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What on Earth are Spanish Verbs in the Infinitive!?

Have you heard of Spanish verbs in the infinitive?

The infinitive of a verb is the actual name of the verb.

In grammatical terms, the infinitive of a verb is one of its "moods". wondering

(Sigh!) "But what is a mood?" I hear you asking...

The mood of a verb is the form a verb adopts depending on the attitude of the speaker to what he/she says.

In English there are 3 moods:

  1. Indicative: This is the most common of verbs moods, and it's essentially the name of a verb. In English, you form the indicative by placing the word "to" before the verb word, like this: "to write", "to punch", "to win".

    In Spanish, verbs in the infinitive end in "ar", "er", and "ir"

  2. Imperative: This is the mood of the verb that my wife uses the most.

    wink (Hey, I'm just kidding!)

    That's the form of the verb used to command or order something: "Clean the room!", "Take the rubbish out", "Wash the car". We'll talk about this mood later on.

  3. Subjunctive: You use the subjunctive moode of a verb to show an attitude or feeling in respect of the action of the verb in question. For instance:

    Courts require that lawyers study their cases before they appear in chambers. (sorry, I couldn't help using a lawyer example... I'm one)

    Doctors recommend that people eat sensibly.

    Again... We'll discuss this mode later on.

I've included the above brief discussion on moods just to put a context on the meaning of the infinitive. This explanation is not exhaustive at this point in time.

Some linguists reckon that the Spanish language only has 2 moods: the infinitive and the subjunctive.

I beg to disagree.

Unless my teachers were wrong at school, I was taught that Spanish verbs also have an imperative mode (modo imperativo). smirk

Of course, I don't know everything there is to know, and I'm prepared to stand corrected on this point, but I'm just telling you what I learned at school... in Spanish, and in a Spanish speaking country.

Let's now go to the actual Spanish verbs in the imperative....

Hints for Learning the Spanish Verbs

The first thing you have to do to learn Spanish verbs in the indicative mode is to know the personal pronouns in Spanish:

English Spanish
I Yo
You (singular) (familiar, informal form)
You (singular) Vos (familiar-informal, used in several Latin American countries)
You (singular) Usted (formal, respectful, singular)
He/She/It El, Ella, Ello: (3rd person, singular)
We Nosotros
You (plural) Ustedes (2nd person plura, and most commonly used form)
You (plural) Vosotros (used mainly by Spaniards)
They Ellos/Ellas


I'll get into more detail about the personal pronouns in Spanish somewhere else in this site. For now, it is enough for you to learn them as above.

Next, you should concentrate on learning the conjugation of "regular Spanish verbs", that is, verbs that keep their stem (the main part of the word) consistently unchanged. The only thing that changes in these type of verbs is the ending. They are, therefore, relatively easy to learn.

Irregular verbs in Spanish (those which stems change as you conjugate them) tend to be more difficult, and you have to learn to conjugate them almost individually. But fear not! I'll give you a few resourses to make it less difficult to learn. (What are pals for?)

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