If you are learning Spanish and want to speak like a pro, you must learn the most common Spanish verbs. Here’s your guide!
Most common Spanish verbs
Learning Spanish verb conjugation can be one of the most challenging aspects of learning Spanish. After all, different verbs have different conjugations; some are much more common than others.
Luckily, memorizing new verbs and their respective conjugations becomes easier once you know a few key tricks. And best of all?
Voweling and accentuation are completely optional! In this article, we explain the 10 most common Spanish verbs and how to master them with these simple tips:
What are the 10 most common Spanish verbs?
These are some of the most common and basic Spanish verbs you use more often than all others:
- Ser – To be. This verb indicates your identity, to be in a certain place, or to do certain things.
- Nosotros – We. We are the same as Nos, but with a capital letter.
- Vosotros – You. You is the same as O, but with a capital letter.
- Usted – You. You is the same as U, but with a capital letter.
- Ella – She. She is the same as A, but with a capital letter.
- Ellos – They. They are the same as L, but with a capital letter.
- Mí – My. I is the same as M, but with a capital letter.
- La – Her. Her is the same as La, but with a capital letter.
- Nosotras – Us. We are the same as Nos, but with a capital letter.
- Ustedes – You. You is the same as U, but with a capital letter.
- Ellos dicen – They say. They are the same as D, but with a capital letter.
- Cómo – How. How is the same as C, but with a capital letter?
Remember that Spanish verbs have different conjugations based on the vowel of the second-to-last letter of the infinitive. The most common vowel changes are:
Certain verbs change -ar to -er and -ir to -ier. For example, the verb leer is pronounced “leer,” while lees is the -er form. For verbs ending in -gar, the -ar changes to -ción, while -gar remains the same. For example, el agar becomes el agr, and el gan becomes el gan. Some verbs change -ar to -se or -se to -se.
For example, el llamar becomes el llam, and el comprar becomes el compr. Some change -ar to -ce instead. For example, el recitar becomes el reci, and el tratar becomes el tract.
Final consonant change
This happens when the final consonant of the infinitive changes to a different consonant, usually a consonant that is not usually used in that position, like -c or -x or -z. For example, the infinitives of los comedores (the places that serve food), los desayunos (the breakfasts), and los almuerzos (the lunches) all end in -dor.
The verb comedir becomes comeder when the -dor changes to -c. The verb desayunar becomes desayunar when the -nor changes to -n. The verb almorzar becomes almorzar when the -dor changes to -r.
Some verbs change the spelling of a letter or two, usually to add an -e to the end or to remove a letter, like el rendir (to render) becomes rendir when the e changes to end in -e, and el examen (the exam) becomes examen when the I changes to end in -e.
Other spelling changes include changing the order of the letters, or even adding a letter, like el escribir becomes escribir when the e changes to end in -e, el hablar becomes hablar when the e changes to end in -e, el vacilar becomes vacilar when the l changes to end in -ar.
Conjugation tip 1: Don’t stress about the ending
When you memorize verb forms, stress the ending of the verb. After all, it’s the part of the word that changes, so it should be the most memorable part. But it’s important to stress all the syllables, not just the last one because that’s the one that changes. If you stress the other syllables, it’s easier to remember, like “vendor” instead of “sirvierte.”
This is especially important for the verbs that change their vowels, as they can sound completely different with a stressed ending than a non-stressed one. For example, when learning to conjugate the verb “irse,” it’s important to stress the e in “irse,” so you don’t stress the i in “ir.”
Conjugation tip 2: Learn the difference between “zar” and “sirvierte”
You may have learned in high school or from a Spanish class that the -zar infinitive is the “regular” one, but that’s not true for all verbs. The -zar infinitive is only for verbs that end in -zar. For example, the verb “dormir” is not “dicer” in the -zar form. However, the -z- infinitive of the verb “dar” is the “regular” one.
For example, the verb “dar” is “dar” in the -z- form, as in “dar clases” and “dar dinero.” But the biggest difference between the -zar and -z- infinitives is that the -zar form of most verbs has an accent on the last syllable.
Conjugation tip 3: The trick of adding an “-e” to Spanish verbs
Many verbs in Spanish end in the letters -ar, -er, or -ez, and these are often used for beginners. But do you know what happens to the last letter? It changes to an “e” instead of a consonant. For example, the verb “decir” becomes “decir” when the -er changes to -e, as in “decir que” (“to say that”) and “decir que se va” (“to say that he is leaving”). To memorize this trick, add an “e” to the end of the verb “dar,” “ir,” “traer,” etc. and the verb “ser” in the -ez form.
Conjugation tip 4: Some of you may already know this, but…
You may have already noticed that all these verbs end in -ar, but you may not have thought about it too deeply. All these verbs are the same verb in a different form. For example, “dar” is the -ar form, while “dic” is the -ez form, and “hablar” is the -er form.
So, if you memorize the -ar forms, you will still know how to say the same thing in any of these other forms.
Conjugation tip 5: Learn final words from podcasts or articles in Spanish
You can also memorize final words from podcasts and articles in Spanish that describe locations, accommodations, or things you should watch out for a while visiting.
For example, if you learn the words “Mar del Plata,” “Buenos Aires,” or “Cordoba,” you can use any of those verbs later in a sentence or even for an entire conversation.