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Sample Lesson

Intermediate Spanish
Verb Tenses
Basic Verbs
Sample Exercise
Sample Lesson: Verb Review

Welcome to Intermediate Spanish. In this course you will review basic material of Spanish, as well as progress in your use of the language. The main review topics will focus on verbal grammar and vocabulary. The intermediate course is designed to develop your skill in communicating with more elegant sentences. Therefore it covers compound verb tenses, joining of sentences using relative pronouns, a thorough practice of adjective forms, and an introduction to subordinate clauses using subjunctive verbs. Each Lesson also has corresponding Exercises with Answers, to help you practice the material. This Introduction contains the following review topics:

   Verb tenses
   Command verb forms

Let us now turn to a review of verb tenses.

Verb Tenses

We begin with a summary of the basics of the Spanish verbal system. Recall that verbs are words of action (run - correr) or state (be - ser). In Spanish, verbs belong to 3 groups called conjugations. The conjugation a verb belongs to is recognized by the ending on the verb. There are 3 conjugations: -ar, -er, -ir. It is important to know the conjugation of a verb because the verbal system of Spanish is dependent on endings that are attached to a stem. For most cases, the ending is attached to a verb after removing the -ar, -er, -ir. These endings will produce a tense for the verb. Tense expresses who does the action, and when it is happening. For example: hablar - to speak; drop -ar; add -o to produce hablo - I am speaking, I speak. Notice that the simple ending of -o has expressed that I is the doer of the action, as well as the fact that the action is taking place in the present time (i.e. right now). Therefore this ending is the first person (I - yo) Present Tense ending.
With regards to the concept of person: there are 6 persons as indicated below, each corresponds to a subject pronoun.

   Singular persons
I - yo
you - tú (familiar); usted (formal)
he / she / it - él / ella / none

   Plural persons
we - nosotros, nosotras
you - ustedes, vosotros (Spain only)
they - ellos, ellas

These persons are important to know because the endings are charted according to the person. Table a below gives a summary of the endings of the tenses you should have studied to this point, with the subject pronouns: Present, Imperfect, Preterite and Future Tense. Keep in mind that él, ella, usted use the same ending; nosotros, nosotras share, as do ellos, ellas, ustedes. Review the Table to re-acquaint yourself with the tense endings.

Command Forms

Command (or Imperative) forms are a different type of verbal form. These are endings that the language uses to express direct orders or instructions (e.g. speak! - ¡habla!). Commands are always directed to a you person, singular (e.g. Thomas, come! - ¡Ven!), or plural (e.g. Students, come! - ¡Vengan!). However, recall that in Spanish we have 2 types of you singular persons: familiar , and formal usted. In the Americas we have only 1 plural you - ustedes; however, in Spain there are 2: you formal - ustedes, and familiar vosotros. Therefore, in total there are 4 Command forms you must learn; as affirmatives (e.g. speak!) and negatives (e.g. don't speak!). For usted, the affirmative and negative use the same form (i.e. hable, no hable); likewise for ustedes (i.e. hablen, no hablen).

The endings are used according to the following rules:

   Tú Affirmative
same as 3rd singular él verb form of the Present Tense
habla - come - vive

   Usted, ustedes, negative tú, negative vosotros
take 1st person (yo) form, Present Tense, drop -o

to -ar verbs add: -e (usted), -en (ustedes), -es (neg tú), -éis (neg vosotros)
hable usted - hablen ustedes - no hables tú - no habléis vosotros

to -er, -ir verbs add: -a (usted), -an (ustedes), -as (neg tú), -áis (neg vosotros)
coma usted - coman ustedes - no comas tú - no comáis vosotros
escriba usted - escriban ustedes - no escribas tú - no escribáis vosotros

   Vosotros Affirmative
take infinitive, drop -ar, -er, -ir
to -ar verbs add: -ad - hablad
to -er add: -ed - comed
to -ir add: -id - vivid

Review Table b to relearn these endings. Table c includes a list of common verbs you should know from your Elementary Spanish work.

After reviewing the tense endings you may want to check your knowledge by completing the exercise below.

Table 0a - Verb Tenses for the Indicative
Verb TensesConjugation of -ar (hablar)Conjugation of -er (comer)Conjugation of -ir (vivir)
Presente (Present)
- I speak
yo hablo
tú hablas
él habla
nosotros hablamos
vosotros habláis
ellos hablan
Imperfecto (Imperfect)
- I was speaking
yo hablaba
tú hablabas
él hablaba
nosotros hablábamos
vosotros hablabais
ellos hablaban
Pretérito (Preterite)
- I spoke
yo hablé
tú hablaste
él habló
nosotros hablamos
vosotros hablasteis
ellos hablaron
Futuro (Future)
- I will speak
yo hablaré
tú hablarás
él hablará
nosotros hablaremos
vosotros hablaréis
ellos hablarán


Table 0b - Commands
Type of CommandConjugation of -ar (hablar)Conjugation of -er (comer)Conjugation of -ir (vivir)
Affirmative/Negative for
(no) hable(no) coma(no) viva
Affirmative/Negative for
(no) hablen(no) coman(no) vivan
Affirmative for
habla come vive
Negative for
no hables no comas no vivas
Affirmative for
hablad comed vivid
Negative for
no habléis no comáis no viváis


Table 0c - Basic Verbs
English Spanish
  1. be (description)
  2. be (location - condition)
  3. buy
  4. call
  5. chat - converse
  6. clean
  7. close
  8. comb - brush
  9. come
  10. cook
  11. do - make
  12. dress
  13. drink
  14. drive
  15. eat
  16. find
  17. give
  18. go
  19. have
  20. look at
  21. look for
  22. lose
  23. need
  24. open
  25. pay
  26. put
  27. read
  28. return item
  29. return - go back
  30. run
  31. see
  32. take off
  33. take (item - person to place)
  34. take - keep
  35. talk - speak
  36. walk
  37. want
  38. wash
  39. work
  40. write
  1. ser
  2. estar
  3. comprar
  4. llamar
  5. charlar - conversar
  6. limpiar
  7. cerrar
  8. peinar - cepillar
  9. venir
  10. cocinar
  11. hacer
  12. vestir(se)
  13. beber - tomar
  14. conducir - manejar
  15. comer
  16. encontrar
  17. dar
  18. ir
  19. tener
  20. mirar - ver
  21. buscar
  22. perder
  23. necesitar
  24. abrir
  25. pagar
  26. poner
  27. leer
  28. devolver
  29. volver - regresar
  30. correr
  31. ver
  32. quitar(se)
  33. llevar
  34. tomar
  35. hablar
  36. caminar - andar
  37. querer - desear
  38. lavar
  39. trabajar
  40. escribir

Sample Exercise
(Click on green symbol to listen)


Study the Tables above before completing the following exercise. Match the letter of the Spanish phrase on the right which matches the English on the left.

English Spanish
  1. _______I will run
  2. _______she was looking for
  3. _______they are chatting
  4. _______are you working?
  5. _______he lost
  6. _______we are paying
  7. _______I was writing
  8. _______she gave
  9. _______they will have
  10. _______will you return?
  11. _______I drove
  12. _______they were coming
  13. _______will you go
  14. _______I paid
  15. _______we walked
  1. conduje
  2. trabajas
  3. caminamos
  4. correré
  5. puse
  6. escribía
  7. irás
  8. tendrán
  9. buscaba
  10. salieron
  11. pagué
  12. dio
  13. cocinamos
  14. perdió
  15. regresaré
  16. pagamos
  17. charlan
  18. quisiste
  19. volverás
  20. venían