Conjugating a Verb

The verb in Spanish changes when it is conjugated. In English, the verb remains substantially the same. Because of this, English is a relatively simple language to learn to speak, albeit in a primitive sort of way. Primitive, or "pidgin", English is spoken widely throughout the world because, once a verb is learned, it can be easily conjugated with little or no modification. However, writing and reading English is a different matter altogether!
Let's look at an example:

English Spanish
run correr [to run]
I run Yo corro
Your run Tú corres
He runs Él corre
She Runs Ella corre
We run Nosotros corremos
They run Ellos corren [m]
They run Ellas corren [f]

Horrors!, you say. How could anyone ever learn the language?! You were probably thinking the very same thing before you picked up this book, and now....well, let's take a look:
In the above example, you will see that we have modified the verb ending. The verb "correr" ends in ...er, and all verbs with that ending would be modified (conjugated) the very same way.
In Spanish there are only three different verb endings.
[In English there are dozens!]
Let's extract a verb from one of the Rules we've learned. In Chapter Three we learned that English words ending in ....ate are translated to Spanish by substituting with.... ar.

Let's try Elevate.

We know that, in Spanish, it's Elevar. [to Elevate]
To conjugate this verb in Spanish, we will modify the ending (...ar) thus:

English Spanish
Yo Elevo I elevate
Tú Elevas You elevate
Él eleva He elevates
Ella eleva She elevates
Nosotros elevamos We elevate
Ellos elevan They elevate [m]
Ellas elevan They elevan [f]

Spanish is a POLITE Language

When referring to you, the familiar form in Spanish is . However, if,I don't know you very well, I will refer to you as usted.
This is called the polite form. (pronounced OOS-TETH, soft "th" sound as in They)
Usted can be abbreviated as Ud., always with a capital "U".
lf I am addressing a GROUP of people (the English plural is also you") Usted becomes ustedes.
The abbreviation for ustedes, is Uds., with a capital "U".
The abbreviated forms (of course) are used only in written Spanish.
To conjugate the verb elevar using usted it looks like this:

Usted eleva You elevate
Ustedes elevan You elevate

Usted is Neuter, which means it can be used for either Masculine or Feminine subjects.

Although it is a bit tiresome to remember all of this,it does have its advantages. Let's go back to the verb run and we'll learn a shortcut.
It's true that in English the conjugation is simple, but we must always attach the subject to the verb, as in I run, or We run.
In Spanish we modify the verb by changing its ending (Yo corro, Nosotros corremos).

By saying "corro", we imply that it is I who runs.

By saying "corremos", we imply that it is we who run.

Therefore, we can effectively eliminate the subject from the sentence by the treatment of the verb ending. We can state, simply:

(Yo) corro I run
(Tú) corres You run
Él corre He runs
Ella corre She runs
(Usted) corre You run
(Nosotros) corremos We run
(Ellos) corren They run
(Ellas) corren They run

Of course, if the subject is feminine (ladies, for example) and we want to get the point across that "they" refers specifically to a group of lady joggers, we would say "Ellas corren". We would attach the subject only if we wanted to specify the gender of the subject, male or female.

There are only three verb endings in Spanish:

...ar imitar [to imitate]
...er comer [to eat]
...ir sufrir [to suffer]

To conjugate verbs ending in ...ar, as in the Spanish verb imitar [to imitate], we substitute the ending with:

(Yo) imito I imitate
(Tú) imitas You imitate
(Él) imita He imitates
(Ella) imita She imitates
(Usted) imita You imitate
(Nosotros) imitamos We imitate
(Ustedes) imitan You imitate
(Ellos, Ellas) imitan They imitate

To conjugate verbs ending in ...er, as in the Spanish verb comer [to eat], we substitute the ending with:

(Yo) como I eat
(Tú) comes You eat
(Él) come He eats
(Ella) come She eats
(Usted) come You eat
(Nosotros) comemos We eat
(Ustedes) comen You eat
(Ellos, Ellas) comen They eat

To conjugate verbs ending with ...ir, as in the Spanish verb sufrir [to suffer], we substitute the ending with:

(Yo) sufro I suffer
(Tú) sufres You suffer
(Él) sufre He suffers
(Ella) sufre She suffers
(Usted) sufre You suffer
(Nosotros) sufrimos We suffer
(Ustedes) sufren You suffer
(Ellos, Ellas) sufren They suffer

That pretty well covers the PRESENT tense.

Most of the Spanish verbs that you have learned in the previous Chapters (Three & Four) end in...ar, so at this point you should be able to conjugate nearly two thousand different Spanish verbs, depending on your command of English. In the Appendix, you will find many verbs, with all three endings.
If you add a few thousand nouns, adjectives and adverbs, you can see that you are well on your way to expressing yourself in Spanish!
Don't forget that the subject (Yo, Tú, Él, etc.) does not need to be included, except in cases where you want to specify that the subject is masculine or feminine or you are using the polite form (Usted), in which case it is optional (when you want to specify that you are being polite).

Let's take a look now at the Past Tense

We will use the same verbs as we used in the Present Tense, "imitar" [to imitate], "comer" [to eat] and "sufrir" [to suffer] for a clearer illustration.
For verbs ending in ...ar we subsitute the ending with:

(Yo) imité I imitated
(Tú) imitaste You imitated
(Él) imitó He imitated
(Ella) imitó She imitated
(Usted) imitó You imitated
(Nosotros) imitamos We imitated
(Ustedes) imitaron You imitated
(Ellos, Ellas) imitaron They imitated

For verbs ending in ...er we substitute the ending with:

(Yo) comí I ate
(Tú) comiste You ate
(Él) com He ate
(Ella) com She ate
(Usted) com You ate
(Nosotros) comimos We ate
(Ustedes) comieron You ate
(Ellos, Ellas) comieron They ate

For verbs ending in ...ir, we substitute the ending with:

(Yo) sufrí I suffered
(Tú) sufriste You suffered
(Él) sufr He suffered
(Ella) sufr She suffered
(Usted) sufr You suffered
(Nosotros) sufrimos We suffered
(Ustedes) sufrieron You suffered
(Ellos, Ellas) sufrieron They suffered

Finally, with the same verbs, let's look at the Future Tense

For verbs ending in ...ar, we add the following to the ending:

(Yo) imitaré I will imitate
(Tú) imitarás You will imitate
(Él) imitará He will imitate
(Ella) imitará She will imitate
(Usted) imitará You will imitate
(Nosotros) imitaremos We will imitate
(Ustedes) imitarán You will imitate
(Ellos, Ellas) imitarán They will imitate

For verbs ending in ...er, we add the followingto the ending:

(Yo) comeré I will eat
(Tú) comerás You will eat
(Él) comerá He will eat
(Ella) comerá She will eat
(Usted) comerá You will eat
(Nosotros) comeremos We will eat
(Ustedes) comerán You will eat
(Ellos, Ellas) comerán They will eat

For verbs ending in ...ir, we add the following to the ending:

(Yo) sufriré I will suffer
(Tú) sufrirás You will suffer
(Él) sufrirá He will suffer
(Ella) sufrirá She will suffer
(Usted) sufrirá You will suffer
(Nosotros) sufriremos We will suffer
(Ustedes) sufrirán You will suffer
(Ellos, Ellas) sufrirán They will suffer

Once again, remember that by saying sufriré, we are implying that it is I who will suffer. We need not attach the subject [yo] to get the meaning across. This, naturally, is true for all the verb tenses!
There are other tenses, of course, such as past-perfect, future-perft etc., that you will want to include in further studies. For the purpose of this web, however, we've covered the ground!