One of the hardest parts of learning Spanish is the verbs. If you haven’t heard, verb is the word. (Lame. Forgive me.) Verbs are probably the subject that even students earning online masters degrees in Spanish have a difficult time keeping straight.
As a fifteen-year-old sophomore in high school, I started learning Spanish and was immediately overwhelmed with the verbs. Not only were there so many of them, there were so many irregular ones—or so it seemed at the time. (Okay, it still seems that way.) Irregular verbs became the bane of my Spanish-language-learning existence.
I’m happy to report that those days are over! Really! After having thought about this for a while, I realize now that I just get it. This … this is immensely exciting, folks! I used to think of verbs as shoes:
If you’re Spanish, you may find this hilarious. I know Mario did when I first showed him. You see, many verbs are stem-changing verbs, but I prefer their informal appellation: boot verbs. You never realized footwear could be used to learn a language, now did you? In fact, this is a very useful way of learning stem-changing verbs. You see, all the verbs that fit in the boot change their stem.
Note: the vosotros form was marked out because they did this in high school! What was their problem? “You’ll most likely never go to Spain.” Chyeah. I see how that worked out.
You see how only the nosotros and vosotros forms don’t change? That’s because—and solely because—they don’t fit in the boot. Yep. Boots for the win!
And this only the present tense! You Spanish speakers get this since you (obviously) speak English, but our verbs in English are really simple. No need to conjugate for the most part; you just need to add an s in the singular third-person present tense, and you’re good to go. (Thus, I get, you get, she/he gets, etc.)
I used to find this daunting. There were so many verbs to memorize and so many different ways to conjugate them, even if the boot thing did help. What changed? I don’t know, really, but one day it just clicked!
Nowadays, when I see a verb like alzar (and consequently realzar), I know instinctively how to conjugate it, in all the tenses. (Okay, not instinctively. This took a lot of work, people!) By the way, it’s like this:
Now that I have the whole conjugation thing down, it’s my goal to master the immense quantity of verbs. I’ve got my work cut out for me.
(Newest verb learned: desentreñar. Newest non-verb learned: picana.)