Conjugating Basics

19.10.2016 |

Episode #8 of the course Spanish language basics by Nicole Joslin


Welcome to Day 8 in the course on Spanish basics! Today, we’re going to learn how to conjugate verbs in Spanish.

If you’re thinking “What is conjugation?” don’t worry. It just means that we will change the verb to match the personal pronoun.

This happens in English too, although minimally compared to Spanish.

Here is an example of the conjugated verb “think” in English:


It’s very simple compared to Spanish!

In Spanish, there are three types of verbs:

1. Verbs that end in -AR
2. Verbs that end in -ER
3. Verbs that end in -IR

-AR, -ER, and -IR are the infinitive endings of Spanish verbs.

Let’s look at the anatomy of a verb in Spanish. The basic form of the verb is called the infinitive. This is the unconjugated form. Here’s an example:

BAILAR (meaning: to dance)

It is made of two parts: the verb stem (BAIL in this case) and the infinitive ending (AR in this case).

verb stem + infinitive ending

In order to conjugate the verbs, you have to remove the infinitive ending and replace it with a personal ending. Every type of verb has its own personal conjugation endings. Let’s start with verbs that end with -AR.

These are the personal endings for an -AR verb:


So, you have to take the infinitive ending off and place the appropriate personal ending, depending on if you want to say “I dance,” “You dance,” or “We dance,” etc.

BAILARBAILARAR = BAIL + O (yo) = BAILO (Yo bailo, I dance)

Here is the -AR infinitive verb BAILAR fully conjugated in the present tense:


This works for every regular -AR verb in Spanish! Keep in mind that this is the conjugation only for the simple present tense. Conjugations for the past tenses, future tense, and others are different.

Now let’s look at the personal endings for -ER verbs, plus an example of the verb COMER (meaning: to eat) conjugated into the present simple tense.

Personal endings for -ER verbs:


The same process of removing the -ER infinitive ending and replacing it with a personal ending applies here for the verb COMER (to eat).


And finally, there are the -IR verbs. They work in the exact same way! All you need to do is to remove the -IR infinitive ending and replace it with a personal ending. We’ll look at the personal endings first, and then see the example conjugated verb VIVIR (meaning: to live).

Personal endings for -IR verbs (they are almost the same as the -ER verbs):


Here is the example verb VIVIR:


And that’s it! Now you know how to conjugate all regular Spanish verbs into the simple present tense. There are irregular verbs as well, but for now you can conjugate a good number of Spanish verbs with what you’ve learned in this lesson.

Tomorrow we will cover the basics of Spanish conversation.

Un gran saludo,


Recommended book by Highbrow

“Practice Makes Perfect Spanish Verb Tenses” by Dorothy Richmond


Share with friends