Verbs in Spanish are classified in three different types or conjugations: first, second and third conjugation. The first group (known as verbos de primera conjugación) encompasses verbs ending in –ar. In the second group (verbos de segunda conjugación) we find verbs ending in –er. And finally, we have verbs ending in –ir which are classified as verbos de tercera conjugación (the third group).
The important thing is that each verb, depending on which group (first, second or third) it belongs to, is going to conjugate following a particular pattern. This applies to all regular verbs, but not to irregular, which are going to conjugate a bit more randomly. If you’re not sure what we mean when we talk about conjugation, click here to find out.
First Group, “verbos de primera conjugación”
They are verbs ending ir –ar and they all follow the same pattern (notice how the root of the verb remains the same, and it is the ending part that changes.
Verbo CANTAR (to sing) Verbo AMAR (to love) Verbo COCINAR (to cook)
Yo canto Yo amo Yo cocino
Tú cantas Tú amas Tú cocinas
Él canta Ella ama Él cocina
Nosotras cantamos Nosotros amamos Nosotros cocinamos
Ustedes cantan Ustedes aman Ustedes cocinan
Ellos cantan Ellas aman Ellas cocinan
Second Group, “verbos de segunda conjugación”
This are verbs ending in –er, and this is the pattern they follow:
Verbo COMER (to eat) Verbo LEER (to read) Verbo CREER (to believe)
Yo como Yo leo Yo creo
Tú comes Tú lees Tú crees
Él come Ella lee Él cree
Nosotras comemos Nosotros leemos Nosotros creemos
Ustedes comen Ustedes leen Ustedes creen
Ellos comen Ellas leen Ellas creen
Third Group, “verbos de tercera conjugación”
In this last group we have those verbs ending in –ir. Here is how you conjugate them (again, only the regular ones!)
Verbo VIVIR (to live) Verbo PARTIR (to break, split) Verbo ASISTIR (to attend)
Yo vivo Yo parto Yo asisto
Tú vives Tú partes Tú asistes
Él vive Ella parte Él asiste
Nosotras vivimos Nosotros partimos Nosotros asistimos
Ustedes viven Ustedes parten Ustedes asisten
Ellos viven Ellas parten Ellas asisten
Remember that we’re talking about regular verbs here, in which case this patterns are going to remain the same. You keep the root of the verb and change the final part depending on the subject.
Rules or patterns on how to conjugate irregular verbs are a bit more complex, and we’ll see that in another lesson.
Next I’m just showing you some examples on first, second and third conjugation verbs, in case you want to practise (they are all regular). All you need to do is swapping the final part (–ar, –er or –ir) for the appropriate ending as you saw previously in this lesson.
- Regular verbs ending in –ar: afeitar (to shave), anunciar (to announce), alumbrar (to light), peinar (to comb), preguntar (to ask), quemar (to burn), trabajar (to work), transportar (to transport), eliminar (to eliminate), enchufar (to plug), cortar (to cut).
- Regular verbs ending in –er: romper (to break), poseer (to possess, to own), prometer (to promise), deber (to have to, and also to owe), meter (to insert), esconder (to hide), aprender (to learn), barrer (to sweep).
- Regular verbs ending in –ir: omitir (to omit), prohibir (to prohibit), sufrir (to suffer), subir (to go up), ocurrir (to occur), distinguir (to distinguish), definir (to define), describir (to describe), abrir (to open).