Until now, we have familiarized ourselves with the auxiliary verbs ‘ser’ and ‘estar’. As stated, Spanish verbs are not gender-specific. Also, there is no need to use pronouns when conjugating verbs, and since ‘vosotros’ is not in use in Latin America, we will use the ‘ustedes’ form instead.
Three Categories of Spanish Verbs
a. Verbs ending in –AR amar (to love), tomar (to drink/take) b. Verbs ending in –ER comer (to eat), ser (to be) c. Verbs ending in –IR salir (to go out), pedir (to request)
We will start by dealing with –AR verbs, conjugating the regular verbs, and then dealing with the various irregulars.
We will then deal with –ER verbs, regular and irregular.
Lastly, we will deal with –IR verbs, regular and irregular.
Irregular Conjugations for All Three Verb-Endings (-AR, -ER, -IR)
When we say a verb is irregular we mean that when conjugating the verb, we must change its stem as well (e.g. in the verb ‘Tomar’, to drink, the stem is ‘TOM’).
All verbs (regular and irregular) are conjugated as described in section 1. Only after the verb has been conjugated shall we examine its irregularity and change its stem accordingly. If the verb is regular, we leave its stem unchanged.
Standard Irregulars and Special Irregulars
There are two kinds of irregular verbs.
The first group is called ‘standard irregulars’ because of their fixed pattern of irregularity, following a set of rules, which we will introduce in the next section.
There are four kinds of standard irregulars:
As you will see in the following sections, to conjugate the verb, we must first change its stem for all pronouns, except first-person plural (we, nosotros/as) and second-person plural-familiar (you-all, vosotros/as, which is not used in Latin America).
The second group of irregulars, the ones that do not follow a set of rules, are called ‘special irregulars.’ We will deal with such irregulars separately.