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Como Hago

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Is there an easier way to learn/remember verb tenses! This is my main problem!

How many do I really need'

3175 views
updated ABR 15, 2008
posted by Mi-Hija

5 Answers

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Yes, CalvoVeijo has very good advice. Once you have the basic tenses down, one day suddenly it just "clicks" and its a lot easier. Then its just learning vocabulary. So, keep pushing and you'll be fine. Saludos,
Manutd

updated ABR 15, 2008
posted by manutd
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Thank you! This is very helpful. Those are the tenses that I concentrate on, along with the preterite, for now. I'm just learning the patterns of the haber construction. Yes, I do use the trusty Voy a.. for the future tense, though the future tense isn't as hard for me to remember. This is excellent advice, which gives me confidence to keep going!

Maybe our friends from Spain can offer some insight on this... When I have visited Latin America, I found it much less intimidating trying to speak Spanish.

When I visited Spain last year, particularly Sevilla, when I said something in Spanish, I often received a scowl or an answer back in English. I would ask my husband, did I say that right (he is a native Spanish speaker from Latin America). He would say yes, or it was usually a minor error. I know I have the typical North American accent.

Maybe it was just my experience. I loved Spain, and found most of the people, especially in Madrid to be open. I'd love to go back , when I have more confidence.

I know that it appears that as a gringa, I'm destroying their language, and that might be part of the resistance that I sensed.

updated ABR 15, 2008
posted by Mi-Hija
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Thanks for the encouragement, o gracias por la ayuda!

updated ABR 15, 2008
posted by Mi-Hija
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You gotta have present, past and imperfect, as a minimum. With those you can communicate, but you'll have a lot of limitations. You don't have to have the future tense, since you can always do what we do in English, that is, you can say "going to". "I am going to visit my friend" means about the same thing as "I will visit my friend." I've never notice a heavy use of the future tense in Spanish, but you'll want to pick it up eventually.

The more complex tenses are needed to be able to carry on a robust conversation. Every native speaker knows and uses most of them. Actually, they aren't that hard once you have the foundation of the simple verb forms. The complex ones just use simple tenses of the helping verb (haber) with a participle. The real challenge will be learning how to use the subjunctive. It's used much more in Spanish than in English. The subjunctive mood is dying in English (may it rest in peace). It's days may be numbered in Spanish, too.

One day, things will suddenly fall into place for you. Until that happens, don't worry. Use what you can. My experience is that native Spanish speakers tend to overlook mistakes us Gringos make. They seem to appreciate the fact that we're trying to learn their language, and are willing to help if we let them know we welcome their help. The two years I spent in Colombia in the early 70s were wonderful. I hated to leave. I'm glad that I'll be back in Bogotá in a few months for another two years!

updated ABR 7, 2008
posted by CalvoViejo
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Afraid not. I made flash cards for myself. After I learned the meaning of the verb, I started conjugating. After awhile it becomes easier.

updated ABR 7, 2008
posted by motley
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