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Learning Verb Conjugation

 

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Old July 17, 2012, 11:24 PM
El Gato El Gato is offline
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Learning Verb Conjugation

It's starting to get easier to remember words and short phrases in Spanish but one scary obstacle still worries me (okay it's not the only one but it is the one that worries me the most). Verb conjugation.
One of the things I read in more than one of the books on Spanish I bought, or checked out at the library, is that Spanish verbs only come with three endings, -ar, -er, or -ir. But the large number of variations on each word for conjugation is daunting.
To make it worse, I've come across what appear to be verbs that don't end in -ar, -er, or -ir.

Cuidarse- To take care of oneself.
Romperse- To break.

And a few others as well. I have noticed all of these have an -ar, -er, or -ir before the -se. Should they be treated as they had that ending as opposed to -se?

Does anyone have advice how to tackle verb conjugation? Or is that something I should not worry about until later? I've been at this for less than 2 weeks.
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  #2  
Old July 18, 2012, 12:24 AM
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Perikles Perikles is offline
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Verbs always end in one of -ar, -er or -ir, in the sense that these are the endings which change. There is no exception to this rule.

But (there's always a but) some verbs are called pronomial or reflexive, and are used with a personal pronouns, and the third singular is se. The verb is given with this pronoun tagged on to the end of the infinitive. So the verb sentirse is really sentir + se, an -ir verb.

That's the very short answer.
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Old July 18, 2012, 12:34 AM
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Verb conjugation is something you should start learning now. It is daunting. No question about it.

There are only three types of verbs. The endings are -ar, -er and -ir. The verbs you saw that end in '-se' are pronominal verbs. The suffixed pronoun '-se' represents the third-person reflexive pronoun used with pronomial verbs. During conjugation, the appropriate reflexive pronoun (it won't always be 'se') is utilized. In most conjugations, the reflexive pronoun precedes the verb.

Verb conjugation is usually tackled one tense at a time. Start with the present indicative tense. (Indicative is one of several moods.) Make sure you fully understand the difference between first, second and third person. You'll also have to worry about singular and plural forms for each person. The verb endings will vary accordingly.

After the present tense, move on to the imperfect and preterite tenses (both past tenses in the indicative mood). Every tense has three persons, in singular and plural forms.

Verb conjugation charts are available in several places, including right here in our forums.

Last edited by Rusty; July 19, 2012 at 06:33 PM.
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Old July 18, 2012, 11:32 AM
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For an English speaker, it is definitely daunting. (deservedly so). It just takes a lot of time and practice.
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Old July 18, 2012, 10:18 PM
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I agree Rusty. I tried to start by doing all of them at one time, but I finally had to settle with doing one at a time. I've got a few down but I still have trouble with some. Practice, Practice, Practice. My last suggestion that has and still is helping me is that when you are talking to a native speaker, make them correct your conjugation attempts before you get into the habit of saying it wrong. Good post!

Last edited by caliber1; July 18, 2012 at 10:29 PM. Reason: error
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Old July 19, 2012, 04:37 PM
El Gato El Gato is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty View Post
Verb conjugation is something you should start learning now. It is daunting. No question about it.

There are only three types of verbs. The endings are -ar, -er and -ir. The verbs you saw that end in '-se' are pronominal verbs. The suffixed pronoun '-se' represents the third-person reflexive pronoun used with pronomial verbs. During conjugation, the appropriate reflexive pronoun (it won't always be 'se') is utilized. In most conjugations, the reflexive pronoun precedes the verb.

Verb conjugation is usually tackled one tense at a time. Start with the present indicative tense. (Indicative is one of several moods.) Make sure you fully understand the difference between first, second and third person. You'll also have to worry about singular and plural forms for each person. The verb endings will vary accordingly.

After the present tense, move on to the imperfect and preterite tenses (both past tenses in the indicative mood). Every tense has three persons, in singular and plural forms.

Verb conjugation charts are available in several places, including right here in our forums.

Tackling it one tense at a time is helping. I'm using hablar as a template for -ar verbs, comer for -er verbs and escribir for the -ir verbs. Most of the time I've been able to conjugate correctly with other regular verbs I've checked.

Irregular verbs are going to be tough but I'll worry about those once I've got a couple more tenses down (and reinforced the present tense with more practice).

Last edited by Rusty; July 19, 2012 at 06:33 PM. Reason: corrected quote
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Old July 19, 2012, 09:06 PM
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wrholt wrholt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Gato View Post
Tackling it one tense at a time is helping. I'm using hablar as a template for -ar verbs, comer for -er verbs and escribir for the -ir verbs. Most of the time I've been able to conjugate correctly with other regular verbs I've checked.

Irregular verbs are going to be tough but I'll worry about those once I've got a couple more tenses down (and reinforced the present tense with more practice).
An excellent plan.

The good news about irregular verbs is that only a very small number of them are irregular in unique ways. Most irregular verbs belong to one of a few large groups of verbs where all of the verbs in each group are irregular in the same way. It still takes time and practice to master each pattern and to learn which pattern a particular verb follows, of course.
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