Explanation

Quick Answer

All Spanish infinitives end in either -ar, -er, or -ir, as in hablar, leer, and escribir.

Verbs that end in -ar are more common than -er and -ir verbs, and there are fewer irregulars.

Regular -ar Verbs

Most -ar verbs follow the same conjugation pattern. To conjugate a regular -ar verb, follow these steps:

  • First, decide your tense. Every tense in Spanish has a different set of endings.
  • Next, remove the infinitive ending (-ar).
  • Lastly, add the ending that matches the subject of the sentence.

Click here for a comprehensive conjugation chart for the regular Spanish verb bailar. You can follow the same pattern to conjugate all other -ar verbs, unless they are irregular.

Here is a list of the most common regular -ar verbs. These verbs are regular in all forms and tenses.

SpanishEnglishSpanishEnglish
acabar
to finish/end
levantar
to get up/raise
aceptar
to accept
lograr
to achieve/manage to
amar
to love
llamar
to call
ayudar
to help
llevar
to carry
caminar
to walk
mirar
to watch/look at
considerar
to consider
necesitar
to need
crear
to create
parar
to stop
dejar
to leave/allow
pasar
to happen/pass
entrar
to enter
preguntar
to ask
escuchar
to listen
presentar
to introduce/present
esperar
to wait/hope
quedar
to stay
estudiar
to study
resultar
to turn out
formar
to form/make
terminar
to finish
ganar
to earn/win
tomar
to take
gustar
to like
trabajar
to work
hablar
to speak/talk
tratar
to treat

Let’s take a look at some examples using these regular -ar verbs.

examples
Hablo italiano y francés.
I speak Italian and French.
Marcos entró en la casa.
Marcos entered the house.
De niña me gustaba saltar a la cuerda.
When I was a child I liked to jump rope.
Les pedí que me esperaran.
I asked them to wait for me.

Irregular -ar Verbs

-ar Stem Changers

Many common -ar verbs have a stem change when conjugated in the present tense. These verbs use the same endings as regular -ar verbs, but undergo a vowel change in the last syllable of the stem.

Present tense stem changes do not apply to nosotrosand vosotrosforms. These two forms maintain the form of the infinitive stem.

e > ie

For verbs in this group, the e in the last syllable of the stem changes to ie. Some common -ar verbs that undergo this change are:

SpanishEnglish
cerrar
to close
comenzar
to begin/start
empezar
to begin/start
pensar
to think
recomendar
to recommend
sentarse
to sit

o > ue

For verbs in this group, the o in the last syllable of the stem changes to ue. Some common -ar verbs that undergo this change are:

SpanishEnglish
almorzar
to have lunch
contar
to count
costar
to cost
encontrar
to find
probar
to try
recordar
to remember
soñar
to dream

u > ue

For verbs in this group, the u in the last syllable of the stem changes to ue. Jugaris the only verb with this change.

Take a look at the conjugations of three stem-changing -ar verbs.

subjectPensar (e > ie)Encontrar (o > ue)Jugar (u > ue)
yo
pienso
encuentro
juego
piensas
encuentras
juegas
usted
piensa
encuentra
juega
él, ella
piensa
encuentra
juega
nosotros
pensamos
encontramos
jugamos
vosotros
pensáis
encontráis
jugáis
ustedes
piensan
encuentran
juegan
ellos, ellas
piensan
encuentran
juegan
Pensar (e > ie)
yopienso
piensas
ustedpiensa
él, ellapiensa
nosotrospensamos
vosotrospensáis
ustedespiensan
ellos, ellaspiensan
Encontrar (o > ue)
yoencuentro
encuentras
ustedencuentra
él, ellaencuentra
nosotrosencontramos
vosotrosencontráis
ustedesencuentran
ellos, ellasencuentran
Jugar (u > ue)
yojuego
juegas
ustedjuega
él, ellajuega
nosotrosjugamos
vosotrosjugáis
ustedesjuegan
ellos, ellasjuegan

Click here to learn more about irregular present tense verbs.

-car, -gar, and -zar Verbs

The first person singular (yo) form of verbs ending in -car, -gar, and -zar undergo the following changes in the preterite tense:

Verb TypeChangeExample
-carc changes to qu
busqué
-garg changes to gu
pagué
-zarz changes to c
almorcé

Common -car, -gar, and -zar Verbs

Here is a list of some common -car, -gar, and -zar verbs you're likely to come across.

-car VerbsEnglish-gar VerbsEnglish-zar VerbsEnglish
buscar
to look for
pagar
to pay
almorzar
to have lunch
explicar
to explain
llegar
to arrive
utilizar
to use
tocar
to touch/play
jugar
to play
empezar
to start
sacar
to take out
cargar
to charge
realizar
to achieve

Click here to learn more about irregular verbs in the preterite tense.

Estar and Dar

The Spanish verbs estarand darare irregular verbs in many forms and tenses.

To review estar in all tenses, click here. Click here to review the forms of dar.

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