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2 Vote

I am learning Spanish but have great difficulty understanding when to use some of the verb conjugations. Would it be possible to include some sample sentences at least for a few of the more Common verbs - instead of just what we see in the "Conjugation" section? Preferably with what such sentences would be in English.

  • Posted May 24, 2009
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30 Answers

4 Vote

Find below a list of all tenses with sentences. Is this what you wanted?

INDICATIVE

Present
Estudio chino todos los días.
El año que viene estudio en Oxford.
Napoleón estudia el problema y decide no atacar.

Present perfect
He estudiado español y chino.
He estudiado durante toda la mañana.
Antes de las 10 ya me he estudiado la lección.

Imperfect
Cuando estaba en la universidad estudiaba todos los días.
A las cinco estba estudiando.

Pluperfect
Ya había estudiado español antes de empezar el curso.

Preterite
Ayer estudié dos horas.

Preterite perfect (or "anterior")
(Ignore this one)

Future
Estudiaré cuando tenga ganas.
Siempre saca buenas notas; estudiará mucho, supongo.

Future perfect
El mes que viene me habré estudiado el libro entero.

Conditional
Estudiaría más si tuviera tiempo.

Conditional perfect
Habría estudiado más si hubiera tenido tiempo.

SUBJUNCTIVE

Present
Aunque estudie mucho, lo sigo encontrando muy difícil.

Present perfect
No creo que haya estudiado mucho, porque ha suspendido el examen.

Imperfect
Si estudiaras más, aprobarías todos los exámenes.

Pluperfect
Si hubieras estudiado, habrías aprobado el examen.

(Ignore the futures too)

P.S. All forms used for each tense are conjugated, but I haven't shown the full conjugation; otherwise, this list would be 6 times longer (yo estudio, tú estudias, él estudia,...)

  • typo in indicative imperfect, "A las cinco estAba..." - pesta Oct 31, 2011 flag
2 Vote

Is it beyond the wit of the experts to create a Spanish sentence that incoporates each of the following? ...

Yes, it is beyond anyone's wit how to make computers create meaningful sentences. Anyone who tried an automatic translator knows the garbage that usually comes out.

That said, you can use computers to find examples of any verb in any tense and any person. Just go to www.google.es or www.google.com.mx, type the conjugated verb and, presto!, thousands of sentences will pop up on your screen.

Alternatively, you can go to the nearest Spanish bookshop, buy a few good novels, and enjoy them. You will learn a lot of things about the language even if your Spanish is not good enough to get the full details of the plot.

Apart from those methods, there are no easy solutions.

  • That was a great idea, I went here: You can go here: http://es.thefreedictionary.com/ and see tons of examples and there were loads of examples. Thanks - Lash7893 Oct 3, 2012 flag
2 Vote

I will ask this: Do you have any idea how daunting it is for someone who is learning Spanish to be confronted with what is shown in the "Conjugations" section?

Well, let's take one thing at a time:

1) The work involved for a human to make natural-sounding sentences: this would be a lot of work, even for a few select verbs, and considering that this site still hasn't gotten the names of the tenses right, well, you do the math.

2) Usefulness: If you learn the tenses and their uses, the need for examples for every verb would dimish sharply. It might even be superfluous.

3) User friendliness: When I want to know how to conjugate a verb, that's what exactly what I want to know, and nothing more. It would totally clutter up the page if I had to bother with examples also. Though, a little icon to press to get an example would clutter it up less, but even that would be slightly annoying (see 2).

So again, learn how the tenses are used, and for the verbs you're interested in the usage of, look them up in a dictionary and other sources.

Good luck wink

2 Vote

And here are the translations, in case you want them:

INDICATIVE

Present
Estudio chino todos los días. (I study Chinese everyday)
El año que viene estudio en Oxford. (Next year I'll be studying in Oxford)
Napoleón estudia el problema y decide no atacar. (Napoleon studies the problem and decides not to attack)

Present perfect
He estudiado español y chino. (I have studied Spanish and Chinese)
He estudiado durante toda la mañana. (I have spent the whole morning studying)
Antes de las 10 ya me he estudiado la lección. (Before 10 I will be done studying the lesson)

Imperfect
Cuando estaba en la universidad estudiaba todos los días. (When I was in university I used to study everyday)
A las cinco estba estudiando. (At 5 o'clock I was studying)

Pluperfect
Ya había estudiado español antes de empezar el curso. (I had already studied Spanish before starting the course)

Preterite
Ayer estudié dos horas. (Yesterday I studied for two hours)

Future
Estudiaré cuando tenga ganas. (I will study when I feel like it)
Siempre saca buenas notas; estudiará mucho, supongo. ([He] always gets good marks; [he] will study a lot, I suppose)

Future perfect
El mes que viene me habré estudiado el libro entero. (Next month I will have studied the whole book)

Conditional
Estudiaría más si tuviera tiempo. (I would study more if I had the time)

Conditional perfect
Habría estudiado más si hubiera tenido tiempo. (I would have studied more if I had had the time)

SUBJUNCTIVE

Present
Aunque estudie mucho, lo sigo encontrando muy difícil. (Even though I study a lot, I keep finding it too difficult)

Present perfect
No creo que haya estudiado mucho, porque ha suspendido el examen. (I don't believe you have studied much, because you failed the exam)

Imperfect
Si estudiaras más, aprobarías todos los exámenes. (If you studied more, you would pass all exams)

Pluperfect
Si hubieras estudiado, habrías aprobado el examen. (If you had studied, you would have passed the exam)

1 Vote

The word "conjugation" refers to a group of verbs that share the same endings and patterns. I believe you are referring to the tenses, not the conjugations, since the conjugation of a verb has nothing to do with the way it is used, and there is almost nothing to understand about them: they are just patterns. If you are referring to the tenses, there are many (e.g. present, imperfect, preterite,...), and they are best learnt one at a time, and not all at the same time. So, what do you want exactly'

1 Vote

Lazarus
I respect your knowledge and the fact that you took time to reply.
But if you click on the "conjugation" tab at the top of this page you get a page full of whatever verb you key in. In my opinion tenses are to do with time. What I want is not just a page full of the various "forms" of the verbs but a page full of sentences using those forms - and the English equivalent sentence. Maybe only a few verbs which would be useful.

1 Vote

Just for the record:

1st conjugation (verbs ending in -ar): amar, jugar, andar,...
2nd conjugation (verbs ending in -er): beber, saber, entender,...
3rd conjugation (verbs ending in -ir): vivir, salir, dormir,...

These are the 3 main conjugations in Spanish. To conjugate a verb is to modify its inflexions following any of the conjugation patterns available. To understand the conjugations is to understand how these morphological changes take place, i.e. how the stem and the ending of the verbs take place. To understand tenses is to know how to use them in a sentence correctly (and be able to conjugate them correctly, of course).

But obviously, what you really want is to have an example of each tense in a sentence, and not to know how conjugations are inflected. Follow the link below. I wrote a rough equivalent of all tenses in English and Spanish with examples.

http://www.spanishdict.com/answers/show/8929/

However, remember that not all tenses are used the same in both languages. As I said before, you have to learn them one by one; it is the only way.

1 Vote

Thank you Lazarus - I looked at the link.
Part of which is here below:
Pretérito Imperfecto: Comía (roughly, I was eating)
Pretérito pluscuamperfecto: había comido (roughly, I had been eating)
Pretérito Imperfecto 'progresivo? (not the standard name): Estaba comiendo (roughly, I was eating)
Pretérito pluscuamperfecto"progresivo? (not the standard name): Había estado comiendo (roughly, I had been eating)

You mention for example "Comía" and say it is roughly "I was eating"
What about 'Estaba comiendo? that also translates to ? I was eating.
What about 'I used to eat? for the English 'imperfect?
Is 'Solía comer? the same as "Comía? or are they used in different ways?

I guess it is your proviso of "roughly" that illustrates the problem
for those of us who want to understand Spanish well.

1 Vote

Thank you Lazarus - I looked at the link.

Part of which is here below:

Pretérito Imperfecto: Comía (roughly, I was eating)

Pretérito pluscuamperfecto: había comido (roughly, I had been eating)

Pretérito Imperfecto 'progresivo? (not the standard name): Estaba comiendo (roughly, I was eating)

Pretérito pluscuamperfecto"progresivo? (not the standard name): Había estado comiendo (roughly, I had been eating)

You mention for example "Comía" and say it is roughly "I was eating"

What about 'Estaba comiendo? that also translates to ? I was eating.

What about 'I used to eat? for the English 'imperfect?

Is 'Solía comer? the same as "Comía? or are they used in different ways?

I guess it is your proviso of "roughly" that illustrates the problem

for those of us who want to understand Spanish well.
You've hit the nail on the head. For many cases (certainly more that half of the tenses), a simple example sentence is sufficient. However, there also cases where the correspondence is not exact (either Spanish has several ways to say [what in English) seems to be the same thing] or English has several options that all seem to correspond to a single tense in Spanish). This is especially true of the preterito (imperfecto or simple) in Spanish and, if you poke around, you'll fnd that Lazarus has addressed this question many times. Mostly these stem from the fact that Spanish and English speakers do not make the same temporal distinctions (at least, not when one considers the nuances). These differences are very/impossibly difficult to reduce to "rules"/examples (precisely because they result from different ways of looking at things).

1 Vote

Yes, word by word translations don't work, and tense by tense equivalences don't work either. These are only attempts to find matches or similarities between languages, but they are different languages after all.

My advice: learn one at a time, and use a GOOD book, ie. a book that focuses on what can you express with this or that tense, avoiding unnecessary and confusing comparisons with English tenses.

"Solía comer" can replace "Comía" under the right circumstances, but this only happens sometimes. "Solía" means "used to", something you did regularly for some time, whereas "comía" is used when you don't intend to specify when the eating finished. You can tell a story in the past where everything happened one day, and use "comía" to bring the speaker to that moment, avoiding the end of the story (the eating, to be precise). In this case, "solía comer" is completely different from "comía". You can also use "comía" to talk about an ongoing eating action happening in the past, without specifying the end; in this case, "solía comer" and "comía" are nearly equivalent, but only by accident.

1 Vote

I am sorry to go on about this but the replies have confused me even more. If what we see in the "conjugation" section are not conjugations then what are they?
Tenses - there are only 3 Present - Past - Future (that is not language but logic - what else is there')
The following is found for the verb Comer in the "Conjugation" section.
Is it beyond the wit of the experts to create a Spanish sentence that incoporates each of the following?
I am well aware that languages do not translate "word for word" but if the following exist then it must be possible to make a sentence with each of the variants - even if it would be difficult to write a definitive English equivalent.

Indicative Presente
como
comes
come comemos
coméis
comen

Pretérito
comí
comiste
comió comimos
comisteis
comieron

Pretérito imperfecto
comía
comías
comía comíamos
comíais
comían

Condicional
comería
comerías
comería comeríamos
comeríais
comerían

Futuro
comeré
comerás
comerá comeremos
comeréis
comerán

SubjunctiveSubjuntivo presente
coma
comas
coma comamos
comáis
coman

Subjuntivo futuro
comiere
comieres
comiere comiéremos
comiereis
comieren

Subjuntivo pretérito
comiera
comieras
comiera comiéramos
comierais
comieran

Subjuntivo pretérito #2
comiese
comieses
comiese comiésemos
comieseis
comiesen

Perfect Presente perfecto
he comido
has comido
ha comido hemos comido
habéis comido
han comido

Pasado perfecto
había comido
habías comido
había comido habíamos comido
habíais comido
habían comido

Pretérito perfecto
hube comido
hubiste comido
hubo comido hubimos comido
hubisteis comido
hubieron comido

Futuro perfecto
habré comido
habrás comido
habrá comido habremos comido
habréis comido
habrán comido

Condicional perfecto
habría comido
habrías comido
habría comido habríamos comido
habríais comido
habrían comido

Perfect Subjunctive Presente perfecto subjuntivo
haya comido
hayas comido
haya comido hayamos comido
hayáis comido
hayan comido

Pasado perfecto subjuntivo
hubiera comido
hubieras comido
hubiera comido hubiéramos comido
hubierais comido
hubieran comido

Futuro perfecto subjuntivo
hubiere comido
hubieres comido
hubiere comido hubiéremos comido
hubiéreis comido
hubieren comido

Imperative Imperativo

come
coma comamos
comed
coman

1 Vote

I am sorry to go on about this but the replies have confused me even more. If what we see in the "conjugation" section are not conjugations then what are they?

The conjugation section contains verbs conjugated in all tenses. Each fully conjugated verb belongs to a conjugation (a set of endings). If you say you don't understand conjugations, you mean that you don't understand how these endings are applied (-o, -es, -e, -emos, -éis, -en), but you are not saying that you don't understand how those tenses (using those conjugations) work.

Is it beyond the wit of the experts to create a Spanish sentence that incoporates each of the following?

I believe I did that in the link I gave you. Unless you want one for each person and tense, of course, but then they would look like:

Quiero un gato.
Quieres un gato.
Quiere un gato.

which would be a bit pointless. Besides, a verb constitutes a sentence by itself (e.g. Canto).

I am well aware that languages do not translate "word for word" but if the following exist then it must be possible to make a sentence with each of the variants - even if it would be difficult to write a definitive English equivalent.

How many more examples do you need apart from the ones I gave you in the link? Or how different do they have to be so they are useful to you?

Anyway, I'd like to point out -again- that trying to learn all tenses in one go is bound to be pointless, specially if you try to compare them with their English counterparts. They have to be learnt one at a time, and in context.

I suggest that you try to learn one at a time, and you post one question every time you don't understand how one tense works. You'll find that something as simple as present tense requires some learning, because English present tense is different sometimes.

1 Vote

I appreciate the replies above but now I give up.

Don't give up, I'm particularly interested in this conversation.

If I (or you) can create a sentence illustrating each and every form of a verb in English why should that be impossible in Spanish? At least for one verb - say Comer.

I don't think this is a matter of difficulty as much as of it being pointless. Unless you see several sentences in various contexts, you will probably not grasp the full meaning of a particular tense/mode.

I will ask this: Do you have any idea how daunting it is for someone who is learning Spanish to be confronted with what is shown in the "Conjugations" section?

In my case, I don't really have a clear idea, but I suspect the whole concept of "conjugation" is somewhat foreign to English speakers. Conjugation does exist in English but it is so trivial it does not merit much, or any, thought.

I was wondering if perhaps you do not really understand what "conjugation" means. Lazarus has already explained it but I will try a different approach:

There are two aspects to verb usage; one is the "mode", the idea or tense you are trying to express; the other is the "person", the subject of the verb. Those two things are separate. Conjugation refers strictly to the "person" aspect, and apart from irregular verbs it is formulaic and a matter of rote learning (which is why it can be done by computers)

The "mode" aspect, however, is quite tricky because it's full of nuances. Those, as Lazarus said, must be learned one at a time, and you will probably never fully master some of the more esoteric ones (trust me, apart from the teachers here even native speakers have trouble with this stuff)

Do you think this distinction helps, or have I just added to your confusion? If it helps, it might be possible to go from here. If you're still confused, we can try to make it clearer.

1 Vote

Heitor
Thank you for your conciliatory comments. I have not given up learning Spanish but I still refuse to believe that it is impossible to create sentences illustrating each and every form of at least one verb - I mentioned Comer as an example. If these forms exist it must be possible. I must say I resent being told it is "pointless"
Whether or not we learners know what conjugation is or not is irrelevant. For me tense is about time only. Mood / MOde and all the other stuff is just academic language used to describe language.
I will give up on this thread unless someone tells why what I ask for (now only for one verb) is "impossible". Even if it takes several sample sentences for the same form of the verb. I know the simple present for example in English can be used to mean the "future" so I would make more than one illustrative sentence.

Heidita
What Lazarus wrote was helpful but it was not what I was asking for.

1 Vote

Yes guys that is what I wanted. Thank you very much.
From the list given by Lazarus (he changed while I was working with it)do I have the correct interpretations below? I would appreciate your feed back a lot.
Thank you Heitor for your list as well.

Estudio chino todos los días.
I study Chinese every day.
El año que viene estudio en Oxford.
Next year I (will) study in Oxford.
Napoleón estudia el problema y decide no atacar.
Napoleón studies the problem and decides not to attack.
Present perfect
He estudiado durante toda la mañana.
I have studied all morning.
Imperfect
Cuando estaba en la universidad estudiaba todos los días.
When I was at the university I used to study every day.
Pluperfect
Ya había estudiado español antes de empezar el curso.
I had already studied Spanish before starting the course.
Preterite
Ayer estudié dos horas.
Yesterday I studied for two hours.
Future
Estudiaré cuando tenga ganas.
I will study when I feel like it.
Siempre saca buenas notas; estudiará mucho, supongo.
He always gets good marks, he will study a lot, I suppose. ''?
Future perfect
El mes que viene me habré estudiado el libro entero.
Next month I will have studied the entire book.

Conditional
Estudiaría más si tuviera tiempo.
He would study more if he had more time. '?
Conditional perfect
Habría estudiado más si hubiera tenido tiempo.
I would have studied more if I had had time.
Subjunctive
Present
Aunque estudie mucho, lo sigo encontrando muy difícil.
Although I studied a lot, I continue finding it very difficult.
Present perfect
No creo que haya estudiado mucho, porque ha suspendido el examen.
I do not think he has studied much, because he has 'suspended? '? the exam.
Imperfect
Si estudiaras más, aprobarías todos los exámenes.
If you studied more, you would pass all the examinations.
Pluperfect
Si hubieras estudiado, habrías aprobado el examen.
Had you studied, you would have passed the exam.

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