Why Is Spanish So Difficult?



Have you every wondered why Spanish verbs seem so complicated? Although Spanish verbs can seem difficult to learn at times, they are not as complicated as you start to understand HOW to conjugate them. It’s super tempting and understandable to want to throw in the towel after a couple of weeks of mental exhaustion and frustration, but hopefully this article makes your journey easier. This platform is open-access, so feel free to browse World Linguistics TV

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The first thing that every Spanish language learner must be aware of is the infinitive. Infinitive verbs are unconjugated, meaning that they do not give us any insight into who performed the action, or when the action was performed. There are three infinitive verb endings: “Ar”; “er”; and “ir”. “Hablar” is one example of a commonly spoken infinitive ending in ar. Hablar means “to speak”, or “to talk”. “Ser” is an example of a commonly spoken infinitive verb ending in er. “Ser” means “to be”. “Venir” is our final example; it is a Spanish verb meaning “to come”.

In addition to the infinitive, the present indicative in Spanish is a present tense verb form that indicates to the receiver (in communication studies, the “receiver” is the person on the listening end of the conversation) who performs an action in the present moment. How we conjugate verbs in the present indicative largely depends on the verb; however, a general rule of thumb is that for ar verbs you conjugate according to pronouns. For “I”, we replace ar with “o”. For “you”, we replace ar with “as”. For “he”, “she”, and “you” (in the formal context), we drop “r” and leave the a. For “we”, we drop “ar”, and replace it with “amos”. For “they” and “you all”, we replace “r” with “n”.

So hablar in the present indicative is conjugated like this.

Yo hablo (I speak)

Tú hablas (you speak)

Él habla (he speaks)

Ella habla (she speaks)

Usted habla (you speak)

Nosotros hablamos (we speak)

Nosotras hablamos (we speak)

Ellos hablan (they speak)

Ellas hablan (they speak)

and

Ustedes hablan (you all speak)

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