Subject pronouns and present tense of regular verbs in Spanish

Learning Spanish
Spanish Language Learning Pack
Verbs in Spanish change their endings to indicate the subject – i.e. the person who is doing the action. This means that it is not always necessary to use subject pronouns – ‘I’, ‘you’, ‘he’, ‘she’, etc. However, one significant difference between Spanish and English that needs to be understood before we can look in more detail at verbs is the various ways of saying ‘you’.

How to say ‘you’ in Spanish

Deciding how to address someone is more complicated in Spanish than in English. There are singular and plural forms depending on how many people you are talking to and there are also different forms depending on how formal or familiar you want to be, so in total there are four possibilities for translating the word ‘you’ in standard Spanish:

• When you are speaking to someone you know well, such as family or friends, you
    would use the familiar form, and when you are talking to a stranger or to someone
    with whom you want to maintain a certain level of formality, you would use the
    formal one.
• When you are using the familiar form of address, the word for ‘you’ when addressing
   one person is and if you are addressing more than one person you must use
    vosotros or vosotras.
Vosotros is the used when addressing two or more people who are all masculine or
   when addressing two or more people when some are masculine and some are
Vosotras is used when addressing two or more people who are all feminine.
   For example, if you were talking to your parents, you would use vosotros, as one is
   masculine and one is feminine, but if you were talking to your sisters, you would use

Since verb endings in Spanish are distinctive and unambiguous, the use of the
pronouns and vosotros is not common.
When you are talking to a stranger or to someone with whom you wish to be more formal, you must use usted, and when addressing two or more people, ustedes.
Usted is used with the same verb ending as ‘he’ and ‘she’, while ustedes is used with the same verb ending as ‘they’, so in order to avoid any ambiguity, it is sometimes necessary to include these with the verb. Usted is usually abbreviated in writing to Vd./Ud. and ustedes to Vds./Uds.

The tendency in Spain at the moment seems to be that the familiar forms (and vosotros) are being used more and more at the expense of Vd. and Vds. This is particularly true among young people. However, in case of doubt, the recommendation, especially among adults, is to use Vd. In this case, you will never lose face.

Subject pronouns

We have already seen the various forms of the word ‘you’ in Spanish, so now we can look at the complete list of subject pronouns. Traditionally pronouns and verbs are displayed in the three ‘persons’. In the singular, ‘I’ is the ‘first person’, ‘you’ is the second person, and ‘he/she’ is the third person. The first person plural is ‘we’, the second person plural is ‘you’ (remember that in English
‘you’ can be singular or plural) and the third person plural is ‘they’. The subject pronouns in Spanish are as follows:

1 yo                                                        I
2                                                        you (familiar)
3 él                                                         he (or ‘it’ when referring to a masc. object)
4 ella                                                      she (or ‘it’ when referring to a fem. object)
    usted                                                 you (formal)

1 nosotros/nosotras                             we (masc./fem.)
2 vosotros/vosotras                              you (masc./fem. pl., familiar)
3 ellos                                                    they (masc. people or objects)
  Ellas                                                    they (fem. people or objects)
  Ustedes                                                you (formal, pl.)

Note: The masculine plural forms ‘nosotros and ellos must be used when referring to two
or more people (or objects) when some are masculine and some are feminine, as explained above with reference to vosotros.

Regular verbs

Verbs that follow certain rules and whose forms are therefore predictable, are called ‘regular verbs’. Once you have learnt the pattern of regular verbs you can confidently use any regular verbs in the same way.
There are three categories of regular verbs in Spanish: -ar, -er, and -ir verbs. The -ar, -er and -ir refer to the endings of these verbs in their infintive form, i.e. the form that you

will find in the dictionary as the basis of the verb and which can be translated as ‘to…’, e.g. trabajar ‘to work’. There is a set of endings that correspond to each of these three types of verbs, and the
endings correspond to the three ‘persons’ explained above. The -ar group is by far the largest group of verbs and nearly all the verbs in this group are regular.

Here is the present tense of the regular -ar verb trabajar in the singular:

1st person (             yo) trabajo                            I work
2nd person              () trabajas                        you work (one person, familiar)
3rd person              (él) trabaja                           he works
(ella) trabaja                         she works
(Vd.) trabaja                        you work (one person, formal)

Notice that the endings are distinctive for ‘I ’and the familiar ‘you’, so there is really no need to include the subject pronouns yo and , unless you want to add emphasis:

e.g.          I work, but you do not work.
Yo trabajo pero no trabajas.

‘He’, ‘she’ and the polite ‘you’ all use the same form. So if there is any possible
ambiguity, you may need to include the subject pronoun.

e.g.          Vd. trabaja en el banco ¿no?
You work in the bank,don ’t you?

Without the Vd. in the above example the sentence could have meant ‘He works in the
bank, doesn’t he?’ or ‘She works in the bank, doesn’t she?’.

Often the context of the sentence makes the meaning clear and it is not necessary to
include the pronoun.

Here is the present tense of the regular -ar verb trabajar in the plural:

1st person               (nosotros/nosotras)                              trabajamos we work
2nd person              (vosotros/vosotras)                             trabajáis you work (familiar pl.)
3rd person              (ellos)                                                    trabajan they work (masc.)
(ellas)                                                     trabajan they work (fem.)
(Vds.)                                                    trabajan you work (formal pl.)

What has been said above with reference to the possible ambiguity of the third person of
the verb applies to the plural as to the singular.Now that you know the pattern of a regular -ar verb, you could form the present tense of any other regular -ar verb:

e.g.                          hablar                                    ‘to speak’
hablo                                     I speak
hablas                                    you speak
habla                                     he/she speaks, you speak
hablamos                               we speak

habláis                                   you speak

hablan                                   they speak, you speak

Here are some other regular -ar verbs that you could now use:

Buscar                    to look for                             estudiar                 to study
cantar                    to sing                                    mirar                     to look at
comprar                 to buy                                     nadir                     to swim
desayunar             to have breakfast                    tomar                    to take
escuchar                to listen                                   viajar                    to travel

You will have the chance to practise using some of these verbs in the exercises at the end of this unit.
Now that you know how the present tense of regular -ar verbs work, you will have no problem with the other two categories. Here are the endings for regular -er and regular –ir verbs:

-er                                                                          –ir

-o -                          emos                                      -o                           -imos
-es                           -éis                                         -es                           -ís
-e                            -en                                          -e                           -en

Here are examples of regular -er and -ir verbs:

comer (to eat)                                        vivir (to live)
como                      I eat                        vivo                                       I live
comes                     you eat                    vives                                       you live
come                       etc.                         vive etc.
Comemos                                             vivimos
coméis                                                   vivís
comen                                                    viven

Other regular -er and -ir verbs are:

beber                                     to drink
leer                                         to read
vender                                   to sell

escribir                                  to write

0 komentar "Subject pronouns and present tense of regular verbs in Spanish", Baca atau Masukkan Komentar

Post a Comment