Action Words -- Introduction To Spanish Verbs
Spanish verbs are action words -- they get things done. Verbs are generally presented and talked about in what is known as the infinitive form. The infinitive verb form is the form of the verbs that is found in the dictionary. In English the infinitive form of a verb always has the word "to" in front of it. In English this looks like 'to run', or 'to play'. And in Spanish 'correr' or 'jugar'.
Let's take a look at and listen to some examples of Spanish verbs: These are some of the most common Spanish verbs:
You can't talk about verbs for long without getting to the subject of conjugation. You conjugate a verb when you use it in its different forms. For example, in English we say: I talk, you talk, he talks, we talk, they talk. We do this every day without having to think about it. This is known as conjugating a verb. In this case, the verb to talk. We seem to instinctively know whether to use the word "talk" or "talks" when we say a sentence with the verb "to talk".
In Spanish we'll have to think about it a little more.
Regular and Irregular Verbs
Like English, Spanish has regular and irregular verbs. The different conjugations of the regular verbs follow a routine set of rules for each verb that doesn't change from verb to verb for different words. Regular verbs are great because once you learn the pattern for that type of verb, you can apply it to all regular verbs that have the same ending. Regular verbs are verbs that are conjugated the same way -- that is the form is the same from verb to verb so once you learn the form of conjugating one regular verb, you can then apply that to all the regular verbs you come across.
Irregular verbs, on the other hand, will have to be learned on a word by word basis. There are some irregular verbs that are irregular in the same way, and there are also a lot of individual words that are unique in the way they vary. The good news here is that you can get by in Spanish with a hand full of the most important irregular verbs.
f this seems confusing at this point, and it probably does, it will become clear when you look at the verb conjugation page.
Spanish Verbs in the Dictionary
When you look at Spanish verbs in your Spanish-English dictionary you'll see several abbreviations that can be very helpful. For example, when you look up caminar in the dictionary, it has the abbreviation intr. next to it. This means caminar is an intransitive verb, a verb that doesn't act upon a direct object. And when you look up the verb "pegar", it has the abbreviation tr. which stands for transitive. This means it is a verb that acts upon a direct object.
Finally, when you look up the word ser (to be) the dictionary you'll see it has a special symbol and the number 66 next to it. This number is telling you that ser is an Irregular Verb. Just take the number 66 and look up this number in the front of the dictionary in a table called the "Spanish Verb Table". This table gives you all the information you need to use the irregular verb ser, or any other irregular Spanish verbs.
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