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Spanish Lesson Beginner 13 Spanish Verbs: Present Tense (Part 1) Posted by on Mar 2, 2011 in Spanish Grammar, Spanish Vocabulary, Videos

¡Hola! ¿Qué tal?

Today we are going to learn how to describe things that we usually do using regular Spanish verbs. “Verbs” are words which describe actions (to talk, to eat, to dance, etc) and “regular” verbs are those verbs which follow a specific rule or rules without exception.

All Spanish verbs in their original infinitive form (“Infinitivo” in Spanish) finish in either: –AR, -ER or –IR. This is the way you will see them in a dictionary. For example, to speak is “hablar”, finishing in –AR, “comer” is to eat, finishing in –ER, etc… However, when you want to describe who does the action and say, for example, “I speak” or “we eat” you have to swap the infinitive verb ending for the correct ending used for that person. For example, the ending we use when “I do” something is “O” and so if we want to say “I speak” we have to say “hablo”, changing the –AR ending of “hablar” to an “O”.

We are now going to start by looking at some useful regular verbs in their infinitive form and then we will see which endings should be used for each person:

Hablar: to speak
Trabajar: to work
Escuchar: to listen to
Comprar: to buy
Comer: to eat
Beber: to drink
Leer: to read
Comprender: to understand
Vivir: to live
Escribir: to write

Now let´s see how to change these regular verbs in order to describe which person does the action:

-AR endings:
-o: (yo )hablo (I speak) / trabajo (I work) / escucho (I listen) / compro (I buy)
-as: (tú) hablas (you speak) / trabajas (you work) / escuchas (you listen) / compras (you buy)
-a: (usted) habla (you speak) / trabaja (you work) / escucha (you listen) / compra (you buy) Formal
-a: (el / ella) habla (he/she speaks) / trabaja (he/she works) / escucha (he/she listens) / compra (he/she buys)

-ER endings:
-o: yo como (I eat) / bebo (I drink) / leo (I read) / comprendo (I understand)
-es: tú comes (you eat) / bebes (you drink) / lees (you read) / comprendes (you understand)
-e: usted come (you eat) / bebe (you drink) / lee (you read) / comprende (you understand) Formal
-e: el / ella come (he/she eats) / bebe (he/she drinks) / lee (he/she reads) / comprende (he/she understands)

-IR endings:
-o: yo vivo (I live) / escribo (I write)
-es: tú vives (you live) / escribes (you write)
-e: usted vive (you live) / escribe (you write) Formal
-e: el / ella vive (he/she lives) / escribe (he/she writes)

If you want, you can say “yo hablo” instead of “hablo”, “tu hablás” instead of “hablas”, etc… but it is not necessary.

To make negative sentences you put “no” before the verb “no hablo” (I don´t speak), “no como” (I don´t eat), etc.

To make questions you simply have to change the intonation of your voice. For example: “¿Bebés café? (Do you drink coffee?), ¿Hablas español? (Do you speak Spanish?). Without the change of intonation we could, for example, say: “Hablas español” which means “You speak Spanish” as an affirmative statement.

Let´s see some more examples with all these endings:

Mi hermano vive en Méjico: My brother lives in Mexico
No comprendo: I don´t understand
¿Dónde trabajas?: Where do you work? (informal/to one person)
¿Dónde trabaja (usted)? Where do you work? (formal/ to one person)
Escucho música: I listen to music
¿Bebes vino?: Do you drink wine?
¿Bebe (usted) vino?: Do you drink wine?
Vivo en España: I live in Spain

In the next beginner lesson we will see more verb endings: those we use for a group of people, to say that “we” (nosotros) do something, to say that “all of you” (vosotros/ustedes) do something or to say that “they” (ellos) do something. Until then I recommend that you try to memorize all of the information from today’s class and practice it with different sentences. This is a very important foundation to be able to understand future, more complicated, structures where we will introduce irregular verbs, along with verbs in the past, present and future tenses.

I hope you have a great week. See you soon with more Spanish!

¡Hasta pronto!

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About the Author: Laura & Adam

Laura & Adam have been blogging and creating online Spanish courses for Transparent Language since 2010. Laura is from Bilbao in northern Spain and Adam is from Devon in the south of England. They lived together in Spain for over 10 years, where their 2 daughters were born, and now they live in Scotland. Both Laura & Adam qualified as foreign language teachers in 2004 and since have been teaching Spanish in Spain, the UK, and online.


  1. Gertraud Müller:

    Thank you for those very helpful lesson

  2. kaseyalis:

    yo no megusta espanol.

  3. kaseyalis:

    i dont unda stand why u even wanna speak spanish

  4. kaseyalis:

    but this webpage is helpin me alot so thankx for da lesson

  5. kaseyalis:

    r u from the united states

  6. kaseyalis:

    i am a 6th grader