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A-Z of the Most Common Spanish Verbs

By Fay, published on 06/06/2018 Blog > Languages > Spanish > A Guide to Common Spanish Verbs

Spanish is considered as one of the easiest languages to learn for English speakers with simpler grammar and many words that will sound familiar in English.

To get your learning started we have listed the most commonly used Spanish verbs.

Learning Spanish Verbs

Whilst there may be many words in Spanish that are similar to English, pronunciation in Spanish can be difficult.

Before getting stuck into conjugation tables, you must first establish your working routine and the best way for you to learn.

To master the Spanish verb, concentration and consistency are key. Eliminate all distraction, revise and repeat your spanish lessons daily.

Think of different ways to revise Find the best way for you to learn (Source: Pexels)

Spanish Grammar

The first thing you need to know is that Spanish verbs are classed into 3 groups:

  • Verbs ending in -AR: 1st group,
  • Verbs ending in -ER: 2nd  group,
  • Verbs ending in -IR: 3rd group.

This grouping makes it easy to know which endings to put with each verb.

Once you start learning different verbs you then need to learn to conjugate them in the different Spanish tenses:

  • Present
  • Simple future
  • Perfect
  • Imperfect
  • Present subjunctive and imperfect subjunctive
  • Pluperfect
  • Conditional
  • Imperative

Learning the Basic Verbs

With a Superprof tutor, or by doing conjugation exercises online, every language learner should start with the most commonly used verbs.

Let’s start with the 2 pillars of any language; to be and to have. In Spanish, however, there are two verbs for each of these depending on the context: “Ser”, “Estar” (to be) and “Haber”, “Tener” (to have).

Ser is used to describe something that doesn’t change whereas Estar is used to describe temporary situations.

The verb Haber, meaning to have, takes the place of an auxiliary verb in Spanish. It is used to form the perfect tense and is also used for the phrase ‘hay que’ (followed by the subjunctive) which means ‘it is necessary that..’.

Tener also means to have but in the sense of possession. It is used to express age (“Tengo veinte anos”) thirst (“tengo sed”), hunger (“tengo ambre”), tiredness (“tengo sueño”), heat (“tengo calor”) cold (“tengo frio”) and the desire to do something (“tengo la gana de … ”).

Important Spanish Verbs A to J

Of course, we can’t list every single verb here so we’ve just selected the most frequently used.

Verbs A to C

Here are some very useful verbs to learn :

Verbs beginning with A:

  • Abrir: To open,
  • Actuar: To act,
  • Amanecer: Get light (sun)/ To wake up,
  • Andar: To walk.

Verbs beginning with B:

  • Bailar: To dance,
  • Beber:  To drink,
  • Buscar: To look for.

Verbs beginning with C:

  • Caer: To fall,
  • Cambiar: To change
  • Caminar: To walk,
  • Cantar: To sing,
  • Cocer: To boil,
  • Cocinar: To cook,
  • Coger: To take
  • Comer: To eat,
  • Comprar: To buy,
  • Conducir: To drive,
  • Conocer: To know,
  • Construir: To build,
  • Creer: To believe.

This might seem a lot but believe us, with some revision they’re easy to memorise.

Verbs From D to J

Verbs beginning with D:

  • Dar: To give,
  • Deber: To have to,
  • Decidir: To decide,
  • Decir: To say/tell,
  • Defender: To defend,
  • Dejar: To leave,
  • Descansar: To relax,
  • Despertarse: To wake up,
  • Dirigir: To direct,
  • Dormir: To sleep.

Beginning with E:

  • Elegir: To choose,
  • Empezar: To start/begin,
  • Entrar: To enter,
  • Encontrarse: To find/ To meet someone,
  • Escuchar: To listen,
  • Escribir: To write,
  • Esperar: To wait for, to hope,
  • Estar: To be,
  • Estudiar: To study.

Beginning with H:

  • Haber: To have,
  • Hablar: To speak/talk,
  • Hacer: To do.

I to J:

  • Intentar: To try,
  • Ir: To go,
  • Jugar: To play.

Top tip for learning these verbs: write all the verbs in the infinitive on a piece of paper and repeat them out loud three times or four each evening before going to sleep.

Two or three times a week, read them several times and recite them first with the help of the English translation, then again hiding the English word.

Revision is key for progression Practice writing out sentences, conjugating verbs in different tenses (Source: Pexels)

Verbs L to V

We’re nearly halfway down the alphabet… here are some more useful verbs from L to V.

L to P

  • Leer: To read,
  • Limpiar: To clean,
  • Llamarse: To call/ ring,
  • Llegar: To arrive,
  • Llevar: To carry,/ take,
  • Llover: To rain,
  • Llorar: To cry.

Verbs from M to O:

  • Mirar: To look,
  • Mover: To move/ put something in motion,
  • Morir: To die,
  • Necessitar: To need,
  • Oir: To hear,
  • Oler: To smell

P:

  • Pagar: To pay,
  • Pedir: To ask,
  • Pensar: To think,
  • Presentar: To present,
  • Poder: To be able to,
  • Producir: To produce,
  • Prohibir: To prohibit,
  • Poner: To put.

Verbs from Q to V

  • Quedar: To remain/ be located,
  • Querer: To want,
  • Reir: To laugh,
  • Reunir: To gather,
  • Saber: To know,
  • Salir: To leave,
  • Satisfacer: To satisfy,
  • Seguir: To follow,
  • Sentir: To feel,
  • Ser: To be,
  • Tardar: To be late,
  • Tener: To have,
  • Tocar: To touch/ play (music),
  • Trabajar: To work,
  • Traer: To bring,
  • Usar and Utilizar: To use,
  • Valer: To be worth/ cost,
  • Venir: To come,
  • Ver: To see,
  • Viajar: To travel,
  • Vivir: To live,
  • Volver: To return/ come back.

When writing these verbs pay special attention to the spelling! Some Spanish words can be tricky.

Still struggling?  Here are a few more tips.

Extra Tips for Learning Spanish Verbs

It might be difficult to memorise them all but keep trying! You’ll get there in the end.

To check your progress, try testing yourself. Take a blank piece of paper and write down all the verbs you can think of. Then conjugate them in all the different tenses you know.

Or, you could try online tests to see how much you can remember. There are plenty of sites where you can play Spanish games that will make it easier to remember the different conjugations.

Attention: learning the most commonly used verbs is a good start but don’t forget there are plenty of irregular verbs that don’t follow the same pattern as others.

There are certain verbs where there are diphthongs (two vowels in the same syllable) that are completely irregular to other verbs.

Take the verb pensar for example (to think). In this case the ‘e’ becomes ‘ie’, so in the present tense it conjugated like this: pienso, piensas, piensa, pensamos, pensais, piensan.

Creating a list of irregular verbs and their conjugations will be invaluable in your Spanish learning. There are plenty of websites that will provide you with a list of all the most commonly used irregular verbs.

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