HomeQ&AIs there a uniform rule. for the word endings for verbs in past, present, future and imperfect tenses?

Is there a uniform rule. for the word endings for verbs in past, present, future and imperfect tenses?


for example, thing that are happening at the time of being said PLAYING ..and all other verbs in the same tense end with ING PLAYED......past tense with most ending in ED PLAY..... dont know what tense this is (Shame on me) will play ...future tense ?

IS there a standard application of a rule/grammar applied to these in spanish ?

updated DIC 27, 2009
posted by Ekiim

4 Answers



You cannot say that Playing represents the time of being said.

Playing (present participle, gerundio) can be used to form present, past, future, conditional and any other continuous (progressive) tense. (by changing the tense of the estar verb)

Estaba jugando (tocando) is not happening at the time it is being said.

That would only be true for the present continuous (e.g. estoy jugando)

In general, English verbs ending in ED would be the simple past or preterite tense and was...ING would be the imperfect, habitual, past, but that is only a generality.

The present tense in Spanish (depending on context) can mean the present tense, the present progressive tense, the future tense, and even the past tense.

So you cannot meerly look at the verb ending in English and from it know which tense to use in Spanish. Furthermore, you need to look at more than the verb ending to tell which mood the verb is in. An English verb that ends in ED might be past tense, but past tense subjunctive or past tense indicative? You cannot tell by looking at only the English verb ending.

And as for future, past, conditional etc. it may not be a matter of looking at the verb ending itself, per se, but looking at the tense of the auxillary verb. (does, did, will, would, might, etc.)

If I understood your question correctly, no, there is no uniform rule for looking at the endings of English verbs and knowing which tense that it is in Spanish. It is more complicated than that.

updated DIC 27, 2009
edited by 0074b507
posted by 0074b507

If I am understanding you correctly, the set rule you are seeking is called verb conjugation. Yes, Spanish does have set rules for conjugating verbs. But some verbs do break the rules, these verbs are called irregular verbs.

Here is hablar conjugated through all its tenses. Keep in mind hablar is an -ar verb, the conjugation is different for -er and -ir verbs. Also, you may be more interested in the gerund (hablando) and the past participle (hablado), which correspond to our -ing and -ed forms respectively. (Although, in English, speak does not have an -ed form, rather it is spoken...because speak is an irregular verb in English).

You may find it usesful to go to a conjugator for multiple languages and compare, for example, hablar to speak.

updated DIC 27, 2009
posted by webdunce

Is there a uniform rule. for the word endings for verbs in past, present, future and imperfect tenses

Like the previous poster, I am not too sure what you are asking. If your question is "do all verbs form to a set rule in their endings , ie AR, ER and IR verbs"?, then the answer is no as all these groups have regular and irregular verbs which alter their terminations. Could you please clarify your question

updated DIC 27, 2009
edited by Eddy
posted by Eddy

I am not terribly sure what is being asked here, but suffice it to say that if you are dealing with a certain tense in English, it will translate as the same tense in Spanish. When I began learning Spanish, I did not know there were more tenses than just present, past, future. It gets a lot more complicated than that. Qfreed does a good job summing it up. It is important to realize that there are many variations on the simple present past and furute tenses.

If you were to say "he played" "he had played" "he was playing" these are all different types of tenses used to describe the past. They will all translate differently. "he plays" "he is playing" "he has played" are all variations on the present tense. It all goes on from here.

So as long as you know specifically which tense you are dealing with, the hard part is out of the way. It should translate nicely for you. I hope this is helpful.

updated DIC 27, 2009
posted by luhzon89
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