that either recommend or don't recommend other actions, such as aconsejar (to advise), decir (to tell), dejar (to allow), exigir (to demand), hacer (to make/force), insistir (to insist), mandar (to order), ordenar (to order), prohibir (to forbid), proponer (to suggest), recomendar (to recommend), rogar (to beg), sugerir (to suggest), and suplicar (to beg) call for the subjunctive mood. Let's look at some examples in the preterite:

 

Le propuse que hiciéramos un pequeño taller de artesanía,

I suggested to him that we open a small craft studio,

Caption 40, Playa Adícora Francisco - Part 2

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Yo sé que les dijimos que no vinieran por acá pero

I know we told them not to come here, but

Caption 65, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 2 - Part 11

 Play Caption

 

Although we might find out later whether or not someone's advice was actually taken, in the moment it was given, the aforementioned "advising" verbs always trigger the Spanish imperfect subjunctive. 

 

5. Doubt/Denial

When conjugated in some form of the past, doubt verbs like dudar (to doubt), no creer (to not believe) or no poder creer (to not be able to believe), no parecer (to not seem), no pensar (to not think), and no suponer (to not suppose) call for the imperfect subjunctive:

 

Bueno, por un instante llegué a dudar de que estuvieras.

Well, for a moment, I even began to doubt that you would be [here].

Caption 41, Yago 4 El secreto - Part 11

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Yo no podía creer que me pasara que una chica así se me acercara

I couldn't believe this was happening to me that such a girl would approach me

Captions 7-8, Enanitos Verdes Cuánto Poder

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In these examples, past "doubt" causes the Spanish imperfect subjunctive, regardless of whether the situations were actually unfolding. The second example is interesting because it has been translated with both the past progressive "was happening" and the conditional "would approach" in English to represent that the speaker still can't believe such a situation "would happen" to him, even as it was. 

 

6. Ojalá

Although ojalá and ojalá que aren't technically verbs but rather conjunctions, they are roughly equivalent to such English expressions as "I hope," "let's hope," or "God willing" and require the subjunctive. When used with the imperfect subjunctive, these expressions are often to describe hypothetical situations that one wishes "were" true (interestingly, the change from "was" to "were" to represent a hypothetical situation is the only time we see a verb change in the subjunctive mood in English). Let's look at some examples:

 

No es crucial. Ojalá todos los problemas fueran estos.

It's not crucial. If only all problems were [like] these.

Caption 19, Cómetelo Crema de brócoli - Part 9

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Y ojalá todo el mundo estuviera lo suficientemente entusiasmado.

And I wish everyone were excited enough.

Caption 8, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 1

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We hope that these examples have helped you to understand how to conjugate the Spanish imperfect subjunctive tense, some scenarios in which to use it, and some of the many ways in which it might be translated to English. In future lessons, we hope to focus on some additional, common uses of this tense, but in the meantime... don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

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How to Conjugate Verbs in the Present Subjunctive in Spanish

The present subjunctive in Spanish is one of the many verb tenses in the Spanish subjunctive mood. The subjunctive mood is one of three moods in Spanish (the indicative, the imperative, and the subjunctive) that indicates the presence of doubt, emotion, or subjectivity, in contrast to the indicative, which states facts. The focus of today's lesson will be the conjugation of the Spanish present subjunctive tense. 

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An Example of the Present Subjunctive in Spanish: 

Before going on to conjugation, let's see an example of the present subjunctive in Spanish, which typically appears after the present indicative in dependent clauses connected by a coordinating conjunction such as que (that). As a simple example, if you say, "I hope [that] you practice at home" with ustedes (plural you) in Spanish, the correct manner of doing so would be: 

 

espero que practiquen en su casa

I hope you guys practice at home

Caption 60, Lecciones de guitarra Con Cristhian - Part 3

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Rather than espero que practican en su casa because the verb tense changes from the indicative (practican) to the subjunctive (practiquen) due to the "hope" regarding whether the action will take place. In another lesson, we will explore the many scenarios in which the Spanish subjunctive mood comes into play. 

 

Conjugating Verbs in the Present Subjunctive in Spanish

The first step in conjugating most verbs in the present subjunctive is to recall the present indicative yo (I) form of the verb. We then remove the -o in order to get the stem and add the corresponding endings for -ar and -er/-ir verbs, which we can think of as the "opposite" of the endings for each verb class in the present indicative. 

 

Let's use the aforementioned formula to get the stems for three of the most common regular verbs:

 

Verb Yo Form Stem
hablar (to speak) hablo habl-
comer (to eat) como com-
subir (to go up) subo sub-

 

 

 

 

Now, let's look at the present subjunctive endings for -ar vs. -er/-ir verbs: 

 

Personal Pronoun: -ar Verbs: -er/-ir Verbs:
yo -e -a
-es -as
él/ella/usted -e -a
nosotros/as -emos -amos
vosotros/as -éis -áis
ellos/ellas/ustedes -en -an

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Armed with this information, we can easily conjugate these verbs in the present subjunctive in Spanish. You will note that in the present subjunctive, the yo form and the él/ella/usted form are exactly the same.

 

Personal Pronoun: hablar: comer: subir:
yo hable coma suba
hables comas subas
él/ella/usted hable coma suba
nosotros/as hablemos comamos subamos
vosotros/as habléis comåis subáis
ellos/ellas/ustedes hablen coman suban

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, let's see these Spanish present subjunctive verbs in action:

 

Porque quiero que hablemos de negocios.

Because I want us to talk about business.

Caption 3, Muñeca Brava 8 Trampas - Part 6

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¿'tas listo? -¿Qué querés que yo coma lo mismo?

You ready? -What, do you want me to eat the same thing?

Caption 43, Factor Fobia Cucarachas - Part 1

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Dígale que no suba.

Tell him not to come up.

Caption 43, Muñeca Brava 33 El partido - Part 6

 Play Caption

 

Verbs with Spelling Changes in the Indicative Yo Form 

Note that the in the vast majority of cases, even verbs with spelling changes in the yo form will follow this very same formula for obtaining their stems/conjugations. Let's see several examples:

 

Verb Yo Form  Stem
caber quepo quep-
coger cojo coj-
conocer conozco conozc-
decir digo dig-
hacer hago hag-
poner pongo pong-
salir salgo salg-
tener tengo teng-
traer traigo traig-
ver veo ve-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Present Subjunctive Conjugations:

caber (to fit): quepa, quepas, quepa, quepamos, quepáis, quepan

coger (to take): coja, cojas, coja, cojamos, cojáis, cojan

conocer (to know): conozca, conozcas, conozca, conozcamos, conozcáis, conozcan

decir (to say): diga, digas, diga, digamos, digáis, digan

hacer (to make/do): haga, hagas, haga, hagamos, hagáis, hagan

poner (to put): ponga, pongas, ponga, pongamos, pongáis, pongan

salir (to go out): salga, salgas, salga, salgamos, salgáis, salgan

tener (to have): tenga, tengas, tenga, tengamos, tengáis, tengan

traer (to bring): traiga, traigas, traiga, traigamos, traigáis, traigan

ver (to see): vea, veas, vea, veamos, veáis, vean

 

We will now hear a couple of these in context:

 

Lo mejor es que tengan sala de estudio

The best thing is for them to have a study room

Caption 45, Club de las ideas La biblioteca

 Play Caption

 

Bueno, te invito ahora a que conozcas el teatro.

Well, now I invite you to see the theater.

Caption 24, El teatro. Conversación con un doble de acción.

 Play Caption

 

Stem-Changing Verbs in the Spanish Present Subjunctive

Let's examine several categories of stem-changing verbs that behave slightly differently in the present subjunctive in Spanish:

 

1. -E to -ie in -ar and -er Verbs

An example of this category is querer (to want), for which the yo form is quiero. While the stem for this verb is indeed quier- as usual, the stem change does not take place in the nosotros/as and vosotros/as forms, which use the stem of the infinitive (removing the -ar or -er) as follows: 

 

quiera, quieras, quiera, queramos, queráis, quieran.

 

Additional verbs that fall into this category include: cerrar (to close), entender (to understand), and perder (to lose).

 

2. -O to -ue in -ar and -er Verbs

One example is volver (to return), and the yo form is vuelvo. The stem for this verb is vuelv-, but as with the previous category, there is no stem change in the nosotros/as and vosotros/as forms, which also take the stem from the infinitive:

 

vuelva, vuelvas, vuelva, volvamos, volváis, vuelvan

 

Some other verbs in this category are: poder (to be able), contar (to tell), volver (to return), and encontrar (to find).

 

3. -E to -ie in -ir Verbs

An example would be sentir (to feel). As in the first category, these verbs change stems in all forms except for nosotros/as and vosotros/as. With -ir verbs, however, the -ie changes to an -i, as follows: 

 

sienta, sientas, sienta, sintamos, sintáis, sientan

 

Verbs that work similarly include repetir (to repeat) and preferir (to prefer).

 

4. -O to -ue in -ir Verbs

The verb dormir (to sleep) falls into this category in which verbs change stems in all forms except nosotros/as and vosotros/as, where the -o changes to a -u

 

duerma, duermas, duerma, durmamos, durmáis, duerman

 

The verb morir (to die) also belongs to this class of verbs. 

 

Examples:

Let's listen to a couple of examples of such stem-changing verbs in the present subjunctive in Spanish:

 

lo mejor sería que vuelvas al convento.

the best thing would be for you to return to the convent.

Caption 15, Muñeca Brava 33 El partido - Part 7

 Play Caption

 

Espero que ahora entiendan mejor

I hope that you now understand better

Caption 56, Carlos explica Diminutivos y Aumentativos Cap 2: Definiciones generales

 Play Caption

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Spelling Changes in the Spanish Present Subjunctive

To make matters a bit more complicated, some verbs in the Spanish present subjunctive change spelling in order to maintain their pronunciation, and some verbs change both stems and spelling! Let's take a look at these additional verb categories.

 

1. Verbs ending in -ger and -gir

It is worth noting that the g in verbs ending in -ger and -gir changes to ain the Spanish present subjunctive, for example, in the aforementioned verb coger (to get). However, this doesn't really deviate from our formula since the present indicative yo form of coger is cojo. Other verbs that follow this pattern in Spanish include corregir (to correct), elegir (to choose), and recoger (to pick up).

 

corregir: corrija, corrijas, corrija, corrijamos, corrijáis, corrijan

elegir: elija, elijas, elija, elijamos, elijáis, elijan

recoger: recoja, recojas, recoja, recojamos, recojáis, recojan

 

2. Verbs ending in -car, -gar, and -zar

In the Spanish present subjunctive, verbs ending in -car change their final consonant to -qu, verbs ending in -gar change to -gu, and -zar verbs' changes to a c. Let's take a look at verbs in each of these categories:

 

sacar (to take out): saque, saques, saque, saquemos, saquéis, saquen

tocar (to take): toque, toques, toque, toquemos, toquéis, toquen

 

cargar (to charge): cargue, cargues, cargue, carguemos, carguéis, carguen

pagar (to pay): pague, pagues, pague, paguemos, paguéis, paguen

 

lanzar (to throw): lance, lances, lance, lancemos, lancéis, lancen

empezar (to start): empiece, empieces, empiece, empecemos, empecéis, empiecen

 

As you can see, the verb empezar changes both stems (-e to -ie) and its final consonant (z to c) in the Spanish present subjunctive.

 

Examples:

Let's hear some examples of verbs with spelling changes in the Spanish present subjunctive:

 

Es que no necesito que me recojas hoy. 

It's just that I don't need you to pick me up today.

Caption 52, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 9 - Part 6

 Play Caption
 

Bueno, ¿tú me aconsejas que comience a escribir ya con todas estas inquietudes que tengo?

Well, do you advise me to start writing now with all these concerns that I have?

Captions 68-69, Escribiendo un libro Algunos consejos sobre cómo comenzar - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

(Totally) Irregular Verbs in the Present Subjunctive in Spanish

Although you have seen that there are a lot of nuances to conjugating verbs in the present subjunctive in Spanish, there are only six verbs that are considered truly irregular. We have provided their conjugations here: 

 

Personal Pronoun: dar estar haber ir ser saber
yo esté haya vaya sea sepa
des estés hayas vayas seas sepas
él/ella/usted esté haya vaya sea sepa
nosotros/as demos estemos hayamos vayamos seamos sepamos
vosotros/as deis estéis hayáis vayáis seáis sepáis
ellos/ellas/ustedes den estén hayan vayan sean sepan

 

Note that the yo and él/ella/usted conjugations of the verb dar, has an accent on the to distinguish it from the preposition de (of/from). 

 

Let's conclude by hearing a couple of these irregular verbs in the Spanish present subjunctive in action: 

 

Espero que sea una bonita sorpresa.

I hope that it's a nice surprise.

Caption 11, NPS No puede ser 1 - El concurso - Part 8

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Dígame algo que no sepa.

Tell me something I don't know.

Caption 3, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 7 - Part 4

 Play Caption

 

And speaking of learning new things, we hope you've found this lesson on conjugating verbs in the Spanish present subjunctive helpful! To hear a bunch more verbs conjugated in the Spanish present subjunctive, we recommend this video on Subjunctivo y sentimientos (Subjuntive and Feelings), and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

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The Present Perfect In Spanish

What is the present perfect tense in Spanish? Despite its name in English, the Spanish present perfect tense is actually one of the past tenses in Spanish, which indicates that one "has done" some action within some specific period of time. This lesson will examine how to conjugate this useful Spanish tense as well as providing examples of when to use it. 

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How to Conjugate the Spanish Present Perfect Tense 

The present perfect tense in Spanish is relatively easy to conjugate. To do so, we should remember a simple formula: haber in present tense + participle. Let's first take a look at the present conjugation of the verb haber, which corresponds to the English "has" or "have" in the present perfect:

 

Personal Pronoun: Conjugation of Haber:
yo he
has
él/ella/usted ha 
nosotros/as hemos
vosotros/as habéis
ellos/ellas/ustedes han

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, let's examine how to conjugate the participle form of verbs in Spanish, which corresponds to English words with endings like -ed or -en, such as "taken," "looked," "baked," etc.

 

Conjugating the participle with -ar verbs:

Take the infinitive, remove the -ar, and add the suffix -ado:

 

hablar: hablado (to talk/speak: talked/spoken)

mirar: mirado (to watch: watched)

comenzar: comenzado (to start/begin: started/begun)

bailarbailado (to dance: danced)

 

Conjugating the participle with -er and -ir verbs: 

Take the infinitive, remove the -er or -ir, and add the suffix -ido:

 

comer: comido (to eat: eaten)

aprenderaprendido (to learn: learned)

recibirrecibido (to receive: received)

subir: subido (to rise/go up: risen/gone up) 

 

Irregular Participles: 

There are several irregular participle forms in Spanish that it would definitely be helpful to memorize. Here are several:

 

abrir: abierto (to open: opened)

cubrir: cubierto (to cover: covered)

decir: dicho (to say: said)

escribir: escrito (to write: written)

hacer: hecho (to do: done)

morir: muerto (to die: died)

poner: puesto (to put: put)

romper: roto (to break: broken)

resolver: resuelto (to resolve: resolved)

satisfacer: satisfecho (to satisfy: satisfied) 

ver: visto (to see: seen)

volver: vuelto (to return/returned)

 

Now that we know how to conjugate the auxiliary verb haber as well as the participle, we can conjugate verbs in and formulate sentences using the present perfect in Spanish. 

 

For example, if we wanted to say, "I have spoken," we'd take the form of the verb haber that corresponds with yo (he) and the participle of the verb hablar (to speak), hablado, to get: Yo he hablado. And, we could take hemos (we have) along with the irregular participle abierto (opened) to get Hemos abierto la puerta (We've opened the door).

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When to Use the Present Perfect in Spanish 

Ahora que hemos aprendido (Now that we've learned) how to conjugate verbs in the present perfect tense in Spanish, we should think about when to use it. Just like the present perfect in English, we use the Spanish present perfect to describe actions that have been completed within a certain period of time. As previously mentioned, because these actions were completed in the past, however recent, the present perfect is considered a past tense in Spanish, in which it is known as el pretérito perfecto (literally the "past" or "preterite perfect"). With this in mind, let's take a look at some examples:

 

Ya hemos visto que reciclar contribuye de forma importante,

We have already seen that recycling contributes in an important way,

Caption 23, 3R Campaña de reciclaje - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

¿Pero se han preguntado alguna vez cómo se cultivan y se comercializan?

But have you ever wondered how they are grown and sold?

Captions 75-76, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 16

 Play Caption

 

Hoy ha llovido todo el día.

"Hoy ha llovido todo el día" [Today it has rained the whole day].

Caption 69, Carlos explica El pretérito Cap. 2: Perfecto compuesto I

 Play Caption

 

The examples above entail specific but different time periods. When the speaker says Ya hemos visto (We have already seen) in the first example, he is referring to us having already seen the importance of recycling in that video. In the second caption, the speaker asks if the people to whom he is speaking have ever (alguna vez) wondered, in their entire lives. And finally, this third example of the present perfect in Spanish explains what has happened that day.

 

It is important to note that while sentences in the present perfect often contain such references to the time period they describe as todo el día (all day), alguna vez (ever), ya (already), etc., this is not always the case. For example, in an effort to find out if "you have (ever) traveled to Spain," someone might simply ask: ¿Has viajado a España? 

 

Discrepancy Between the Spanish and English Present Perfect Tenses

Sometimes, Spanish speakers from Spain in particular use the present perfect to talk about actions in the recent past in situations in which English speakers would most likely use the past tense and Latin Americans would probably use the Spanish preterite. Let's look at an example:

 

Hola, soy Ariana Moreno y he dormido fatal. He pasado una mala noche. 

Hello, I'm Ariana Moreno, and I've slept horribly. I've had a bad night.

Captions 1-3, Ariana Cita médica

 Play Caption
 

Although the translators at Yabla opted to literally translate he dormido (I've slept) and he pasado (I've spent) with the present perfect in English, the English version sounds a bit awkward in this context because an English speaker would almost always say "I slept horribly. I had a bad night" when referring to the previous night. A Spanish-speaker from Central or South America, on the other hand, might say: "Dormí fatal. Pasé una mala noche" in the preterite. Let's look at another example: 

 

Pues nada, que ha empezado el día superbién, se ha levantado a las ocho, ha desayunado en la cafetería al lado de la escuela como siempre, ha venido a clase, hemos tenido la clase como todos los lunes.

Well, she's started the day very well, she's gotten up at eight, she's had breakfast in the cafeteria next to the school as always, she's come to class, we've had the class like every Monday.

Captions 6-10, El Aula Azul Conversación: Un día de mala suerte

 Play Caption

 

The caption above illustrates once again that, although the same is not true in English, when talking about the very recent past (typically the same day or perhaps the previous night), Spanish speakers from Spain are much more likely to employ the present perfect tense.

 

We hope that this lesson has made it clear how to conjugate and use the present perfect tense in Spanish. For further explanation and examples, check out Carlos' video on El pretérito compuestoor "Compound perfect," which is yet another name for the present perfect in Spanish, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

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The Three Grammatical Moods in Spanish

What are grammatical "moods"? Many definitions of grammatical moods in linguistics explain them as features of verbs that describe "modality." But, what is "modality"?

 

In a nutshell, "modality" refers to a speaker's attitude toward what he or she is saying, which might entail such concepts as possibility, probability, certainty or doubt. "Moods" are not the same as tenses, which convey when things happen, and each of the sixteen Spanish tenses fall into one of the three mood categories. That said, let's delve deeper into the three grammatical moods in Spanish: the indicative, the subjunctive, and the imperative.

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1. The Indicative Mood

Most simply put, the indicative mood describes facts, things about which the speaker is certain, or "the objective truth." Let's take a look at some examples of sentences with verbs in the indicative mood. 

 

Estoy seguro que voy a poder ayudarla en algo.

I'm sure that I am going to be able to help you with something.

Caption 7, Yago 9 Recuperación - Part 7

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This speaker says in the Spanish present indicative tense that he's seguro (sure) that he will be able to help the person to whom he's speaking. Such phrases referring to certainty like Estoy seguro que (I'm sure that) or even Yo creo que (I believe that) are tip-offs that the verb(s) that follow(s) will be in the indicative because they indicate conviction. However, many examples of verbs in the indicative mood in Spanish won't be quite so straightforward. 

 

Hablaremos sobre el candombe.

We'll talk about candombe.

Caption 11, Sonido Babel El candombe de Uruguay

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In this example of the future indicative tense in Spanish, the speaker states (with certainty) what it is he will talk about. Let's take a look at an additional example. 

 

¡Sí! Fuimos a buscar conchas pero no fue fácil encontrarlas.

Yes! We went to look for shells but it wasn't easy to find them.

Caption 13, Guillermina y Candelario El Manglar

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In this final example in the Spanish preterite tense, the speaker clearly states the objective truth about what happened in the past: Fuimos a buscar (We went to look for) seashells, and no fue (it wasn't) easy. Although whether or not something is easy is a subjective concept, it is important to remember that it is the speaker's attitude or belief about what he or she is stating that determines the mood. 

 

There are ten verb tenses in the Spanish indicative mood: the present, the imperfect, the preterite, the future, the simple conditional, the present perfect, the pluperfect, the past anterior, the conditional perfect, and the future perfect. For a closer look at each of these tenses with examples, we recommend this lesson on the Spanish indicative tenses. 

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2. The Subjunctive Mood

While the indicative conveys certainty and objectivity, the subjunctive conveys such opposing concepts as subjectivity, doubt, wishful thinking, hypothetical situations, and more. Let's take a look at some examples:

 

No, no, no. No creo que sea muy peligroso

No, no, no. I don't think he's very dangerous,

Caption 55, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 5 - Part 8

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Just like the expression Creo que (I believe that) lets you know that the following verb will be conjugated in the indicative, the phrase No creo que (I don't believe that) is an indicator for the subjunctive. Although we won't enter into verb conjugation in this lesson, we will say that verbs in the subjunctive mood are conjugated differently than in the indicative: for example, sea is the subjunctive conjugation of ser (to be) in third person singular and is thus used in place of the indicative form es. Let's take a look at another example:

 

de verdad, esperamos que te hayamos podido devolver la alegría.

we really hope that we've been able to give you back your joy.

Caption 58, Tu Voz Estéreo Laura - Part 17

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Here, the indicative present perfect form hemos podido (we've been able) has been replaced with the subjunctive present perfect, hayamos podido, because the speaker is expressing a hope that something has happened rather than stating that it actually has. Let's look at another example of the subjunctive mood in Spanish:

 

Si yo fuera un hombre, yo pensaría que las mujeres son complicadas.

If I were a man, I would think that women are complicated.

Caption 28, Conjugación El verbo 'pensar'

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This sentence employs a common construction that combines the imperfect subjunctive with the Spanish conditional tense to talk about what "would" happen "were" a hypothetical situation in place. 

 

Learning all of the situations and/or constructions that require the subjunctive mood in Spanish can be quite challenging for native English speakers since verbs in the subjunctive mood in English rarely change. As a guideline, statements in which the second verb in a construction changes to the subjunctive include wishes like deseo que (I wish that...), emotions like me alegro de que (I'm happy that...), impersonal expressions like es importante que (it's important that...), recommendations like sugiero que (I suggest that...), and doubts like dudo que (I doubt that...), just to name a few. 

 

The Spanish subjunctive mood encompasses six tenses: the present subjunctive, the imperfect subjunctive, the future subjunctive, the present perfect subjunctive, the pluperfect subjunctive, and the future perfect subjunctive, which are explained in greater detail in this lesson on the subjunctive tenses in Spanish that also touches on our third and final Spanish mood. 

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3. The Imperative Mood 

Understanding the speaker's "attitude" in the imperative mood is less nuanced: one is "ordering" or "commanding" someone else to do something:

 

¡Hazlo todo de nuevo!

Do it all over again!

Caption 32, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 3 - Part 7

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This is an example of a positive, informal command (with , or the singular, informal "you") in Spanish. Let's see another example:

 

Chicos, no me hagan esta broma tan pesada. 

Guys, don't play this very annoying joke on me.

Caption 49, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 1

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Here, we see the negative command that corresponds to the pronoun ustedes (plural "you"). Let's check out one more:

 

Empecemos por la forma, luego iremos al contenido. 

Let's start with the form, then we'll go on to the content.

Caption 6, Ana Carolina Condicionales

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This "less commanding" sentence reflects the imperative form that goes with nosotros/as, or "we," which you can learn more about in the lesson Let's Learn Spanish Commands with Nosotros/as.

 

We can group Spanish commands into eight categories: positive commands with , negative commands with, (positive or negative) commands with usted (formal "you"), (positive or negative) commands with ustedes (plural "you"), positive commands with vos (informal "you" in certain regions), positive commands with vosotros/as (informal plural "you" in Spain), negative commands with vosotros/as, and (positive or negative) commands with nosotros/as (we). For a more in-depth look at the various types of commands in Spanish, we recommend the following four-part  series on El modo imperativo.

 

We hope that this lesson has shed some light on the concept of the three grammatical "moods" in Spanish and would like to conclude it with an imperative sentence: No te olvides de dejarnos tus sugerencias y comentarios (Don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments).

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The Spanish Future Tense

The Spanish future tense is one of the most straightforward tenses in Spanish, both in terms of knowing when to use it and how to conjugate it. Let's take a closer look at this tense.

 

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What Is the Future Tense in Spanish?

The future tense in Spanish corresponds to the English construction with "will" plus a verb and is used to talk about actions that are slated to happen in the future or that someone has the intention to carry out. Simple English examples of this concept include: "Tomorrow, I will go to the store," or "Next week, it will rain." With this in mind, let's examine several examples of the future tense in Spanish:

 

y hoy les hablaré de una de mis pasiones:

and today, I'll talk to you about one of my passions:

Caption 4, Ana Carolina La meditación

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Yo creo que esto lo venderemos súper bien. 

I think we'll sell this one really well.

Caption 44, Santuario para burros Tienda solidaria

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El botón [sic] la ayudará con su equipaje y lo subirá en un par de minutos a la habitación.

The porter will help you with your luggage and will take it up to the room in a couple of minutes.

Captions 61-62, Cleer y Lida Recepción de hotel

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Note that as English "will" constructions are often expressed with contractions (the personal pronoun plus apostrophe double l, such as "I'll," "we'll," etc.), many Spanish future tense verbs can be translated to English in this less formal fashion.

 

Conjugating the Future Tense in Spanish 

Conjugating most verbs in the future tense in Spanish is quite simple. You just take the verb's infinitive ("to" form) in its entirety and add the corresponding future tense ending. So, using the verbs in our previous examples, we'd start with their infinitive forms: hablar (to talk), vender (to sell), ayudar (to help), and subir (to take up). You will note that these infinitive verbs fall into all three infinitive verb categories: -ar, -er, and -ir

 

Step two of the process of conjugating Spanish future tense verbs is to memorize the quite simple endings that correspond to their personal pronouns, which are as follows:

 

Personal Pronoun: Ending:
Yo:
Tú: -ás
Él/ella/usted: -á
Nosotros/nosotras: -emos
Vosotros/vosotras: -éis
Ellos/ellas/ustedes: -án

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Armed with this information, let's conjugate some future tense verbs using different verbs and personal pronouns than the examples above.

 

1. Suppose we want to say that more than one person "will see" something (with the personal pronoun ustedes, or plural "you"). We would take the infinitive verb ver (to see) and add the appropriate ending (-án) to get verán:

 

Mañana ustedes verán si nos... si nos medimos a ese, a ese reto.

Tomorrow you guys will see if we... if we measure up to that, to that challenge.

Captions 36-37, Festivaliando Mono Núñez - Part 13

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2. Now, let's imagine that you want to tell more than one person in a familiar environment what they'll "need." Oh— and you're in Spain, where the personal pronouns vosotros/as are the way to address more than one person as "you" informally. We'd take the verb for "to need" (necesitar) and the corresponding ending -éis to get necesitaréis:

 

Para empezar a hacer la tortilla española, necesitaréis los siguientes ingredientes:

To start to make the Spanish tortilla, you'll need the following ingredients:

Captions 8-9, Clara cocina Una tortilla española

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3. And finally, what if you would like to say with the tú (informal "you") form to someone what he or she "will discover"? You'd start with the verb descubrir (to discover) and add the -ás ending that goes with to get descubrirás:

 

Pronto lo descubrirás

Soon you'll discover it

Caption 68, X6 1 - La banda - Part 2

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Irregular Verbs in the Spanish Future Tense

As with all Spanish verb tenses, there are some irregular verbs in the future tense in Spanish, many of which are extremely common. That said, it would behoove you to memorize the following stems, which are used in lieu of these verbs' infinitives to conjugate the "top twelve" irregular future tense verbs in Spanish: 

 

Irregular Verb:  Stem:
caber (to fit):  cabr-
decir (to tell): dir-
haber (to have/be): habr-
hacer (to make/do): har-
poder (to be able): podr-
poner (to put): pondr-
querer (to want): querr-
saber (to know): sabr-
salir (to leave): saldr-
tener (to have): tendr-
valer (to be worth): valdr-
venir (to come): vendr-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, let's conjugate a few of these irregular Spanish future tense verbs: 

 

1. How would we express "I'll say" in Spanish? Rather than the infinitive, we'd take the aforementioned stem for the Spanish verb decir, -dir, and add the ending that corresponds with yo (I), or -é, to get diré:

 

Primero, diré el verbo en infinitivo,

First, I'll say the verb in the infinitive,

Caption 38, Carlos explica El modo imperativo 1: Tú + vos

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2. How would we say "you'll have" in Spanish? Take the stem of the irregular verb tener (to have), tendr-, and add the ending for (you), -ás, to get: tendrás.

 

Sí, después de las clases en grupo, tendrás media hora de descanso

Yes, after the group classes, you'll have a half hour break

Caption 27, El Aula Azul Las actividades de la escuela - Part 1

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3. And finally, what if want to express that "we'll be able" to do something? We'll take podr-, the stem for the verb for "to be able" (poder), and add the ending for nosotros/as, -emos, to come up with podremos:

 

Con un poco de práctica, podremos aprender estas reglas muy fácilmente.

With a bit of practice, we will be able to learn these rules very easily.

Caption 55, Carlos explica Acentuación Cap. 3: La división en sílabas - Part 1

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An Alternative Use for the Future Tense

Although the translations for Spanish verbs conjugated in the Spanish future tense almost always involve the word "will," the future tense in Spanish can occasionally be used to express doubt or disbelief, and, in such cases, corresponds more closely with the English concepts of "would," "could," "might," or "may."  Such cases are typically quite clear from their contexts as inserting the word "will" would seem nonsensical. Let's take a look at a couple of examples: 

 

¿No tendrás unos pesitos para mí?

You wouldn't have a few pesos for me?

Caption 23, Muñeca Brava 8 Trampas - Part 14

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Favio, ¿dónde estarás?

Favio, where could you be?

Caption 44, Yago 1 La llegada - Part 7

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Having said that, in the vast majority of the cases you will come across, the future tense in Spanish can be translated with "will." 

 

We hope you've enjoyed this lesson on the future tense in Spanish. If you are interested in verb tenses, we recommend you check out our lessons on all of the Spanish verb tenses, beginning with the indicative verb tenses in Spanish and moving on to the Spanish subjunctive tenses. And, for an even deeper look into the future tense in Spanish with a plethora of example sentences, we recommend you check out this extended lesson by Javi on the future tense in Spanish as well as this lesson on an alternative to the Spanish future tense

 

That's all for today! Don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments, and estaremos en contacto (we'll be in touch).

 

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Spanish Verbs That Change Meaning in the Preterite Tense

Just when you thought you'd memorized the meanings of a bunch of infinitive verbs (their "to" forms, like saber (to know), poder (to be able), etc.), you find out that there are some verbs that actually change meanings from one tense to another! Verbs that mean one thing in tenses like the Spanish present indicative tense and the imperfect tense in Spanish but change meaning in the Spanish preterite tense will be the focus of today's lesson. 

 

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What Is the Spanish Preterite Tense?

In a nutshell, there are two "main" past tenses in Spanish: the imperfect tense in Spanish, which is used to describe past actions that were ongoing, in progress, or interrupted, and the Spanish preterite tense, which describes completed past actions. As we mentioned, as the meaning of some Spanish verbs actually changes in the preterite tense in Spanish, let's take a look at some examples of several of these verbs and their translations in the present, the imperfect, and, finally, the preterite, via examples from Yabla Spanish's video library. 

 

Spanish Verbs That Change Meaning in the Preterite Tense 

 

1. Conocer (to know)

Let's take a look at some examples of the Spanish verb conocer in the present and imperfect tenses:

 

Present Tense:

porque conozco un sitio muy bueno y podemos ir.

because I know a very good place and we can go.

Caption 67, Cleer Entrevista a Giluancar

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Imperfect Tense:

Pablo Escobar conocía La Catedral como la palma de la mano,

Pablo Escobar knew La Cathedral like the back of his hand

Caption 42, Los Tiempos de Pablo Escobar Capítulo 2 - Part 6

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In both the Spanish present indicative and the imperfect tense, the Spanish verb conocer means "to know" in the sense of "being familiar with." However, in the preterite tense, the Spanish verb conocer has a different meaning. Let's take a look:

 

Preterite Tense:

Cuando yo conocí a mi esposa, hace nueve años, la primera cosa yo le dije a ella, te... tú vas a ser la mamá de mis hijas.

When I met my wife, nine years ago, the first thing I said to her, you... you are going to be the mom of my daughters.

Captions 52-54, La Sub30 Familias - Part 4

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As you can see in this example, as the preterite tense in Spanish limits an action to a specific moment in time, the meaning of the Spanish verb conocer changes to "to meet" in the Spanish preterite tense. 

 

2. Poder (to be able)

The Spanish verb poder means "to be able," in the sense of "can" in the present or "could" in the past. Let's see some examples:

 

Present Tense:

Detrás de mí podemos observar la ciudad antigua

Behind me, we can observe the old city

Caption 11, Ciudad de Panamá Denisse introduce la ciudad

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Imperfect Tense:

Yo pensé que podía saltar muy alto.

I thought I could jump really high.

Caption 14, Guillermina y Candelario Una Amiga muy Presumida - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

So, how does the meaning of the Spanish verb poder transform in the preterite?

 

Preterite Tense:

Es que no entiendo cómo pudo entrar aquí.

It's just that I don't understand how he managed to get in here.

Caption 20, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 2 - Part 8

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Although "It's just that I don't understand how he was able to get in here" could also be a viable translation, in some contexts, this English rendition would not make it clear whether someone actually did something or merely had the ability to do so. Hence, the important thing to remember when the Spanish verb poder is conjugated in the Spanish preterite tense is that it ceases to describe merely the potential for something to happen and states that it actually did. "To manage" (to do something) is thus a common translation for the Spanish verb poder in the preterite tense that makes this distinction clear. 

 

3. No poder (to not be able)

The meaning of no poder in both the present and imperfect tenses in Spanish is pretty straightforward: "to not be able to," in other words, "can't" in the present and "couldn't" in the (imperfect) past:

 

Present Tense:

¿Cómo que no pueden hacer nada? ¿Cómo que no pueden hacer nada más?

What do you mean you can't do anything? What do you mean you can't do anything else?

Caption 17, Yago 3 La foto - Part 2

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Imperfect Tense:

Y no podía estudiar.

And I couldn't study.

Caption 1, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 5 - Part 3

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So, what about the preterite? If we know that the preterite form of the Spanish verb poder means "to manage to" do something, it follows that the preterite form of no poder can mean "to not manage to," or, better yet, "to fail to" to do something.

 

Preterite Tense:

Si usted no pudo controlar su matrimonio ¿cómo va a controlar y dirigir y manejar el interés público?

If you failed to control your marriage, how are you going to control and direct and manage public interest?

Captions 58-59, Muñeca Brava 43 La reunión - Part 3

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While we might alternatively translate "si usted no pudo controlar su matrimonio" as "you couldn't control your marriage" or "you weren't able to control your marriage," the important thing to remember is that the verb poder in the preterite means that something in the past was attempted but did not come to fruition.

 

4. Saber (to know)

The Spanish verb saber typically means "to know" (in the sense of facts or information) in the present, imperfect, etc.:

 

Present Tense:

No es información nueva, y ellas lo saben.

It's not new information, and they know it.

Caption 7, Clase Aula Azul Información con subjuntivo e indicativo - Part 3

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Imperfect Tense:

Sí. Si algo sabíamos era que la plata no crece en los árboles.

Yes. If we knew anything, it was that money didn't grow on trees.

Caption 28, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 10 - Part 2

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However, because the preterite tense in Spanish narrows the timeline of such "knowing" down to a specific moment, the meaning of the Spanish verb saber transforms, in the preterite tense, from "to know" to "to find out":

 

Preterite Tense:

A tal punto que yo me alegré mucho, mucho, cuando supe que ibas a pasar veinticinco años en la cárcel.

To the point that I was very happy, very, when I found out you were going to spend twenty-five years in prison.

Captions 56-57, Yago 14 La peruana - Part 1

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5. Tener (to have)

The verb tener in Spanish means "to have" in most tenses, as in the following excerpts:

 

Present Tense:

Todas las estaciones tienen sus ventajas.

All of the seasons have their advantages.

Caption 42, Clara explica El tiempo - Part 2

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Imperfect Tense:

Tenía una casa pues, amueblada de cuatrocientos metros

I had a, well, furnished, four-hundred meter house,

Caption 79, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 8

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And, although the meaning of the Spanish verb tener doesn't always change in the preterite, it sometimes takes on the meaning of "to receive" or "to get," as in the case of: Tuve una carta (I got a letter). Let's look at an additional example:

 

Preterite Tense:

Y bueno, ahí tuve otras proposiciones, que no eran tampoco un sueño, pero eran mucho más interesantes que lo que tenía en Cuba,

And well, there, I got other proposals, which weren't a dream either, but they were much more interesting than what I had in Cuba,

Captions 49-51, Orishas Entrevista Canal Plus

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6. Querer (to want) 

The verb querer in Spanish most often means "to want." Let's see it in action:

 

Present Tense:

Amigos de Yabla, hoy los queremos invitar a aprender español

Friends of Yabla, today we want to invite you to learn Spanish

Captions 1-2, El Hatillo, Caracas, Venezuela El cuatro

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Imperfect Tense:

Yo de niña pensaba que quería ser bailarina. ¿Qué pensabas tú?

As a little girl I thought that I wanted to be a dancer. What did you think?

Caption 20, Conjugación El verbo 'pensar'

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In the preterite tense, however, the Spanish verb querer "puts a limit" on this past "wanting" and becomes a manner of saying that someone "tried" to do something:

 

Preterite Tense:

Yo quise ser su amiga, pero no me dejó.

I tried to be his friend, but he didn't let me.

Caption 38, Guillermina y Candelario Un marciano en la playa - Part 1

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7. No querer (to not want) 

In our first two tenses, the Spanish verb phrase no querer means exactly what it sounds like: "to not want." Let's examine some clips that demonstrate this construction in the present and imperfect:

 

Present Tense:

 

Es que yo no quiero vivir en el centro.

The thing is, I don't want to live in the downtown area.

Caption 71, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: Subjuntivo y persona ideal

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Imperfect Tense:

 

y en un principio le dije que no quería tener un gato en casa.

and at first, I told her I didn't want to have a cat in my home.

Caption 32, Fermín y los gatos Mi gata Poeska

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The preterite form of the Spanish verb querer, on the other hand, means that someone not only "didn't want" to do something at a specific point in the past, they actually didn't (or "wouldn't"):

 

mi otra hermana, Zoraida Zárraga, mi sobrino, Harold Blanco, que no quisieron presentarse por temor a cámara.

my other sister, Zoraida Zarraga, my nephew, Harold Blanco, who refused to appear due to camera shyness.

Captions 11-13, Coro, Venezuela Relaciones familiares

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So, we see that the meaning of the verb no querer in Spanish can sometimes become to "to refuse" in the preterite tense. 

 

We hope that this lesson has edified you regarding the alternative meanings of some Spanish verbs when they are conjugated in the preterite tense. Can you think of any we missed?  Don't forget to tell us with your suggestions and comments

 

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Spanish Verb Tenses Explained: Part 2

Welcome to the second part of this lesson where we touch on all the different Spanish verb tenses! So... how many tenses in Spanish did we say there were? Sixteen! In the first part, we covered the ten "official" tenses of the indicative mood, which deals more with concrete facts, in addition to some "bonus" (non-official) tenses. Now, we'll move on to the other two Spanish moods: the subjunctive, where we will cover tenses eleven through sixteen of the Spanish verb paradigm, and the imperative. If you didn't already, we definitely recommend checking out Part 1 of this lesson. 

 

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The Subjunctive Tenses

While the indicative mood deals with facts, the subjunctive mood in Spanish, in a nutshell, deals with more abstract notions like wishes, desires, emotions, opinions, and more, which require a whole different set of tenses in Spanish. Although it would be impossible to delve too deeply into the multipronged usage of the subjunctive Spanish mood, we will try to illustrate several cases in which you might come across it. Let's get started!

 

11. Present Subjunctive (Presente del subjuntivo)

The present subjunctive is the subjunctive equivalent of the simple present tense. Let's take a look at an example from the Yabla Spanish library: 

 

Si queremos que una persona no nos hable de usted, tenemos que pedir a la persona que nos tutee. 

If we want a person to not talk to us in an formal way, we have to ask the person to use "tú" with us.

Captions 24-25, Karla e Isabel Tú y Usted

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Note that the reason the subjunctive form is employed here (we can tell it is subjunctive due to its conjugation, hable, which differs from its indicative form, habla) is because the sentence conveys that we want (queremos) for someone not to talk to us in a particular way, which doesn't mean that that person will actually respect our desire. Let's take a look at one more example: 

 

Mejor hablemos de ella. 

It's better we talk about her.

Caption 17, NPS No puede ser 1 - El concurso - Part 1

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Here, the word mejor (better) tips us off that the subjunctive form (hablemos instead of hablamos) is in order due to the expression of someone's opinion about what should happen, which doesn't necessarily mean that it will. 

 

12. Imperfect Subjunctive (Imperfecto de subjuntivo)

The imperfect subjunctive is the past equivalent of the present subjunctive. We see in the following example that the verb hablar has been conjugated in the imperfect subjunctive (habláramos) instead of in the indicative (hablábamos) due to the expression of desire, once again with the verb querer:

 

No, no te dije que quería hablar con vos, quería que habláramos los dos. 

No, I didn't tell you that I wanted to talk to you; I wanted for us to talk, the two [of us].

Caption 46, Muñeca Brava 43 La reunión - Part 6

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Another very common use of the imperfect subjunctive is to talk about hypothetical situations. In this case, the imperfect subjunctive is often incorporated into a "si (if) clause" in conjunction with the conditional tense to communicate that "if" something were the case, then something else "would" happen, as in the following clip:

 
 

Eh... Si... ¿hablaríamos?... -Hablara. Hablara ruso, me... vi'... ¿vivía?... Viviría. -Viviría en Rusia. 

Um... "Si... ¿hablaríamos" [If... we would speak]? -"Hablara" [I spoke]. "Hablara ruso [I spoke Russian], me... vi'... ¿vivía" [I... I'd li'... I used to live]? "Viviría" [I'd live]. -"Viviría en Rusia" [I'd live in Russia].

Captions 22-25, Clase Aula Azul La segunda condicional - Part 7

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The hypothetical situation the teacher is going for here is: Si hablara rusoviviría en Rusia (If I spoke Russian, I'd live in Russia). To learn more about this type of construction, we highly recommend the entire series of which this video is a part. 

 

13. Future Subjunctive (Futuro (simple) de subjuntivo)

We definitely couldn't come up with any examples of the future subjunctive tense in our Yabla Spanish library because this tense is all but obsolete and is almost never even taught in modern Spanish. For that reason, you may not recognize it due to its different and little-seen conjugations, although you may occasionally come across it in legal documents or literature. We came up with this example:

 

El que hablare fuerte se echará de lo biblioteca. 

Whoever talks loudly will be thrown out of the library. 

 

The future subjunctive could conceivably be used here because the sentence refers to "whoever," rather than known individuals, as well as alluding to a possible future event. However, in modern Spanish, this very same idea would be conveyed with the present subjunctive:

 

El que hable fuerte se echará de lo biblioteca. 

Whoever talks loudly will be thrown out of the library. 

 

14. Present Perfect Subjunctive (Pretérito perfecto de subjuntivo)

The present perfect subjunctive is the equivalent of the present perfect indicative in situations that require the subjunctive, and the verb haber is thus conjugated in its subjunctive form. That said, we'll take this opportunity to mention another case that requires subjunctive: when expressing that something will happen "when" something else happens that hasn't yet, as in the following example:

 

Cuando se hayan hablado, se van a entender mejor.

When they've talked to each other, they are going to understand each other better. 

 

And, here's an additional example of the present perfect subjunctive from our Spanish video library with different verbs:

 

Espero que os haya gustado este vídeo sobre esta maravillosa planta y hayáis aprendido algo nuevo. 

I hope you've liked this video about this wonderful plant and have learned something new.

Captions 80-81, Fermín La plumeria - Part 1

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15. Pluperfect Subjunctive (Pluscuamperfecto de subjuntivo)

The pluperfect subjunctive is the subjunctive equivalent of the pluperfect tense and is also used to talk about hypothetical situations. It is formed with the pluperfect form of haber plus the participle, and, like the imperfect subjunctive, it is often used in conjunction with the conditional or conditional perfect to describe what "would have" happened if something else "had been" done. Let's see an example:

 

Si yo hubiera hablado con mi jefe antes, habría evitado cualquier malentendido. 

If I had spoken with my boss previously, I would have avoided any misunderstanding.

 

Let's look an additional example of the pluperfect subjunctive tense, which does not include the conditional:

 

Es como si nunca hubiéramos hablado

It's as if we had never talked.

Caption 28, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 8 - Part 6

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The Spanish phrase como si (as if) quite often precedes verbs in the pluperfect subjunctive tense. 

 

16. Future Perfect Subjunctive (Futuro compuesto de subjuntivo)

Like the future subjunctive, the future perfect subjunctive is rarely encountered and might only be employed in literary or legal contexts to talk about what will happen in the future if a hypothetical situation "has not" yet occurred. It involves the future subjunctive form of the verb haber plus the participle, as follows:

 

Si el demandante todavía no hubiere hablado ante el tribunal para la fecha especificada, se desestimará su caso. 

If the plaintiff still hasn't spoken before the court by the specified date, his case will be dismissed. 

 

However, the present perfect subjunctive would take the place of the future perfect subjunctive in order to say this today:

 

Si el demandante todavía no haya hablado ante el tribunal para la fecha especificada, se desestimará su caso. 

If the plaintiff still hasn't spoken before the court by the specified date, his case will be dismissed. 

 

Since different verb conjugations are rarely required in English to talk about emotions, desires, or hypotheticals, the subjunctive mood can initially feel quite confusing for English speakers, and we hope that this lesson has this shed some light on some of the possible subjunctive scenarios in Spanish. For more information about the subjunctive in Spanish, the following link with take you to several additional lessons on different aspects of this topic. 

 

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The Imperative "Tenses"

Let's conclude our rundown of all Spanish tenses by talking about the "bonus" tenses in the imperative mood (modo imperativo), which are not included in the official classification of the different tenses in Spanish. Also called commands, these Spanish verb tenses are those that tell someone to do something, and they fall into several categories:

 

1. Commands with  (informal "you") :

 

Habla con la gente de laboratorio.

Talk to the people from the lab.

Caption 36, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 1 - Part 11

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2. Negative commands with :

 

A ver. Sebas, mi amor, no le hables así a tu papá.

Let's see. Sebas, my love, don't talk to your dad like that.

Caption 30, La Familia Cheveroni Capítulo 1 - Part 2

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3. Commands with vos (informal "you" in certain regions):

 

por favor hablá con Andrea; necesito encontrar a mi nieto. 

please talk to Andrea; I need to find my grandson.

Caption 59, Muñeca Brava 48 - Soluciones - Part 9

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4. (Negative or positive) commands with usted (formal "you"):

 

Hable más despacio.

"Hable más despacio" [Speak more slowly].

Caption 40, Carlos explica El modo imperativo 2: Irregulares, Usted + plurales

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5. (Negative or positive) commands with ustedes (plural "you"):

 

Pues no me hablen de costumbre porque luego en vez de ganar, pierdo.

Well don't talk to me about habits because then instead of earning, I lose.

Caption 7, La Banda Chilanguense El habla de México - Part 3

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6. Commands with vosotros/as (informal plural "you"):

 

Con vosotros o vosotras: Hablad más despacio.

With "vosotros" or "vosotras" ["you" plural informal masculine/feminine]: "Hablad más despacio" [Talk more slowly].

Caption 25, Carlos explica El modo imperativo 1: Tú + vos

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7. Negative commands with vosotros/as:

 

No nos habléis de esa forma.

Don't speak to us in that way. 

 

8. (Negative or positive) commands with nosotros/as (we): 

 

Hablemos de otra palabra.

Let's talk about another word.

Caption 19, Carlos comenta Confidencial - Jerga típica colombiana

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While we won't get into the norms for conjugating all of these types of commands with -ar, -er, and -ir verbs, we recommend Yabla's four-part video series entitled El modo imperativo (The Imperative Mode), beginning here, which explores this topic. 

 

And that wraps up our lesson on all of the verb tenses in Spanish. We hope you've enjoyed it (and learned a lot)! And don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

 

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Spanish Verb Tenses Explained: Part 1

Today, we will embark on a brief journey that encompasses all the Spanish verb tenses. However, rather than focusing on how to conjugate the verb tenses in Spanish, which you may or may not have already learned, we'll take a closer look at when to use each one, using the extremely common verb hablar ("to talk" or "to speak") to illustrate them whenever possible, as well as plenty of examples from the Yabla Spanish video library. 

 

How Many Tenses Are There in Spanish?

How many different tenses in Spanish are there in total? According to the Real Academia Española, there are sixteen Spanish verb tenses. There are also some "bonus tenses," which aren't officially included in their classification, which we will also cover in this lesson. Let's get started.

 

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Indicative Tenses

To make matters just a bit more complicated, Spanish verb tenses fall into three categories called "moods," which are the indicative, the subjunctive, and the imperative. Generally speaking, the indicative verb tenses in Spanish are the first Spanish verb tenses learned, and, in contrast to the Spanish verb tenses in the other moods (subjunctive and imperative), they tend to deal with facts and objective reality. Let's take a look:

 

1. Present (Presente)

Let's start with the present tense in Spanish, also known as the "simple present." This tense is primarily used in two ways, the first being to talk about a present action that is habitual, repeated, or ongoing. Let's take a look:

 

Aunque soy extranjero, yo hablo español muy bien.

Although I'm a foreigner, I speak Spanish very well.

Caption 56, Clase Aula Azul Información con subjuntivo e indicativo - Part 4

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Since it is an ongoing fact that the speaker speaks Spanish very well, it is appropriate to use the present tense. We can also use this tense to talk about an action that is actually in progress at the moment:

 

¿Hablo con la Señora Pepa Flores, la manager de Amalia Durango?

Am I speaking with Mrs. Pepa Flores, Amalia Durango's manager?

Captions 37-38, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 1 - Part 5

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***BONUS TENSE: Present Progressive (Presente Continuo)*** 

Notice that the second example of the present tense was translated to the English present progressive tense. This is the tense with a form of the word "to be" and the gerund, or -ing form of a verb ("I'm eating," "He's swimming," etc.). The present progressive tense in Spanish, which is similarly formed with a present conjugation of the verb estar (to be) and a verb's gerundio (gerund, which usually ends in -ando or -iendo in Spanish), is always translated in this fashion and really emphasizes that an action is in progress at this very moment. Let's take a look:

 

OK. Xavi, ahora que estamos hablando de... de comida, de alimentos, quisiera hacerte una pregunta.

OK. Xavi, now that we're talking about... about food, about foods, I'd like to ask you a question.

Captions 23-24, Carlos y Xavi Part 3 Diferencias de vocabulario entre España y Colombia

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For more information about and examples of the present progressive tense in Spanish, check out this lesson as well as this video that contrasts the use of the simple present with the present progressive. Now that we've seen a couple of the present verb tenses in Spanish, let's check out some of the Spanish past tenses. 

 

2. Imperfect (Pretérito imperfecto)

The imperfect is one of the Spanish past tenses and talks about an action that was ongoing or habitual in the past or that was in progress and/or interrupted in the moment described. Translations for the imperfect in Spanish for the verb hablar could thus include "used to talk," "would talk," or "was talking." Let's take a look at couple of examples:

 

Bueno, cuando yo era pequeña hablaba con la ficha de Einstein.

Well, when I was little, I used to talk to the Einstein card.

Caption 36, La Familia Cheveroni Capítulo 1 - Part 3

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Ya que estás, contanos a los dos... ¿De qué hablaban?

Now that you're here, tell us both... What were you talking about?

Caption 2, Muñeca Brava 45 El secreto - Part 6

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To learn more about the imperfect tense in Spanish, check out this lesson entitled: The Imperfect Tense in Spanish: The Past That Just Won't Quit

 

***BONUS TENSE: Past Progressive (Pasado continuo)*** 

The past equivalent of the present progressive tense is the past progressive tense, which emphasizes that an action in the past was in progress. As with the present and present progressive tenses, while the imperfect tense in Spanish can sometimes be translated with the past progressive in English ("I was eating," "You were running," etc.), the past progressive tense in Spanish is always translated in this fashion, with "was" or "were" plus a verb's gerund. It is formed in the same way as the present progressive except that the verb estar is conjugated in the imperfect tense:

 

Le hemos despistado. -Porque estaba hablando

We've confused her. -Because she was talking.

Caption 59, Jugando a la Brisca En la calle

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3. Preterite (Pretérito indefinido)

The preterite is another one of the Spanish past tenses. In contrast to the imperfect tense, the preterite tense in Spanish describes past actions that have been completed. It could be compared with verbs ending in -ed in English (e.g. "He fished," "We traveled," etc.). Let's see an example:

 

Pero claro, en Televisión Española me hablaron de Gastón Almanza

But of course, at Spanish Television they talked to me about Gaston Almanza

Caption 13, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 3 - Part 10

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The preterite is also used for past actions that interrupted other actions in progress, which would often be conjugated in the imperfect, as in the following example:

 

Yo hablaba por teléfono cuando mi novio me habló con una voz muy alta. 

I was talking on the phone when my boyfriend talked to me in a very loud voice. 

 

To find out more about the preterite tense, we recommend this lesson from our Yabla lesson archives. 

 

4. Future (Futuro simple)

The future tense in Spanish is pretty straightforward; it talks about something we "will" do in the future. Let's take a look: 

 

Hoy hablaremos de las preposiciones de lugar.

Today, we will talk about prepositions of place.

Caption 9, Ana Carolina Preposiciones de lugar

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Interestingly, sometimes the Spanish future tense is used in situations where English speakers would employ "would" to imply disbelief: 

 

¿Y tú me hablarás de esta manera?

And you'd talk to me like that? 

 

5. Simple Conditional (Condicional simple)

So, what about the Spanish conditional tenses? The simple conditional tense is the typical Spanish equivalent of saying one "would" do something in English, often in a hypothetical situation:

 

Bueno, si yo fuera tú, hablaría con él.

Well, if I were you, I would speak with him.

Caption 24, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: Subjuntivo y condicional

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This tense is often, but not always, seen in conjunction with the imperfect subjunctive tense (fuera, or "I were" in the example above), which we will cover in part two of this lesson, to specify that if some hypothetical situation "were" in place, something else "would" happen.  

 

6. Present Perfect (Pretérito perfecto)

Although this tense is called the present perfect in English, its Spanish name is préterito perfecto ("preterite perfect" or "past perfect"), and it is the Spanish past tense used to say that one "has done" something within a specific time period, which could be anything from that day to one's life. It is formed with the verb haber, which is translated as "has" or "have" in English, along with the participle form of the verb (which will typically have the suffix -ado or -ido in Spanish and -ed or -en in English). Let's take a look:

 

El día de hoy, hemos hablado de artículos que utilizamos al día a día

Today, we've talked about items we use every day

Caption 41, Ana Carolina Artículos de aseo personal

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Interestingly, in Spain, the present perfect is often used to describe things that happened in the recent past in situations in which English speakers would use the simple past and Latin Americans would more likely use the preterite. This usage can be seen quite clearly throughout this video from El Aula Azul. Let's take a look at an excerpt:

 

Pero cuando ha salido de clase, cuando hemos terminado la clase, ha ido a coger el coche, y resulta que la ventanilla estaba rota.

But when she's left class, when we've finished the class, she's gone to get her car, and it turns out that the window was broken.

Captions 12-14, El Aula Azul Conversación: Un día de mala suerte

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Although the translators at Yabla chose to translate this tense literally in this video to facilitate the learning of the present perfect tense, this sounds quite awkward in English, where a native speaker would probably say: "But when she left class, when we finished the class, she went to get her car, and it turns out that the window was broken."

 

In this video, Carlos provides an even more thorough explanation about when to use this tense as part of a useful four-part series on the different past tenses in Spanish. 

 

7. Pluperfect (Pretérito pluscuamperfecto)

The pluperfect is the past equivalent of the present perfect tense. It is formed with the imperfect conjugation of the verb haber and the participle form of the infinitive. It is often used to describe things we "had" already done when something else occurred.

 

que no era tan escandalosa como... como la gente había hab'... había hablado al principio.

That it wasn't as scandalous as... as the people had sa'... had said in the beginning.

Captions 41-42, Los Juegos Olímpicos Pablo Herrera

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8. Past Anterior (Pretérito anterior)

Also known as the preterite perfect, the past anterior tense is extremely similar to the pluperfect tense but employs the preterite conjugation of the verb haber plus the participle. It is used more commonly in literature and less in everyday speech. While we couldn't find an example of this tense with the verb hablar, we did find one with the verb coger (to grab): 

 

Apenas lo hubo cogido, el niño se despertó.

He'd barely grabbed it, the little boy woke up.

Captions 46-47, Chus recita poemas Antonio Machado

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Just in case you were wondering, an example sentence with the verb hablar might be: Yo ya hube hablado con mi maestra antes del examen (I had already spoken to my teacher before the test), and there would be no difference in translation between this sentence and the same sentence with the verb conjugated in its pluperfect form (Yo ya había hablado con mi maestra antes del examen).

 

9. Future Perfect (Futuro compuesto)

If one said, Yo ya habré hablado con el chico por teléfono antes de conocerlo cara a cara (I will have already spoken to the guy on the phone before meeting him face to face), he or she would be employing the future perfect tense, which includes the future tense conjugation of the verb haber plus the participle. This conveys the English construction "will have." Let's take a look at an example of this tense from the Yabla Spanish library:

 

Ay, ¿por qué se me habrá ocurrido comer bandeja paisa antes de que me encerraran, ah?

Oh, why would it have occurred to me to eat "bandeja paisa" [a Colombian dish] before they locked me up, huh?

Captions 27-28, La Familia Cheveroni Capítulo 1 - Part 3

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In this example, we see that, similarly to the future tense, the future perfect tense can also be used to express disbelief, and it is translated with the English word "would" (rather than "will") in such cases. 

 

10. Conditional Perfect (Condicional compuesto)

The conditional perfect tense in Spanish is the equivalent of saying "would have" in English. It utilizes the conditional form of the verb haber plus the participle to talk about what one "would have" done or what "would have" happened in a hypothetical situation:

 

Seguro que a él sí le habrían aceptado las invitaciones.

Surely they would have accepted his invitations.

Caption 24, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 6 - Part 5

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An example with the verb hablar would be: Si lo pudiera hacer otra vez, habría hablado con el chico que me gustaba (If I could do it again, I'd have spoken to the guy I liked). Yabla's lesson, "Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda," expands upon the conditional perfect tense and more.

 

***ADDITIONAL BONUS TENSES: The Progressives*** 

Once you know all Spanish tenses in the indicative mood, you could also conjugate the verb estar in its many tenses to come up with additional progressive tenses, as follows:

 

Preterite Progressive (Pretérito continuo): Yo estuve hablando (I was talking)

Conditional Progressive (Condicional continuo): Yo estaría hablando (I would be talking)

Future Progressive (Futuro continuo): Yo estaré hablando (I will be talking)

 

We could even apply this to the compound tenses we learned:

 

Present Perfect Progressive (Pretérito perfecto continuo): Yo he estado hablando (I have been talking)

Pluperfect Progressive (Pretérito pluscuamperfecto continuo): Yo había estado hablando (I had been talking)

Conditional Perfect Progressive (Condicional compuesto continuo)Yo habría estado hablando (I would have been talking)

Future Perfect Progressive (Futuro compuesto continuo): Yo habré estado hablando (I will have been talking)

 

That was a lot of Spanish verb tenses!!! And that was just the first ten verb tenses in Spanish! Part two of this lesson will deal with the verb tenses in Spanish in the other two "moods," subjunctive and imperative. In the meantime, we hope you enjoyed part one of this lesson on Spanish verb tenses... and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

 

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What Is the Present Progressive in Spanish?

How do we talk about an action in progress in Spanish? We use the Spanish present progressive tense, which we'll explore in this lesson.

 

The Spanish Present Progressive Tense

What is present progressive in Spanish? Simply put, the present progressive tense in Spanish describes actions that are unfolding as we speak, at this moment. Also called the present progressive, its English equivalent includes some form of the verb "to be" in present tense along with the gerund, or -ing form, of a verb. Some examples include: "I'm reading," "You are watching TV," or "We are eating dinner." The Spanish present progressive, which we'll learn to conjugate, takes a very similar form. 

 

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Simple Present vs. Present Progressive in Spanish

So, when exactly do we use the present progressive tense in Spanish? And, what's the difference between the simple present and the Spanish present progressive? This can be a bit confusing since there is some overlap in terms of their English translations at times. Let's take a look:

 

¿Qué hacés vos acá?

What are you doing here?

-¿Cómo qué hagoCorro

-What do you mean, what am I doingI'm running.

Captions 65-66, Cuatro Amigas - Piloto

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Although, much like the present progressive, the simple present tense in Spanish can sometimes be translated into English using the -ing form to say that one "is doing" something in the present, the Spanish simple present tense is also used to describe actions one does on a habitual basis:

 

¿Y los sábados y domingos, qué haces

And on Saturdays and Sundays, what do you do?

Caption 19, Español para principiantes - Los días de la semana

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That said, if you really want to emphasize and/or remove any doubt that an action is in progress or happening at this moment, it's necessary to use the Spanish present progressive:

 

Silvia, ¿qué estás haciendo?

Silvia, what are you doing?

-Estoy cocinando

-I'm cooking.

Captions 31-32, El Aula Azul - Actividades diarias: En casa con Silvia

 Play Caption

 

In fact, this last caption is from a video by El Aula Azul that simply and clearly demonstrates the difference between the simple present tense and the present progressive tense in Spanish. 

 

How to Form the Spanish Present Progressive 

Now that you know when to use the present progressive in Spanish, let's learn how to conjugate present progressive verbs in Spanish. To start, let's review (or learn!) the simple present conjugation of the verb estar (to be), which will convey the idea of "am" or "are":

 

Yo estoy (I am)

 estás (You are)

Él/ella/usted está (He, she is/you are)

Nosotros/nosotras estamos (We are)

Vosotros/vosotras estáis (You are [plural])

Ellos/ellas/ustedes están (They/you [plural] are)

 

Next, we'll need to break up infinitive Spanish verbs into two categories, verbs that end in -ar and verbs that end in either -er or -ir, in order to form their gerunds (gerundios).

 

Conjugating -ar verbs in the Spanish Present Progressive 

 

To form the gerund for regular -ar verbs, we'll take the verb's stem (the part before the -ar) and add the suffix -ando. For example, for hablar (to talk), we take the stem habl- and add -ando to get hablando. Let's take a look at a few examples of regular -ar verbs in the present progressive tense in Spanish:

 

Entonces, en este momento, ¿veis?,

So, right now, you see?

está hablando con su madre por teléfono.

He's talking to his mom on the phone.

Captions 60-61, Clase Aula Azul - Información con subjuntivo e indicativo

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Eh... estoy buscando a Milagros.

Um... I am looking for Milagros.

Caption 6, Muñeca Brava - 39 Verdades

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Estamos caminando aquí en Bleeker Street

We are walking here on Bleeker Street

Caption 72, Eljuri - "Fuerte" EPK

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Conjugating -er  and -ir verbs in the Spanish Present Progressive 

 

Conjugating regular -er and -ir verbs in the present progressive Spanish tense is just as easy! Simply take the stem (remove the -er or -ir) and add the suffix -iendo.  Thus, for correr (to run), we have corr- plus -iendo to get corriendo, and for vivir (to live), we take viv- plus -iendo for viviendo. Let's look at a few more examples: 

 

¿Por qué estás comiendo basura?

Why are you eating garbage?

Caption 9, Kikirikí - Agua

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Está subiendo, está subiendo la rama.

He's climbing, he's climbing the branch.

Caption 98, Animales en familia - Un día en Bioparc: Coatís

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¿Dónde estáis vendiendo aceite?

Where are you selling oil?

Caption 1, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa

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Irregular Verbs in the Present Progressive in Spanish

Although the Spanish present progressive tense is arguably one of the easier verbs to learn to conjugate in Spanish, there are some irregular verbs, of course, which fall into a few categories. Let's examine those categories of verbs with irregular conjugations in the Spanish present progressive. 

 

1. -Er and -ir verbs with a vowel before the ending

 

Verbs with the endings -aer, -eer, -oir, and -uir change from -iendo to -yendo in the Spanish present progressive. Here are some examples:

 

traer: trayendo (to bring/bringing) 

caer: cayendo (to fall/falling)

leer: leyendo (to read/reading)

creer: creyendo (to believe/believing)

construir: construyendo (to build/building)

huir: huyendo (to escape/escaping)

oír: oyendo (to hear/hearing)

 

Interestingly, the present progressive form of the verb ir (to go) is also yendo:

 

Sí, me venía a despedir porque ya me estoy yendo.

Yes, I came to say goodbye because I'm leaving now.

Caption 90, Muñeca Brava - 39 Verdades

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2. Stem-changing verbs in the present tense (-e to -ie or -i)

 

Some verbs that change stems in the Spanish simple present tense also have an irregular form in the Spanish present progressive. Verbs whose stems change from -e to -ie (e.g. sentir becomes yo siento, tú sientes, etc.) or -e to -i (vestir changes to yo visto, tú vistes, etc.) tend to change stems from an -e to an -i in the Spanish present progressive as well, while maintaining the suffix -iendo. Let's take a look at some common examples:

 

sentir: sintiendo (to feel/feeling)

preferir: prefiriendo (to prefer/preferring) 

mentir: mintiendo (to lie/lying)

vestir: vistiendo (to dress/dressing)

seguir: siguiendo (to follow/following)

conseguir: consiguiendo (to get/getting)

 

3. Stem-changing verbs in the present tense (-o to -ue)

 

On the other hand, verbs that change from an -o to a -ue in the simple present often change from an -o to a -u in the Spanish present progressive while maintaining their regular ending (-iendo). Examples include poder ("to be able," which morphs into yo puedotú​ puedes, etc.), dormir ("to sleep," which becomes yo duermotú​ duermes, etc.), and morir ("to die," which transforms to yo muero, tú​ mueres, etc.). Let's look:

 

poder: pudiendo (to be able/being able)

dormir: durmiendo (to sleep/sleeping)

morir: muriendo (to die/dying) 

 

4. -Ir verbs that change from -e to -i in the simple present and end in -eír

 

Verbs in this fourth category also change from -to -i in the simple present (e.g. reír, or "to laugh," becomes yo río, tú ríes, etc.) but also have an -before the -ir ending. In this case, the -is dropped, while the ending -iendo is maintained, as follows: 

 

reír: riendo (to laugh/laughing)

sonreír: sonriendo (to smile/smiling)

freír: friendo (to fry/frying) 

 

The aforementioned irregular verbs in the present progressive in Spanish by no means constitute an exhaustive list, and although the rules that dictate which verbs are irregular might seem daunting, with increased exposure to Spanish, conjugating such irregular verbs in the present progressive in Spanish should become intuitive in no time! 

 

Irregular Spanish Present Progressive Verbs in Action 

 

Let's conclude today's lesson by looking at an example from each of the aforementioned categories of irregular present progressive verbs in Spanish:

 

Ellos están construyendo la puerta de entrada al santuario de burros.

They're building the entry gate to the donkey sanctuary.

Caption 25, Amaya - Voluntarios

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Esa mujer nos está mintiendo y quiero saber por qué.

That woman is lying to us and I want to know why.

Caption 42, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 4

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¡Aldo, tu hermano se está muriendo

Aldo, your brother is dying,

y a vos lo único que te interesa es la herencia!

and the only thing that interests you is the inheritance!

Caption 63, Yago - 3 La foto

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Se está riendo de todos nosotros.

He's laughing at all of us.

Caption 28, Los casos de Yabla - Problemas de convivencia

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That's all for today. For more information on the present progressive Spanish tense, check out our latest video from El Aula Azul on that very topic! And don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

 

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The Imperfect Tense in Spanish: The Past That Just Won't Quit

What is the imperfect tense in Spanish? In contrast to the Spanish preterite, or simple past tense, which typically describes completed actions in the past, the imperfect tense in Spanish depicts past actions that were carried out regularly, over a longer period of time, or were in progress at a specified point. In addition to these uses of the imperfect tense in Spanish, there are other specific contexts in which it is necessary to use this tense, many of which we hope to illuminate for you today. 

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When Do You Use Imperfect Tense in Spanish? 

Let's take a look at some situations in which it is necessary to use the Spanish imperfect tense.

 

1. To Describe Habitual Actions in the Past

 

The imperfect tense in Spanish distinguishes actions that occurred on a habitual basis in the past from isolated incidents. Let's begin to understand this by examining how this idea might be expressed in English:

 

When I was young, I used to visit my grandparents every summer.

 

When I was young, I would visit my grandparents every summer.

 

When I was young, I visited my grandparents every summer. 

 

Interestingly, all of these English sentences could be translated to Spanish using the same sentence in the imperfect tense: "Cuando yo era joven, visitaba a mis abuelos todos los veranos." This is because, despite their structural differences, they all mean the same thing: that the speaker would regularly visit his or her grandparents in the past. 

 

Armed with this idea that the imperfect tense in Spanish can encompass various English constructions, let's take a look at some additional examples of sentences with verbs in the imperfect tense:

 

Cuentan los cronistas que veían desfilar a las tropas

The chroniclers tell that they would see the troops parading,

bajando desde lo que era el Cuartel de San Telmo

coming down from what used to be the San Telmo Barracks

hasta lo que hoy es conocido como el Bulevar donostiarra, 

to what is known today as the "Bulevar donostiarra"

Captions 26-28, Días festivos - La Tamborrada de San Sebastián

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eh... -Sí. -... practicaba fútbol.

um... -Yes. -...I used to play soccer.

Caption 27, Club 10 - Capítulo 2

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In this second example, although an English speaker might say either, "Oh! I used to play soccer too!" or "Oh! I played soccer too!" to talk about something he or she did regularly at a previous juncture, the Spanish language would always employ the imperfect tense to distinguish this as a habitual action in the past. In contrast, if the speaker had just completed a game of soccer yesterday, he would instead use the preterite tense:

 

Ayer practiqué fútbol.

I played soccer yesterday. 

 

All that said, at the moment of constructing a sentence, in order to decide when to use the imperfect tense in Spanish, an English speaker must consider whether a past action took place just once or over an extended period, in which case it will be necessary to choose the imperfect tense. 

 

 

2. To Describe Incomplete or Interrupted Actions in the Past 

 

The imperfect tense in Spanish is also used to describe past actions that were incomplete or interrupted at the depicted moment. Let's take a look:

 

Vi que me acompañaba, mientras yo cantaba. -Sí.

I saw that you were accompanying me while I was singing. -Yes.

Caption 28, Yago - 1 La llegada

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Notice that imperfect verbs that describe past actions in progress are most commonly (but again, not always) expressed in English in the past progressive tense, e.g., "You were accompanying," "I was singing," etc. The same can be said of interrupted past actions, where the action in progress is conjugated in the imperfect tense in Spanish, while the interrupting action is in the preterite tense:

 

OK, o sea que vos pensás

OK, in other words, you think

que yo iba por la calle y de repente

that I was going down the street and suddenly,

conocí a una chica y la llevé a una obra en construcción

I met a girl and took her to a construction site

para seducirla.

to seduce her.

Captions 22-23, Muñeca Brava - 45 El secreto

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Me sentía perdido hasta que un día me llegó un email.

I was feeling lost until, one day, I got an email.

Caption 24, Con ánimo de lucro - Cortometraje

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Notably, although the Spanish past progressive tense can also be used to describe incomplete or interrupted actions in some cases (e.g. Yo cocinaba cuando mi marido llegó a casa and Yo estaba cocinando cuando mi marido llegó a casa both mean "I was cooking when my husband got home"), in our examples above, the imperfect tense in Spanish would be the more likely choice. 

 

3. To Describe Conditions and Characteristics

 

Since they tend to be ongoing, rather than having a definite beginning or end, the imperfect tense in Spanish is additionally used to describe physical and other characteristics of people or things in the past.

 

Tenía una barba blanca que le llegaba hasta la cintura

He had a white beard that went down to his waist

y una larga cabellera.

and long hair.

Tenía además una corona dorada y vestía un manto blanco.

He also had a golden crown and wore a white robe.

Captions 12-14, Aprendiendo con Carlos - América precolombina - El mito de Bochica

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Pero no era la... mi... la Connie, mi esposa,

But it wasn't the... my... Connie, my wife,

sino era la otra, la rubia,

but rather it was the other one, the blonde,

que era muy bonita de ojos azules. 

who was very pretty with blue eyes.

Captions 29-30, Gonzalo el Pintor - Vida

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In this second example, it is notable that, even though the third person singular form of the verb ser (to be) in its preterite form (fue) can also be translated as "was" in some cases, the imperfect tense in Spanish is the correct manner of talking about traits in the past. The imperfect is also the preferred tense for describing past states of being, as in the following example:
 

Tenía su pata rota.

His leg was broken.

Esta pata de aquí, la tenía rota.

This leg here, it was broken.

Captions 17-18, Amaya - La historia de Lukas

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This descriptive nature of the imperfect tense in Spanish makes it ideal for explaining "how things were," or "setting the scene" in literature, which is the focus of this additional Yabla lesson on the imperfect tense. 
 

4. To Talk About Age

 
Since age can also be thought of as characteristic rather than something that "occurs" in a given moment, the imperfect tense in Spanish is used to talk about it in past tense: 
 

Desde cuando tenía doce años, más o menos. 

Since I was twelve years old, more or less.

Caption 13, Encuentro Volkswagen en Adícora - Escarabajos en la playa

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4. To Talk About Dates and Time

 

Additionally, since "setting the scene" might entail recounting what day or time it "was," dates and times must be described in the Spanish imperfect tense:

 

Eran las cinco de la tarde.

It was five o'clock in the evening. 

 

ya que recuerdo que hacía un calor terrible,

as I remember that it was terribly hot,

aunque todavía era el mes de junio

despite the fact that it was still the month of June,

Captions 38-39, Fermín y los gatos - Mi gata Poeska

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5. To Talk About Feelings

 

The imperfect tense in Spanish is also utilized to speak about emotions in the past:

 

Un poquito y ajá, y estaba triste porque dejaba

A little bit, and uh-huh, and I was sad because I was leaving

mi familia y eso y ya.

my family and all that and that's it.

Caption 70, Cleer - Entrevista a Lila

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Todos en la casa estaban muy emocionados

Everyone in the house was very excited,

Caption 17, Cuentos de hadas - Cenicienta

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The Imperfect Tense in Spanish: Final Thoughts 

So... when do you use the imperfect tense in Spanish? We hope that this lesson has made it more clear that, in contrast to the Spanish preterite tense, the Spanish imperfect is reserved for past events that "kept on going" for an extended period. For more examples of imperfect tense in Spanish, we recommend Carlos' video on this topic, where he explores not only when to use imperfect tense in Spanish, but also how to conjugate its regular and some of its most common irregular forms.

 

That's all for today, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

 

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Spanish Reflexive Verbs for Your Daily Routine

What are reflexive verbs in Spanish? A reflexive verb is a verb in which the subject (person or thing that completes the action) and object (person or thing that receives the action) are one in the same. In other words, the action "reflects back" onto the subject, or entails something one does to or for him or herself. It is no wonder then, that many of the things we "do to ourselves" in our daily routines (e.g. shaving ourselves, washing ourselves, etc.) fall into the category of reflexive Spanish verbs. 

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Recognizing Spanish Reflexive Verbs 

 

How can we recognize Spanish reflexive verbs? The main way to distinguish reflexive verbs in Spanish is by the fact that they all end in the pronoun se in their infinitive form. To take a very simple example, while the verb hablar means "to talk," hablarse is a reflexive verb meaning "to talk to oneself." However, the translations for reflexive verbs in Spanish aren't always so straightforward. 

 

As we often say just "I shave" or "I wash" in lieu of "I shave/wash myself," the English translations of Spanish reflexive verbs won't always include pronouns like "myself," "yourself," etc. In other cases, the meanings of verbs like parecer (to seem) completely change in their reflexive forms (parecerse means "to look like"). And so, as there are a lot more reflexive verbs in Spanish than in English, many of which may not "seem" reflexive, with increased exposure to Spanish, we will learn which English concepts are expressed with Spanish reflexive verbs.

 

Conjugating Spanish Reflexive Verbs: Reflexive Pronouns

 

To conjugate reflexive verbs in Spanish, we must memorize the reflexive pronouns that correspond to each personal pronoun: yo (I), tú (you), etc.. Reflexive pronouns are most often placed before the verb, which is conjugated "as usual" (in the same way as its non-reflexive form). To demonstrate this, let's take a look at the reflexive pronouns and the simple present conjugation of the regular verb hablar. We will then show you the conjugation of its reflexive form (hablarse).

 

Personal Pronoun Reflexive Pronoun Hablar Hablarse
yo me hablo me hablo
te hablas te hablas
él, ella, usted se habla se habla
nosotros/as nos hablamos nos hablamos
vosotros/as os habláis os habláis
ellos/as, ustedes se hablar se hablan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Reflexive Verbs in Spanish for Your Daily Routine

 

Now that you know the Spanish reflexive pronouns and how to conjugate reflexive Spanish verbs, let's take a look at some examples of reflexive verbs in Spanish for describing things that many of us do on a daily basis, with lots of instances from our Yabla video library as always! Here is our list of Spanish reflexive verbs for your daily routine: 

 

1. Despertarse

 

The Spanish reflexive verb despertarse means "to wake up":

 

y por la mañana me despierto entre seis y cuarenta y cinco a siete y cuarto. 

and in the morning I wake up between six forty-five and seven fifteen.

Caption 62, Los médicos explican - Diagnóstico: nervios y estrés

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2. Levantarse

 

After waking up, the next step might be levantarse ("to get up" or "get out of bed"):

 

Se levanta muy temprano. 

She gets up very early.

Caption 51, El Aula Azul - Las Profesiones

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In other contexts, the reflexive Spanish verb levantarse could also mean, among other things, "to stand up" or "get up," as from a seat, or even "to rise up against," as in a rebellion. 

 

3. Bañarse

 

The Spanish noun baño means "bath," and the verb bañarse can mean "to take a bath" as well. However, as bañarse can also be the more general "to bathe," a person might even use this verb to express the fact that they are taking a shower! Let's look at an example of this reflexive Spanish verb: 

 

Uno se baña todos los días, mijita.

One bathes every day, my girl.

Caption 41, Muñeca Brava - 33 El partido

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On the other hand, if a person at the beach expresses their desire to bañarse, rather than wanting to wash the sand off of themselves, they are letting you know they would like to take a dip! The Spanish reflexive verb bañarse can also mean "to go swimming," a translation that often comes as a surprise to English speakers:

 

No hay muchas olas grandes como en Atacames.

There aren't many big waves like in Atacames.

Es más tranquilo para bañarse.

It's more peaceful to go swimming.

Captions 62-63, Pipo - Un paseo por la playa de Atacames

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4. Ducharse

 

In the morning, at night, or after the beach, indeed, one might need to ducharse (to take a shower):

 

¿Qué está haciendo Silvia?

What is Silvia doing?

Silvia se está duchando.

Silvia is taking a shower.

Captions 11-12, El Aula Azul - Actividades diarias: En casa con Silvia

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Note that, in this example, the verb ducharse is conjugated in the present progressive tense. As with the present indicative and all other tenses, verbs are conjugated in the exact same way as they would be were they non-reflexive, with the addition of the appropriate reflexive pronoun. 

 

5. Lavarse

 

The reflexive verb in Spanish lavarse generally means "to wash (oneself)." Let's look at an example: 

 

Por ejemplo, "Yo me lavo".

For example, "Yo me lavo" [I wash myself].

La acción recae sobre la persona

The action falls back upon the person

que realiza la acción.

who carries out the action.

Pero, "Yo lavo los platos".

But, "Yo lavo los platos" [I wash the dishes].

Captions 45-48, Lecciones con Carolina - Verbos reflexivos

 Play Caption

 

In this informative video about Spanish reflexive verbs, Yabla fan favorite Carolina explains the difference between reflexive and non-reflexive verbs, in this case the verbs lavar (to wash) and lavarse (to wash oneself). Let's look at an additional example: 

 

Yo me lavo las manos. Tú te lavas las manos.

I wash my hands. You wash your hands.

Captions 19-20, Fundamentos del Español - 9 - Verbos Reflexivos

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Unlike in English, where we express the idea of washing one's hands or some other body part with a possessive pronoun (my, your, etc.), this is not the case in Spanish. Instead, we use the definite article for the noun in question, manos (hands), in this case, las (the). Because the reflexive pronoun already indicates that the action is something we do to ourselves, it would be redundant in Spanish to say: Yo me lavo mis manos. As the correct way to express this is "Yo me lavo las manos," it might help you to remember the literal but non-sensical translation: "I wash myself the hands."

 

That said, let's move on to something else that's expressed with the notion of "washing" in Spanish: lavarse los dientes (to brush one's teeth). 

 

6. Lavarse/cepillarse los dientes

 

Lavarse los dientes (literally "to wash one's teeth") is one of saying "to brush one's teeth" in Spanish: 

 

Después, ehm... suelo lavarme los dientes en el baño,

After that, um... I usually brush my teeth in the bathroom,

Caption 3, El Aula Azul - Actividades Diarias

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Different countries, regions, or individuals might instead use cepillarse los dientes, which also means "to brush one's teeth." Let's check out an example in the preterite tense: 

 

Se cepilló los dientes,

He brushed his teeth,

Caption 20, Aprendiendo con Carlos - El microrrelato

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7. Cepillarse el pelo/cabello

 

By extension, the noun el cepillo means "the brush," and we might have a cepillo de dientes (toothbrush) as well as a cepillo de pelo/cabello (hair brush), as in the following caption:

 

Sí... -¿Qué necesitamos para ir allí?

Yes... -What do we need to go there?

El cepillo de dientes.

A toothbrush.

El cepillo del pelo.

A hair brush.

Captions 49-51, Un Viaje a Mallorca - Planificando el viaje

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So, you've probably surmised by now that the verb cepillarse el pelo/cabello means "to brush one's hair."

 

8. Peinarse

 

The verb peinarse can mean "to comb one's hair" with a comb (un peine), "to brush one's hair," or "to do" or "style" one's hair in general:

 

Por eso paró en la playa

That's why she stopped on the beach

para mirarse en el espejo y peinarse.

to look at herself in the mirror and comb her hair.

Captions 21-22, Guillermina y Candelario - Mi Amiga la Sirena

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9. Afeitarse

 

Afeitarse is the verb for "to shave" (oneself, of course)!

 

Vos sabés lo que es todas las mañanas...

Do you know what it's like every morning...

mirarse en el espejo cuando uno se afeita

to look at oneself in the mirror when one's shaving,

Captions 30-31, Muñeca Brava - 8 Trampas

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10. Maquillarse

 

The next step in one's morning routine might be maquillarse (to put on makeup):

 

Aquí, siempre me maquillo para mis conciertos.

Here, I always put on makeup for my concerts.

Caption 47, Ariana - Mi Casa

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Alternatively, one might say Aquí, siempre me pinto para mis conciertos, as pintarse (literally "to paint oneself") also means "to put on makeup." 

 

11. Vestirse

 

Vestirse is the way to say "to get dressed" in Spanish. 

 

Yo salgo y... y te vistes.

I'll leave and... and you get dressed.

Caption 30, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 2

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Another way to say this might be ponerse la ropa (to put on one's clothes). 

 

12. Sacarse la ropa

 

Although sacarse la ropa is one manner of saying "to get undressed" or "take off one's clothes," there are many other examples of reflexive verbs in Spanish that mean the same thing, including: quitarse la ropa, desvestirse, and desnudarse. Let's look at a couple of examples: 

 

Si "Libertinaje" te saca...

If "Libertinaje" takes off your.....

te invita a sacarte la ropa,

invites you to take off your clothes,

Captions 4-5, Bersuit Vergarabat - EPK

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Y se desnuda poco a poco y se convierte en tu piel

And she gets naked little by little and she becomes your skin

Caption 6, Reik - Inolvidable

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As you can see, the more literal "to get naked" might be an alternate translation for desnudarse. 

 

13. Acostarse 

 

We're finally getting to the end of our daily routine, when it's time for us to acostarnos (go to bed): 

 

Tranquilícese, vaya a acostarse y deje de pensar en imposibles.

Calm down, go to bed, and stop thinking about impossible things.

Caption 31, Muñeca Brava - 48 - Soluciones

 Play Caption

 

14. Dormirse

 

And finally, once in bed, it's time to fall asleep! While the non-reflexive dormir means "to sleep," dormirse means "to fall asleep." 

 

Me dormí pensando en ti; pensando en ti, me desperté

I fell asleep thinking about you; thinking about you, I woke up

Caption 10, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa

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More Reflexive Verbs in Spanish 

 

Of course, this is just a partial list of reflexive verbs in Spanish that might be applicable to our daily routines. There are a lot more common reflexive verbs in Spanish that describe things one might do on a daily basis, including secarse (to dry oneself off), sentarse (to sit down), sentirse (to feel), emocionarse (to get excited), encontrarse con alguien (to meet with someone), acordarse de (to remember), olvidarse (to forget), sonreírse (to smile), reírse (to laugh), despedirse (to say goodbye), irse (to leave), and many, many more! 

 

For additional information on Spanish reflexive verbs, check out this video from the series Fundamentos del Español. And don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.

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The Preterite Conjugation of Regular Spanish Verbs

Let's talk about the Spanish conjugation of regular verbs. In particular, let's see how to form the preterite conjugation of regular verbs ending in -ar, -er, and -ir. But first, let's review the main idea behind the preterite tense in Spanish.

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The Preterite Tense in Spanish

In very simple terms, when we talk about the Spanish preterite tense, we are talking about the simple past, in other words, a completed action that took place at a determined point in the past. Let's look at an example from the series where our friend Carlos talks about this tense:

 

Ayer trabajé hasta las ocho de la noche.

Yesterday I worked until eight at night.

Caption 30, Carlos explica - El pretérito Cap. 1: Perfecto simple o Indefinido

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In this example, trabajé is the preterite conjugation of the regular verb trabajar for the first-person singular yo (I). Note that the only change necessary to form the preterite in this example is removing the -ar ending of the infinitive verb and replacing it with the ending 

 

A Note About the Conjugations in This Lesson

There are a couple of things we want to mention about the conjugations you will find throughout this tutorial.

 

1. While usted (the formal, second-person singular "you") does not appear in our conjugation lists, keep in mind that when using that pronoun, the verb is conjugated in the exact same way as verbs in the third-person singular forms with él (he) and ella (she). Let's take a look at this in action with the preterite conjugation of the verb hablar (to speak/talk):

 

Usted habló de Fabio Sirenio.

You talked about Fabio Sirenio.

Caption 83, Yago - 7 Encuentros - Part 14

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Entonces él habló con...

So, he spoke with...

con los pescadores y los pescadores aceptaron.

with the fishermen and the fishermen accepted.

Caption 17, Instinto de conservación - Parque Tayrona

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2. In order to offer a more simplistic verb conjugation snapshot, in this article, we only employ the masculine versions of the plural forms nosotros (we), vosotros (you), and ellos (they). That said, keep in mind that the conjugations are the same for the feminine forms nosotras, vosotras, and ellas.

 

3. Just like ustedustedes (the standard second person plural "you" in Latin America and the formal second person plural in Spain) does not appear among the conjugations shared here. However, keep in mind that the conjugations of verbs with "ustedes" are the exact same as the third-person plural forms utilized with ellos and ellas (they). Let's look at an example of this with the preterite conjugation of the verb cantar (to sing):

 

Ustedes cantaron muy bien (You guys sang very well).

Ellos/Ellas cantaron muy bien (They sang very well).

 

Having said all this, let's explore the preterite conjugations of some regular verbs in Spanish.

 

The Preterite Conjugations of -AR Verbs

 

The Preterite Endings of -AR Verbs: (-é / -aste / -ó / -amos / -asteis / -aron)

Let's take a look at the preterite conjugation of the verb hablar (to speak).

 

Yo hablé (I spoke).

Tú hablaste (You spoke).

Él/Ella habló (He/She spoke).

Nosotros hablamos (We spoke).*

Vosotros hablasteis (You spoke).

Ellos hablaron (They spoke).

 

* It's important to note that because the verb conjugation for the first person plural "nosotros" (we) is the same for both the simple present and simple past tenses, the speaker's intention must be determined by context as follows: 

 

Nosotros estudiamos mucho todos los días (We study a lot every day).

Ayer nosotros estudiamos mucho (Yesterday, we studied a lot).

 

Examples of Preterite Conjugations with -AR Verbs:

 

Example 1.: The verb comprar (to buy)

 

¡Y compraste melones en vez de limones!*

And you bought melons instead of lemons!

Caption 16, Extr@: Extra en español - Ep. 2: Sam va de compras

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* Remember that pronouns are frequently omitted in Spanish. Thus, in the example above and without changing the meaning, one could say: "¡Y  compraste melones en vez de limones!" However, despite the fact that the speaker does not use the pronoun here, the -aste verb ending lets the listener know that the person referred to is "" (you).

 

Example 2.: The verb escuchar (to listen/hear)

 

La canción que escuchamos

The song that we heard

introduce la quinta parte del primer episodio.

introduces the fifth part of the first episode.

Caption 54, Carlos comenta - Los Años Maravillosos - La década de los 80 y música

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The Preterite Conjugations of -ER Verbs

 

The Preterite Endings of -ER Verbs: (-í / -iste / -ió / -imos / -isteis / -ieron).

Let's take a look at the preterite conjugation of the regular verb comer (to eat).

 

Yo comí (I ate).

Tú comiste (You ate).

Él/Ella com (He/She ate).

Nosotros comimos (We ate).

Vosotros comisteis (You ate).

Ellos comieron (They ate).

 

Examples of Preterite Conjugations with -ER Verbs:

 

Example 1.: The verb aprender (to learn)

 

...y aprendí que los pulpos pueden cambiar de color.

...and I learned that octopi can change color.

Caption 45, Guillermina y Candelario - La Señora Pulpo

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Example 2.: The verb vender (to sell)

 

Creo que vendimos unos quinientos dólares en unas...

I think we sold about five hundred dollars (worth) in about...

tres horas, dos horas.

three hours, two hours.

Captions 25-26, Un café con Julia - Año nuevo

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The Preterite Conjugations of -IR Verbs

 

The Preterite Endings of -IR Verbs: (-í / -iste / -ió / -imos / -isteis / -ieron)

Let's take a look at the preterite conjugation of the verb vivir (to live).

 

Yo viví (I lived).

Tú viviste (You lived).

Él/Ella viv (He/She lived).

Nosotros vivimos (We lived).

Vosotros vivisteis (You lived).

Ellos vivieron (They lived).

 

Examples of Preterite Conjugations with -IR Verbs:

 

Example 1.: The verb escribir (to write)

 

¿Por qué dices eso?

Why do you say that?

Porque una vez me escribiste

Because once you wrote to me

contándome que te casabas en Nueva York.

telling me that you were getting married in New York.

Captions 61-62, Yago - 6 Mentiras - Part 5

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Example 2.: The verb abrir (to open)

 

Primero, Lisa Bernal abrió la herida.

First, Lisa Bernal opened the wound.

Caption 61, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 6 - Part 4

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And with this example, we have reached the end of this lesson. But before we go, a little homework for you: go ahead and choose some other regular verbs and practice the Spanish conjugation of the preterite tense. Sooner or later, you will be able to master those preterite endings! We hope you enjoyed this lesson, and don't forget to leave us your comments and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!

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How to Use the Present Indicative in Spanish

Generally speaking, we use the present indicative in Spanish to talk about actions that are taking place at the moment (now). However, that's not the only use of it. Let's take a look at the following list so you can understand how to use the present indicative in Spanish.

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1. To talk about actions in the present

 

Actions that are taking place right at the moment (now):

 

¿Dónde están las chicas?

Where are the girls?

¿Las chicas? -Ajá.

The girls? -Uh-huh.

Lola y Ana. -Uh...

Lola and Ana. -Uh...

Lola y Ana viven aquí.

Lola and Ana live here.

Captions 26-29, Extr@: Extra en español - Ep. 1 - La llegada de Sam

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In the above sentence, you can see how the verbs estar (to be) and vivir (to live) are conjugated in the present indicative for the third person plural (las chicas/Lola y Ana/ellas... están/viven).

 

You can also talk about actions that take place over time:

 

Trabajo en un colegio.

I work at a school.

Soy maestra de música y de ciencias.

I'm a music and science teacher.

Captions 6-7, Ariana - Mi Casa

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In this example, you can see the verbs trabajar (to work) and ser (to be) conjugated in the present indicative for the first person singular (yo trabajo/soy).

 

IMPORTANT! Remember that in Spanish it is very common to drop the pronouns from the sentences. As you can see in the sentence above, Ariana doesn't say "yo trabajo" but rather only "trabajo".

 

2. To express absolute statements and facts as well as universal truths

 

En agosto, vamos a la playa.

In August, we go to the beach.

En septiembre, empieza el otoño.

In September, the fall begins.

Captions 21-22, El Aula Azul - Estaciones y Meses

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In the example above, we can see the present indicative of the verb ir (to go) in the first person plural (nosotros vamos) and the present indicative of the verb empezar (to begin) in the third person singular (el otoño empieza).

 

La Laguna de San Pablo está a los pies del imponente

The San Pablo Lagoon is at the foot of the imposing

Volcán Imbabura.

Imbabura Volcano.

Caption 13, Otavalo - Un día en la ciudad de los lagos

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In the example above, Natalia uses the present indicative of the verb estar for the third person singular (está) to state a fact.

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3. To talk about routines and repetitive actions

You can talk about daily activities and habitual actions using the present indicative:

 

De lunes a viernes, me levanto a las siete de la mañana.

From Monday to Friday, I get up at seven in the morning.

Caption 2, GoSpanish - La rutina diaria de Sol

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In the above clip, you can see how Sol uses the present indicative of the verb levantarse (yo me levanto) to express one of her habitual actions.

 

Dante y Mika vienen todos los días a trabajar conmigo

Dante and Mika come work with me every day

aquí al Refugio del Burrito.

here at the Little Donkey Shelter.

Caption 62, Rosa - La perrita Mika

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Similarly, Rosa uses the present indicative of the verb venir (to come) to describe something habitual. In this case, the verb is conjugated in the third person plural (Dante y Mika/ellos... vienen).

 

4. To talk about actions that will take place in the near future

 

Did you know that the present indicative can be used for things happening in the near future? Let's see some examples.

 

Le prometo que termino de morfar y... y salgo a laburar. Va a ver.

I promise you that I'll finish eating and... and go out to work. You'll see.

Caption 63, Yago - 8 Descubrimiento

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In this sentence, the speaker is using the present indicative of the verb salir (to go out) in order to express an action that will take place in the near future. Once he's done with his lunch, he will go out to work. The verb is conjugated in the first person singular (yo salgo).

 

Bueno, pues entonces, no hay que pensarlo más.

OK, well then, we don't have to think about it anymore.

Mañana hablamos con el jefe y desde la oficina

Tomorrow we'll talk to the boss and from the office

Captions 11-12, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 2

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In the previous example, you can fully appreciate how the present indicative of the verb hablar (to talk) is used to indicate an action that will take place tomorrow! This may be a bit weird for English speakers but it is a very common formula used by Spanish speakers. The verb is conjugated in the first person plural (nosotros hablamos).

 

Finally, it is worth mentioning that in journalism and the academic field, some people like to use the present indicative when referring to historical facts. Let's see the following example:

 

El Imperio romano cae en el año 476

The Roman Empire falls in the year 476

 

And that's it for today. We hope this lesson helped you to understand how to use the present indicative in Spanish. And don't forget to send us your comments and questions.

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The Conditional Tense in Spanish: Conjugation and Use

Generally speaking, we use the conditional tense in Spanish to talk about hypothetical things. However, we also use the conditional tense for polite requests or when we want to express wishes and desires. Let's take a look at some simple rules that will help you to master the conditional tense in Spanish.

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The conjugation of the conditional tense

Before talking about the uses of the conditinal tense, it is important to review how to conjugate it. Let's start with the regular verbs. For these verbs, you just need to take the infinitive form and add the conditional ending. 

 

Regular verbs ending in -ar

Let's take the verb hablar (to speak)

Yo hablaría (I would speak)

Tú hablarías (You would speak)

Él/Ella hablaría (He/She would speak)

Nosotros hablaríamos (We would speak)

Vosotros hablaríais (You would speak)

Ellos hablarían (They would speak)

 

Regular verbs ending in -er

Let's take the verb comer (to eat)

Yo comería (I would eat)

Tú comerías (You would eat)

Él/Ella comería (He/She would eat)

Nosotros comeríamos (We would eat)

Vosotros comeríais (You would eat)

Ellos comerían (They would eat)

 

Regular verbs ending in -ir

Let's take the verb abrir (to open)

Yo abriría (I would open)

Tú abrirías (You would open)

Él/Ella abriría (He/She would open)

Nosotros abriríamos (We would open)

Vosotros abriríais (You would open)

Ellos abrirían (They would open)

 

Irregular conditional verbs in Spanish

There are several irregular verbs that are used all the time in the conditional tense. For these verbs, you need to keep in mind that they maintain the same stem that they have in the future tense. Let's see the conjugation for the verbs decir (to say) and hacer (to make).

 

Yo diría (I would say)

Tú dirías (You would say)

Él/Ella diría (He/She would say)

Nosotros diríamos (We would say)

Vosotros diríais (You would say)

Ellos dirían (They would say)

 

Yo haría (I would make)

Tú harías (You would make)

Él/Ella haría (He/She would make)

Nosotros haríamos (We would make)

Vosotros haríais (You would make)

Ellos harían (They would make)

 

5 common uses of the conditional tense in Spanish

In Spanish, it is quite common to use the conditional tense when you want to do any of the following:

 

1. To ask for information in a polite way

 

¿Podrías por favor decirnos a los... a nuestros amigos de Yabla

Could you please tell us to the... to our friends from Yabla

en qué lugar están ustedes?

where you guys are?

Captions 66-67, Monsieur Periné - Entrevista

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2. To express a wish or desire

 

¿Te gustaría volver a tu ciudad?

Would you like to return to your city?

Pues la verdad es que me encantaría volver a Málaga.

Well the truth is that I would love to go back to Málaga.

Captions 33-34, Clara y Cristina - Saludar

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3. To make a suggestion

 

Bueno, si yo fuera tú, hablaría con él.

Well, if I were you, I would speak with him.

Caption 24, El Aula Azul - La Doctora Consejos: Subjuntivo y condicional

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4. To express a hypothesis or to take a guess

 

Cuatro horas es demasiado.

Four hours is too much.

Creo que no llegaría a tiempo a la reunión.

I think that I would not arrive in time for the meeting.

Captions 30-31, Raquel - La Compra de un Billete de Tren

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5. To express the future in relation to what someone said in the past

 

Y que nos juramos que esto nunca iría a pasar

And we vowed to each other that this would never happen

Caption 21, Franco de Vita, Dueto Con Debi Nova - Si Quieres Decir Adiós

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That's it for this lesson. We encourage you to write some sentences for the 5 different uses we mentioned for the conditional tense. And don't forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.

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