Verbs – What are they, types, conjugation, modes and tenses

We explain what verbs are, their types, conjugations and unconjugated forms. Also, the verb modes and tenses.

Verbs represent actions and conditions.

What are the verbs?

In grammar, verbs They are a type of word or grammatical category, which semantically expresses an action, that is, a movement, an action, an existence, state or achievement. That is, they are the words with which we name the different possible actions and conditions. They would be something like the “muscles” of the language.

The role of verbs within the sentence is fundamental, to the point that no sentence itself lacks them, although in some they may be elided or hidden. In fact, the presence or absence of a main verb is usually the criterion for distinguishing between sentences and phrases, respectively.

Within the predicate of the sentence there is always at least one verb, but there may also be several of them. Only one, the main verb of the sentence, plays the role of nucleus of the verb phrase of the predicate.

The main verbs of every sentence are easy to recognize, since they are always conjugated, that is, morphologically adapted to the subject of the sentence, so that there exists between the two a correspondence of person (1st, 2nd, 3rd) and number ( singular or plural).

In addition, the verb form takes into account other aspects that we will see separately, such as the verb tense (when the action occurs) or the verb mode (how the action occurs). These aspects are known as accidents of the verb.

The conjugation of the verb

Conjugation in Spanish, as in most Romance languages, is based on the modification of the root of the verb, by means of suffixes grammatical inflections. To do this, it follows a more or less fixed rule depending on the person, according to the infinitive ending of the verb (-ar, -er, -ir) and if it is a regular or irregular verb.

The standard and regular conjugation of our language is as follows:

Verbal personVerbs ending in “-ar” (to love)Verbs ending in “-er” (eat)Verbs ending in “-ir” (to live)
1st singular (I)root + or (me love)root + or (me What)root + or (me alive)
2nd singular (you)root + ace (your you love)root + it is (you eat)root + it is (your do you live)
3rd singular (he / she)root + to (he loves)root + and (he eat)root + and (he it lives)
1st plural (we)root + masters (U.S we love)root + emos (U.S we eat)root + go (U.S we live)
2nd plural (you)root + an

(you guys they love)

root + on

(you guys eat)

root + on
(you guys they live)
3rd plural (they / them)root + an

(them they love)

root + on
(them eat)
root + on
(them they live)

In the peninsular variant of Spanish, that is, in the Spanish of Spain, an informal plural second person is used: “yours”, which is not used in any other Spanish-speaking region and has its own separate conjugation: you you love, you all you eat, you all you live.

On the other hand, the form of respect “You” is conjugated as the 3rd singular.

Unconjugated forms of the verb

verbs infinitive unconjugated forms
The infinitive is the most common way we think of verbs.

Also as in other languages, the main verbs of Spanish They can be simple or compound, depending on whether or not they require an auxiliary verb, that is, of the cooperation of another verb to express its meaning appropriately.

In our language, the only existing auxiliary is the verb haber (while others also use the be or to be) and when it appears together with other verbs, it constitutes a compound verb. For example: “I have lived” (to have + to live), “you will have had” (to have + to have), “they will have seen” (to have + to see).

As will be seen, in these cases the auxiliary is conjugated and not the other verb. We will come back to this when we talk about verb tenses.

On the other hand, in Spanish verbs also have atypical forms, known as verboids or non-finite forms, in which the full meaning of the verb is expressed to a lesser extent, since they are not conjugated, and which are:

  • The infinitive (ending in -ar, -er or -ir, like amar, comer, vivto go), which is the usual way in which we think of verbs, in the abstract, and in which they operate in a similar way to a noun: “Trot it will make you healthy “
  • The gerund (ending in -ando, -endo, as in amI walkI ateendo), which serve to express a feeling of incompleteness in the action of the verb, that is, that its action has not yet been fully carried out. They operate as adverbs of mode within the sentence: “Yesterday we returned in a hurry
  • The participle (ending in -ado, -ido, as in amado, comgone), which are commonly used in the composition of compound verb tenses (for example: “I have not yet Eaten“), But they are also used as adjectives within the sentence:” Miguel was afraid”.

As we can see, in the logic of verbs the complexity of a language can be appreciated.

Types of verbs

The way to classify Spanish verbs meets different criteria, which we will see separately:

Regular and irregular verbs. This differentiation is based on the way each verb is conjugated.

  • Regular verbs: They follow the general rule or trend of the language, which we explained in the first part of this article. For example, “eat.”
  • Irregular verbs: They require a separate, slightly different conjugation, in which even the root of the verb is altered. For example, “have”: I I have, your you have, he have, etc.

Personal and impersonal verbs. This distinction is made by looking at the type of sentences that each verb allows, and specifically on whether or not they can have a logical sentence subject.

  • Personal verbs: It is conjugated according to the person. For example, “love.”
  • Impersonal verbs: They are used in the third person singular. For example, “rain” cannot really be conjugated (“I rain” or “you rain” only make sense in poetic language) and is generally used in impersonal sentences such as “here it rains a lot.”

Transitive and intransitive verbs. For its part, this distinction attends to the syntactic conditions in which the verb appears and the type of complements it requires.

  • Transitive verbs: They are part of a transitive sentence, in which the action of the verb is performed by a subject-agent on an object-patient. This means that these verbs require a direct object or direct object on which the action falls, and without them, they lose their meaning. For example, “getting” requires something that is achieved, because simply saying “I get” is like saying nothing. “I get the money” on the other hand, makes sense, because there is a direct complement that is “the money.”
  • Intransitive verbs: They do not support that complement, and can express themselves perfectly. For example, the verb “to sleep” is intransitive, since one falls asleep or falls asleep in some way (circumstantial complement: “I sleep well”), but one thing is not asleep: “I sleep” is a completely understandable sentence.

Copulative verbs. Verbs that do not express actions are called this way, but rather serve to denote conditions or states, and for that reason they are usually accompanied by an adjective, instead of a direct object. For example, the verb be in “I I am Latin American “or” She it is lawyer”.

Verbal modes

Together with the persons and the verb tenses, the verb modes are part of the accidents of the verb, that is, of its forms of appearance. In this case, the mood of the verb indicates the way in which the action of the verb is performed, or also the attitude of the speaker or issuer regarding what is said. Depending on the mode, the conjugation of the verb will vary.

In Spanish there are three verb modes, which are:

  • Indicative. Used for ordinary communication, when you want to describe real or possible actions to be carried out. The conjugation that we saw in the previous sections was always in the indicative mood, although it may vary in its tense and verbal person: “I eat”, “she has eaten”, “we will eat”, “you ate”, are all examples of indicative mood.
  • Imperative. This mode is used exclusively to command the receiver of the message something, or in the hope of influencing his behavior in some way. Therefore, it cannot be conjugated except in the second person singular or plural. example: “Eat!”, “You eat calmly” or “Eat, teacher.”
  • Subjunctive. The subjunctive is a way that is used to express wishes, probabilities or hypothetical situations. In this it is distinguished from the indicative, and has a separate conjugation. For example: “Maybe you will eat later”, “We would have eaten better in the kitchen”, “I want my dog ​​to eat the best”.

Verb tenses

The last of the verbal accidents, the verb tense indicates when the action was committed, and significantly modifies the conjugation to reflect it. This is carried out within a paradigm of three main axes: present (it happens right now), past (it has already happened) and future (it has not happened yet).

However, verbs adapt to these axes gradually, that is, trying to be as exact as possible in terms of time. To do this, they often have to use the assistant to have, as we explained previously.

Thus, broadly speaking, we have the following times in Spanish:


  • Simple present: I sing
  • Simple conditional: I would sing


  • Simple future: I will sing
  • Antefuture (composite future): I will have sung


  • Antepresente (past perfect compound): I have sung
  • Imperfect past: I sang
  • Conditional compound: I would have sung
  • Simple past perfect: I sang
  • Past perfect: I have singed

Examples of verbs

Here is a list with examples of verbs in the infinitive:

  • Ending in -ar: love, take, speak, change, locate, loosen, circumvent, combine, devour, impatient, push, assimilate, bounce, flirt, flirt, overwhelm, conform, comfort, appease, heal, round, slice, win, lower, swim , walk, jog.
  • Ending in -er: eat, run, lose, pale, sunset, sip, green, power, catch, duty, drink, put, know, cough, understand, see, understand, have, overshadow, perish, fall, read, suffer, deserve, seem , lash out, pour.
  • Ending in -ir: live, sleep, die, come, open, darn, allude, suffer, say, leave, go, admit, give birth, follow, smile, leave, build, redeem, demolish, attack, add, ask, swallow, melt, quarrel , persecute, urge, measure, resign, prevent, abolish, pretend, seize.

Sentences with verbs

It is not difficult to find examples of sentences with verbs, almost all the ones we can think of will have at least one. Here are some examples:

  • Your mother had a heart attack.
  • Me I could have seen you the day before yesterday.
  • Will rain all day tomorrow.
  • We know what do you you dedicated lifetime.
  • Want that you laughs every day.
  • The public will decide To who give him the award.
  • Playing all day no you will arrive to nowhere.
  • Today we will be working in the back room.
  • !Shut mouth!