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Spanish Verbs: Terminology

Spanish verbs have their onw terminology.

The sooner you learn this terminology, the sooner you'll understand how verbs work in Spanish.

Let's begin:

  • The infinitive: I've already infinitives in another section of this site. So, I'll be short: This is the dictionary form. In English, it's form by the word "to" + the name of the verb. E.g. to eat, to sleep, to work. Simple, huh?

  • Conjugation: This is when you change the form of the verb to correspond with the different pronouns (or subjects of a sentence), and the tense of that verb. When you go "I am, you are, he/she/it is, we are, you are, they are" you are conjugating the verb "to be" (which is in infinitive), in the present tense.

  • Tense: That is the time of the action, passion or status. It can be past, present future, or a composite of these basic tenses. E.g. for "I am", the past tense is "I was", and the future tense is "I will be".

  • Mood: This indicated the purpose of the verb. What does the subject intend to do with the verb? Is the verb a statement or a command? If it is a statement of fact, the verb is in "indicative mood". If it is a command, the verb is in "imperative mood". Additionally, there is the "subjunctive mood", which is when the verb is used to express a wish, hope, uncertainty, or other types of attitudes towards an idea or fact.

  • Voice: This can be active or passive. E.g. He drove me home: the verb (drive) is in the active voice, as it shows that the subject acted on me. But if I say "I was driven home by him", the verb (drive/driven) is in passive voice. It kinda removes the subject from the action a bit. Get it?

  • Participle: This is the form of a verb that you use to indicate a tense (as in "I have written letters before, where the form shows that I have done something in the past), or you use it as an adjective (as in "it is a written: agreement: the word "written" qualifies what type of agreement it was: written (as opposed to oral or verbal).


There! That's all the Spanish verbs terminology you'll need for now.

Is that all? Nope!

There are more concepts to learn, but they'll be easier to learn in other sections of this site once you learn the above basic terms.

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