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1. In order to preserve the sound of the infinitive, regular verbs that end in -car, -gar, and -zar have spelling changes in the first person (yo) as follows:

Infinitive Preterit
c to qu buscar/ to look for busqué/ I looked for
sacar/ to pull out saqué/ I pulled out
atacar/ to attack ataqué/ I attacked
g to gu llegar/ to arrive llegué/ I arrived
pagar/ to pay pagué/ I paid
apagar/ to turn-off apagué/ I turned-off
z to c empezar/ to start empe/ I started
comenzar/ to commence comen/ I commenced
almorzar/ to eat lunch almor/ I ate lunch

2. Verbs ending in vowel + irand vowel + er, such as caer/ to fall, the preterite ending -ió (which is for él, ella, Ud.) and -ieron (which is for ellos, Uds.), change to -yó and -yeron respectively.


Infinitive él, ella, Ud. ellos, Uds.
leer/ to read le (leyó) leyeron
oír/ to hear o oyeron
caer/ to fall ca cayeron
construir/ construct constru construyeron
Other verbs:contribuir/ to contribute, destruir/ to destroy, incluir/ to include, atribuir/ to attribute, creer/ to believe, huir/ to run away.

3. The following examples have irregular endings for yo and Ud. The endings are -e and -o instead of and -ió. NOTE: NO written accent is required.


Infinitive yo Ud.
andar/ to go, to walk anduve anduvo
caber/ to be contained cupe cupo
estar/ to be estuve estuvo
hacer/ to make hice hizo
haber/ to have (auxiliary) hube hubo
poder/ to be able, can pude pudo
poner/ to put puse puso
saber/ to know supe supo
tener/ to have tuve tuvo
querer/ to want quise quiso
venir/ to come vine vino

4. Verbs that end in -decir and -ducir, j is used as follows:

EXCEPTION: The verb traer/ to bring is in this category.


Pronoun decir/ to tell reducir/ to reduce traer/ to bring
yo/ I dije reduje traje
tú/ you dijiste redujiste trajiste
él, ella, Ud./ he, she, you dijo redujo trajo
nos./ we dijimos redujimos trajimos
vos./you dijisteis redujisteis trajisteis
ellos, Uds./ they, you dijeron redujeron trajeron


Prefixes des-, in-, and re-

1. The prefixes des- and in- are used to indicate the opposite meaning to the word that they modify.


Acuerdo/agreement desacuerdo/disagreement
Hacer/to do deshacer/to undo
Heredar/ to inherit desheredar/disinherit
Vestirse/to get dressed desvestirse/to get undressed
Consciente/conscious inconsciente/unconscious
Útil/useful inútil/useless
Experto/expert inexperto/ unskilled, inexpert
Feliz/happy Infeliz/unhappy

2. The prefix re- is used to emphasize or increase the meaning of the word that it modifies. If re- is added to a verb, it means to repeat the same action. Furthermore, if re- modifies an adjective, it means very.

NOTE: In Spanish, there are two slang prefixes, requete- and super-, that are more intense than -re, but NOT as intense as superlative forms of adjectives. They mean practically the most. Furthermore, they can modify ONLY adjectives.


Hacer/ to do rehacer/ to redo NA
difícil/ difficult redifícil/ very difficult requetedifícil, superdifícil
linda/ pretty relinda/ very pretty requetelinda, superlinda



Diminutives are used to express smallness or affection.

English has a few common diminutives, such as kitty, doggy, sonny,also some proper names have diminutive forms, such as Bobby, Vicky, etc. In Spanish, most nouns and adjectives have diminutive forms, which is the equivalent to modifying a word with little. The most common diminutive suffixes are the following:

MASCULINE -ito, -cito -itos, -citos
FEMININE -ita,-cita -itas, -citas

The following diminutive suffixes are less commonly used:

MASCULINE -illo -illos
FEMININE -illa -illas

1. Generally, when words end in -a , -o or -te, the vowel is dropped and -ito(s) or -ita(s) is added. For the other words -cito(s), -cita(s) are used. However, these are NOT rules. They are only guides because there are many variations.


dedo/ finger dedito
cabeza/ head cabecita
elefante/ elephant elefantito
peine/ comb peinecito
camión/ truck camioncito
mujer/ woman mujercita
sol/ sun solcito
lunar/ mole lunarcito
solo/ alone, lonely solito

NOTE: When looking up a word in a dictionary, be aware of diminutives, which are NOT listed. Therefore, try to find the base word.

2. There are many words that end in -illa(s), -illo(s), -cilla(s), -cillo(s) that are NOT diminutives:

martillo/ hammer martillito
ladrillo/ brick ladrillito
pocillo/ demi-tasse (small cup) pocillito
platillo/ saucer or dish (food preparation) n/a
bocadillo/ finger food bocadillito
bolsillo/ pocket bolsillito
silla/ chair sillita


Conocer & Saber/ to know


In Spanish, there are two verbs that are equivalent to the English verb to know:conocer and saber. They are used to express distinct types of knowledge; they are NOT interchangeable.


Pronoun Present Past Future Conditional
yo/ I conozco conocí conoceré conocería
tú/ you conoces conociste conocerás conocerías
él, ella, Ud./ he, she, you conoce conoció conocerá conocería
nos./ we conocemos conocimos conoceremos conoceríamos
vos./you conocéis conocisteis conoceréis conoceríais
ellos, Uds./ they, you conocen conocieron conocerán conocerían

1. Conocer is used to express familiarity or acquaintance with a person, a place, or a thing.


· Conozco a tu mamá./ I know your mother. (person)

· Ella conoce Bariloche muy bien./ She knows Bariloche very well. (place)

· Ana conoce el idioma./ Ana knows the language.(thing)

NOTE: The preposition a is required before a direct object noun (mamá) only when that noun is a person, but a is NOT required when referring to a place or thing (Bariloche, idioma).

2. Conocer means to meet for the first time or to make someone's acquaintance.


· Conocí a tu mamá./ I met your mother.

· Voy a conocer a los padres de mi prometido./ I am going to meet my fiancée's parents.

NOTE: In Spanish, the past tense of conocer expresses the meaning of meeting someone for the first time.



Pronoun Present Past Future Conditional
yo/ I supe sabré sabría
tú/ you sabes supiste sabrás sabrías
él, ella, Ud./ he, she, you sabe supo sabrá sabría
nos./ we sabemos supimos sabremos sabríamos
vos./you sabéis supisteis sabréis sabríais
ellos, Uds./ they, you saben supieron sabrán sabrían

1. Saber is used to express knowledge of factual information.


· Sé dónde queda Buenos Aires./ I know where Buenos Aires is.

· Pedro sabe de qué hablamos./ Pedro knows about what we talked.

2. Saber means to know something by heart.


· Sé esa canción (de memoria)./ I know that song (by heart).

· Sabíamos todas las óperas./ We used to know all of the operas.

3. Saber + infinitive.

This construction is used to indicate knowledge of how to do something.


· Nosotros sabemos cocinar./ We know how to cook.

· Mi hijo sabe nadar./ My son knows how to swim.


The gerund is also called the present participle; however, the gerund is NOT the equivalent to the English gerund. It may NOT be used as a noun as in English. The English gerund is normally translated into Spanish as an infinitive.


7. Saludarcon un beso es habitual en la Argentina./ Greeting with a kiss is customary in Argentina.

8. Abrir los negocios los domingos es raro./ Opening the stores on Sundays is rare.


1. The gerund is formed by removing the infinitive endings, -ar, -er, and -ir and by adding -ando to -ar and -iendo to -er and -ir as follows:

Infinitive Cancelar/ to cancel vender/ to sell salir/ to go out
Gerund Cancelando/ canceling vendiendo/ selling saliendo/ going out

2. If the -er or -ir verb stem ends in a vowel, add -yendo instead of -iendo to form the gerund as follows:

Infinitive Gerund
oír/ to hear oyendo/ listening
caer/ to fall cayendo/ falling

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