Infinitives in Spanish
The infinitive is the most basic form of a verb. Verbs in the infinitive form indicate what an action is, but do not indicate anything about who is doing the action or at what point in time the action is taking place.
In English, infinitive verbs are preceded by the word to, as in to speak, to read, or to write. In Spanish, infinitives consist of only one word and are separated into three different conjugation sets according to their endings, -ar, -er, and -ir, as in hablar , leer , and escribir .
Most verb tenses use a form of the infinitive as the stem for their conjugations. In general, for regular verbs, you simply need to remove the infinitive ending (-ar, -er, and -ir) to find the stem, and then you can the add specific endings needed to give tense information.
Verbs that end in-ar are more common than -er, and -ir verbs, and there are fewer irregular -ar verbs than -er or -ir verbs. Here are some examples of common -ar infinitives and their stems.
|to look for||busc-|
|to listen to||escuch-|
|to miss/to yearn for||extrañ-|
Verbs that end in -er are the second-largest group of infinitives in Spanish. Here are some examples of common -er infinitives and their stems.
|to put into||met-|
Verbs that end in -ir are the smallest group of Spanish infinitives. Here are some examples of common -ir infinitives and their stems.