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Verb Guide






Used to tell what

happens generally


I work six hours a day.


Hace + time exp. + que =  I have been working here one year.


(-ar) o, as, a, amos, áis, an    hablo, hablas, habla, hablamos, habláis, hablan

(-er) o, es, e, emos, éis, en    como, comes, come, comemos, coméis, comen

(-ir)  o, es, e, emos, ís, en      abro, abres, abre, abrimos, abrís, abren


Stem-changing-        change e to ie, e to i, o to ue in all singular forms and 3rd person plural

Spelling change-      ger/gir verbs change g to j in the yo form (elijo, eliges, elige, etc.)

Spelling change-      in verbs ending in -uir (except guir), a y is inserted in all forms except   nosotros and vosotros (huyo, huyes, huye, huimos, huis, huyen)

Irregular yo forms-   caigo, conozco, digo, doy, estoy, hago, oigo, pongo, quepo, salgo, sé,                                    sigo, soy, tengo, traduzco, traigo, vengo, venzo, veo








Expresses an action that was  begun or was completed in the past.


Supe- I found out

Quise- I tried

No quise- I refused

Conocí- I met

Tuve- I had, got Pude- I managed

    (I could and did)

No pude- I tried     and couldn’t




Hace + time exp. + que =  I worked here one year ago.


(-ar) é, aste, ó, amos, asteis, aron        hablé, hablaste, habló, hablamos, hablasteis, hablaron

(-er & -ir) í, iste, ió, imos, isteis, ieron   comí, comiste, comió, comimos, comisteis, comieron


Stem-changing verbs ending in -ir- change e to i, o to u, in 3rd singular and plural

Spelling change-      zar verbs change z to c only in the yo form (almorcé, almorzaste)

                        gar verbs change g to gu only in the yo form (pagué, pagaste)

                        car verbs change c to qu only in the yo form (expliqué, explicaste)

Spelling Change-      unaccented i changes to y in 3rd person singular and plural                                   (leyó / leyeron, creyó / creyeron, oyó / oyeron, cayó / cayeron,                                                            influyó / influyeron, huyó / huyeron)


The verbs below and their compounds have an irregular stem in all forms of the preterite.  They use the following endings:

                                    e, iste, o, imos, isteis, ieron (j + eron)

tuve (tener), estuve (estar), anduve (andar), hice hizo (hacer), vine (venir), quise (querer), puse (poner), pude (poder), supe (saber), cupe (caber), dije (decir), traje (traer), hube (haber), produje (producir), conduje (conducir), traduje (traducir), introduje (introducir)


ser / ir   fui, fuiste, fue, fuimos, fuisteis, fueron

dar        di, diste, dio, dimos, dieron

ver        vi, viste, vio, vimos, vieron  (not irregular, often asked about)





IR StC verbs

herir (i, i)

elegir (i, i)

repetir (i, i)

servir (i, i)

pedir (i, i)

vestir (i, i)

exigir (i, i)

medir (i, i)

seguir (i, i)

conseguir (i,i)

reír (i, i)

sonreír (i, i)

senitr (ie, i)

mentir (ie, i)

sugerir (ie, i)

preferir (ie, i)

divertirse (ie,i)

hervir (ie, i)

reñir(i, i)*


a.     description

b.     habitual action

c.     ongoing action

d.     age / time

e.     narration in a story

f.       generally used with verbs of thought

(-ar) aba, abas, aba, ábamos, abais, aban                            hablaba, hablabas, etc.

(-er, -ir) ía, ías, ía, íamos, íais, ían                                          comía, comías, etc.


Three irregulars:

ser - era, eras, era, éramos, erais, eran

ir - iba, ibas, iba, íbamos, ibais, iban

ver - veía, veías, veía, veíamos, veíais, veían







podía - I was able

no podía - I wasn’t able

quería - I wanted

no quería - I didn’t want

sabía - I knew (info)

tenía - I possessed


(-ar, -er, -ir) é, ás, á, emos, éis, án (Attach to infinitive)            hablaré, comerás, abrirá


These 12 verbs and compounds use the following irregular stems:

cabré, diré, habré, haré, podré, pondré, querré, sabré, saldré, tendré, valdré, vendré




(probablity in present)

irá - he probably goes


(-ar, -er, -ir) ía, ías, ía, íamos, íais, ían                                                hablaría, comerías, abriría


(Attach to infinitive - same irregulars as in future)



(probability in past)

iría - he probably went




(Present Perfect)

he, has, ha, hemos, habéis, han                                                        he hablado, has comido


Present of haber + past participle (past participle = ado / ido form)

Irregular past participles:  abierto, cubierto, descubierto, dicho, escrito, hecho, impreso, muerto, puesto, resuelto, roto, visto, vuelto

These past participles have accents on the i of -ido:  caído, creído, leído, oído, reído, traído






(Past Perfect)


había, habías, había, habíamos, habíais, habían                                había hablado

(Imperfect indicative of haber + past participle)




habré, habrás, habrá, habremos, habréis, habrán                             habré hablado

(Use future of haber + past participle)





habría, habrías, habría, habríamos, habríais, habrían                        habría hablado

(Use conditional of haber + past participle)






Used in dependent clauses

a.     noun clauses after verbs of persuasion or will, disbelief, negation, doubt, emotion, opinion and judgment when there is a change of subject.  


      He wants me to go.


b.  adverbial clauses

     introduced by certain 


     PESCA³ - always

     MHCADTALE - sometimes

     CSHAPED - change into



     We will do it when we

     return from the store.


c.  adjective clauses

     after an antedecent

     that is questioned,

     non-existent, or unknown


    Is there someone here

    who speaks Russian?


d. other uses    

    certain if clauses   

    after como si  

    after quiera expressions                

(-ar) e, es, e, emos, éis, en    hable, hables, hable, hablemos, habléis, hablen

(-er) a, as, a, amos, áis, an    coma, comas, coma, comamos, comáis, coman

(-ir)  a, as, a, amos, áis, an    abra, abras, abra, abramos, abráis, abran


Form by dropping the o of the yo form of the present indicative, then adding the opposite vowel.


StC:     same as present indicative for -ar and -er verbs.

                        cierre, cierres, cierre, cerremos, cerréis, cierren

                        vuelva, vuelvas, vuelva, volvamos, volváis, vuelvan

            same as present indicative for -ir verbs +++ nosotros and vosotros         forms  change e to i (o to u):

                        divierta, diviertas, divierta, divirtamos, divirtáis, diviertan

                        duerma, duermas, duerma, durmamos, durmais, duerman


SpC:    zar - z to c before any ending beginning with an e (all forms)

            gar - g to gu before endings beginning with an e (all forms)

            car - c to qu before endings beginning with an e (all forms)

            ger/gir - g to j before endings beginning with an a (all forms)


Irreg. verbs in pres. indic. Have the spelling of the yo form (minus the o).


haga                hagas              haga                hagamos            hagáis             hagan

ofrezca            ofrezcas          ofrezca            ofrezcamos            ofrezcáis         ofrezcan

recoja              recojas            recoja              recojamos            recojáis           recojan

siga                 sigas               siga                 sigamos            sigáis               sigan


DISHES:         dar:             des              demos             deis                 den

                        ir:         vaya     vayas   vaya     vayamos            vayáis              vayan

                        ser:     sea      seas    sea      seamos            seáis               sean

                        haber: haya    hayas  haya    hayamos            hayáis              hayan

                        estar:  esté     estés   esté     estemos            estéis              estén

                        saber: sepa    sepas  sepa    sepamos            sepáis             sepan






Quiere que hable.

(He wants me to talk.)


Insiste en que yo hable.

(He insists that I talk.)


Prefieren que no hable.

(They prefer that I not talk.)


Me dicen que hable.

(They tell me to talk.)


Me sugieren que hable.

(They suggest that I talk.)


Es importante que hable.

(It’s important that I talk.)


Es bueno que hable.

(It’s good that I am talking.)


Es necesario que hable.

(It’s necessary that I talk.)


Duda que hable.

(He doubts that I talk.)


No creen que hable.

(They don’t believe I talk.)


Esperan que hable.

(They hope that I talk.)




The imperfect subjunctive frequently is translated in the same way as the present subjunctive.  You must use the imperfect subjunctive if the verb in the main clause is in a past tense:

a.     preterite

b.     imperfect (indicative)

c.      conditional

d.     past perfect


Always use the imperfect subjunctive in if clauses that express a condition that is contrary to fact or one that is

hypothetical; also it must be used after como si.


Si fuera tú, no iría.

If I were you, I would not go.


Si tuviera tiempo, lo haria.

If I had time, I would do it.


Habla como si lo supiera.

He talks as if he knew it.




ra, ras,  ra, ´ramos, rais, ran    fuera, fueras, fuera, fuéramos, fuerais, fueran

se ses, se, ´semos, seis, sen   fuese, fueses, fuese, fuésemos, fueseis, fuesen


Form by dropping the ron of the third person plural of the preterite.


SPC - leer / leyeron ® leyera, leyeras, leyera, leyéramos, leyerais, leyeran

            (oír, construir, caer, creer, influir, huir, influir, distribuir, contribuir)

STC -  ar / er verbs do not show a stem change in the past subjunctive

            (volviera, volvieras, volviera, volviéramos, volvierais, volvieran)

            (pensara, pensaras, pensara, pensáramos, pensarais, pensaran)


            ir verbs do show a stem change:

            repetir - repitieron ®   repitiera, repitieras, repitiera, repitiéramos,                                                         repitierais, repitieran

            mentir - mintieron  ®  mintiera, mintieras, mintiera, mintiéramos,                                                          mintierais, mintieran

            dormir - durmieron ® durmiera, durmieras, durmiera durmiéramos,

                                                durmierais, durmieran


Irregulars (Same stem as in preterite in all forms of the past subjunctive)

            tuviera, anduviera, estuviera, quisiera, hiciera, viniera, pusiera,        pudiera, supiera, cupiera, dijera, condujera, trajera, tradujera






Queria que yo hablara.

(He wanted me to talk)


Insistió en que hablara.

(He insisted that I talk)


Prefería que hablara.

(He preferred that I talk.)


Me dijeron que hablara.

(They told me to talk.)


Sugirieron que hablara.

(They suggested I talk.)


Fue bueno que hablara.

(It was good that I talked)


Dudaban que hablara.

(They doubted that I talked.)


Esperaban que hablara.

(They hoped that I would talk.)



(Used to translate “has, have” with past participle.)


haya, hayas, haya, hayamos, hayáis, hayan + the -ado or -ido form

(Present subjunctive of haber + past participle)  . . que haya hablado

(dicho, hecho, puesto, visto, roto, vuelto, abierto, cubierto, escrito, muerto)

(caído, traído, creído, leído, oído)




Dudan que haya hablado.

They doubt I have talked.


(Used to translate “had” with the past participle.)


hubiera, hubieras, hubiera, hubiéramos, hubierais, hubieran + ado / ido form

(Imperfect subjunctive of haber + past participle) . . . que hubiera hablado

(dicho, hecho, puesto, visto, roto, vuelto, abierto, cubierto, escrito, muerto)

(caído, traído, creído, leído, oído)



Se alegraban de que yo hubiera hablado.

They were glad that I had talked.


            The subjunctive is the mood of the subordinate (dependent) clause whose action is determined by the verb of the main clause.  It is used in noun clauses, adjective clauses, and adverbial clauses.  The rules of usage will vary according to the kind of dependent clause in the sentence.  In many cases que is used to introduce the subordinate (dependent) clause.  Often a change of subject is needed in order to use the subjunctive.  There are four subjunctive tenses.  Once it is determined that the subjunctive is needed, refer to the tense sequence chart to find the proper tense.


                         present         imperfect (past)        present perfect         past perfect (pluperfect - pluscuamperfecto)



To determine proper subjunctive tense, identify the tense of the main verb.  Choose the tense of the subjunctive verb from this chart.


  If the MAIN VERB is:

then, the SUBJUNCTIVE VERB is:

Present Indicative

Future Indicative


Present Perfect Indicative


Present Subjunctive


(Present Perfect Subjunctive) *

Preterite Indicative

Imperfect Indicative

Conditional Indicative

Pluperfect Indicative

Imperfect Subjunctive


(Pluperfect Subjunctive) *


* Present perfect and pluperfect (past perfect) are specifically used to translate "has ___ed" and "had ___ed" when the subjunctive is needed.


1.     In Noun clauses the main verb must express will, influence, persuasion, emotional reaction, doubt or negation, opinion, judgment (necessity, probability, etc.) and the subject of the main clause and that of the dependent clause must be different.


a.     With the verbs obligar, prohibir, aconsejar, permitir, hacer, mandar y dejar, the infinitive may be used.

b.     The subjunctive is not used after:  es verdad, es cierto, es obvio, es evidente, es claro   


                          Insisten en que vayamos.                                                                 Insistían en que fuéramos.

                          Será necesario que salgamos temprano.                                        Era necesario que saliéramos temprano.

                          Me sorprende que no lo tengas.                                                       Me sorprendió que no lo tuvieras.

                          Niegan que ella lo haya visto.                                                           Negaron que ella lo hubieran hecho.


2.     In Adverbial clauses the subjunctive is used after certain conjunctions.  These are divided into two groups: always and sometimes.  The PESCA³ conjunctions always take the subjunctive.  The MHCADTALE conjunctions take the subjunctive if the action in the subordinate clause has not been realized; it is anticipated to happen later.  CSHAPED conjunctions are the conjunctions from the two previously mentioned lists that should be changed into prepositions by dropping que and using the infinitive form when there is no change of subject.


                        PESCA³ (always)                                           MHCADTALE (sometimes)*                         CSHAPED

                        Para que                     so that                         Mientras                      while                            Con tal (de) que

                        En caso de que           in case that                 Hasta que                    until                              Sin que

                        Sin que                        without                         Cuando                       when                           Hasta que

                        Con tal (de) que          provided that               Aunque                        although, even if          Antes (de) que

                        Antes (de) que            before                          Después de que         after                             Para que

                        A menos que               unless                         Tan pronto como        as soon as                  En caso de que

                        A no ser que                unless                         Así que                        as soon as                  Después de que

                                                                                                Luego que                   as soon as

                                                                                                En cuanto                    as soon as


                                                                                                *Use the indicative if the action has happened or happens regularly.



                        Enseña para que aprendan.                                                               Ensenaré cuando yo termine mis estudios.

                        Salió sin que lo viéramos.                                                                Te lo diremos tan pronto como lo veamos.




                        Salió sin decir nada.                                                                           Me quedé aquí hasta que volvieron.

                                                                                                                                    Me quedaré aquí hasta terminar mi trabajo.


3.     In Adjective clauses (relative clauses) the subjunctive is used when the antecedent is unknown, nonexistent, or questioned.


                        No hay nadie que lo sepa.                                          BUT                Hay alguien aquí que lo sabe.

                        ¿Tienen Vds. Algo que esté en liquidación?                                       Tenemos unos cosas que están en liquidación.

                        Busco un vestido que me quede mejor.                                             Tengo un vestido que me queda mejor.





4.     Other uses:


a.     ojalá (que)                                                always takes subjuntive                      Ojalá que vengan.  (I hope they come.)

b.     -quiera expressions                               always take subjunctive                      Quienquiera que lo haga, lo hará bien.  (Whoever does it,                                                                                                                                  will do it well.)

c.     quizás / tal vez  (perhaps)                      generally take subjunctive (use indicative if you wish to show greater certainty)

                                                                                    (a lo mejor always takes the indicative)


d.     acaso (perhaps)                                       takes subjunctive in a statement (indicative in a question)

e.     aunque (although)                                    takes sujunctive if the clause refers to a hypothetical situation (takes indicative if it refers to                                                                                certainty)

f.       por + adj. (adv.) + que (however)          always takes subjunctive        Por guapo que sea, no saldré con Juan.
(However handsome he may be, I will not go out with John.)

g.     concessive statements                         always take subjunctive          Sea lo que sea.  (Be that as it may.)

h.     if clauses                                                 always take subjuntive when they express a hypothetical situation or one that is contrary to                                                                                    fact.

1.     If I have time, I will go.                      No subjunctive; this expresses a possible event in the present time.  Use future and                                                                                      present of the indicative mood.  (Si tengo tiempo, iré.)

2.     If I had time, (now, but I don’t)            Use imperfect subjunctive in if clause and conditional in the result clause.
I would go.                                          (Si tuviera tiempo, iría.)

3.     If I had known, (but I did not)              Use past perfect subjunctive in if clause and conditional perfect in the result clause.
I would have gone.                            (Si hubiera sabido, habría ido.)


i.       como si (as if)                                          always takes the imperfect subjunctive
(Habla como si fuera importante.)



Subjunctive uses       



 noun clauses (will, persuasion)


Insisten en que salgamos.

They insist that we leave.

after verbs / expressions of will, ordering, telling, etc. with a change of subject


querer               decir*                escribir*            prohibir              empeñarse en         desear

insistir en          aconsejar          pedir                 sugerir              mandar             recomendar

exigir                rogar                 preferir              obligar               dejar                 ojalá



noun clauses (doubt, disbelief)


No estoy segura de que lo sepa.

I’m not sure he knows it.


after verbs / expressions of doubt, disbelief, denial with a change of subject


no creer            negar                dudar                es dudoso         hay duda            no estar seguro



noun clauses (emotion)


Me alegro de que vayas.

I’m glad you are going.


after expressions of emotion with a change of subject


esperar             alegrarse de      temer                sentir                tener miedo de

sorprender         asombrar           gustar               es lástima         estar contento


noun clauses (opinion, judgment)


Es necesario que lo sepas.

It’s necessary that you know  it.


after impersonal expressions of opinion/judgment about another’s actions/situation with a change of subject         

es bueno           es necesario      importa             es dudoso         vale                   parece  mentira

es raro              es posible         es probable       es importante    conviene            es improbable

es malo             es preciso         es imposible     



adverbial clauses (always)


No irá a menos que vayamos.

He will not go unless we go.

after these conjunctions which always take subjunctive


a menos que                             para que*                                  con tal de que*                              a no ser que

antes (de) que*                          sin que*                                    en caso de que*                  a fin de que*


(If there is no change of subject with those marked by an *, drop que and use the infinitive form.)



adverbial clauses (sometimes)

Lo haré cuando vuelva.

I will do it when I return.

Siempre lo visito cuando vuelvo.

I always visit him when I return.

Siempre lo visitaba cuando volvía.

I always visited him when I returned.

Lo visité cuando volví.

I visited him when I returned.

after these conjunctions when the action in the dependent clause is anticipated (not already happened)


cuando              mientras            luego que          en cuanto          tan pronto como    después de que*

aunque              así que              hasta que*        


(If there is no change of subject with those marked by an *, drop que and use the infinitive form.)


Questions to ask:

Has the action happened?                                              Yes?     Use the preterite.

Does it happen on a regular basis?                                  Yes?     Use the present (or imperfect for past)

Is it anticipated that the action will happen later?           Yes?     Use the subjunctive


adjective clauses

after a non-existent, unknown, or questioned antecedent


There is no one here who understands this.

No hay nadie aqui que comprenda esto.


I’m looking for a secretary who speaks three languages.

Busco una secretaria que hable tres lenguas


Is there a restaurant here which serves French food?

¿Hay un restaurante aquí que sirva comida francés?



-quiera expressions

por + adj. (adv.) + que

after -quiera expressions and por + adj. (adv.) + que


cuandoquiera                 whenever                                                           Cuandoquiera que venga, nos lo dirá.

dondequiera                   wherever                                                            Estará contento dondequiera que esté.

adondequiera                 (to) wherever (used with verbs of motion)            Adondequiera que vaya, lo hallaré.

quienquiera                    whoever                                                 Quienquiera que lo sepa, me lo dirá.

quienesquiera                whoever (plural)                                      Quienesquiera que salgan, volverán.

cualquier                       whatever (adj. Sing)                                            Cualquier libro que leas, te divertirás.

cualquiera                     whatever (pronoun)                                             Cualquiera que haga, estará contento.


por + adj. (adv.) + que    however, no matter how                                      Por rico que sea, no estará contento.

                                                                                                            Por rápido que corra, no ganára.



si clauses




A si clause in the present tense will always take the indicative because you are expressing a possible event in the present.


I will go if I have time.

Iré si tengo tiempo.


after si in a clause that expresses a condition that is hypothetical or contrary to fact


If I were you, I would leave now.                                                            Si fuera tú, saldrías ahora.

If they were to come, I would visit them.                                                Si vinieran, los visitarían.

I would help you if I had time.                                                                Te ayudaría si tuviera tiempo.


(Use past subjunctive in the if clause, and the conditional* in the result clause.)



If I had been you, I would have left.                                                        Si hubiera sido tú, habría salido.

If I had seen her, I would have given it to her.                                          Si la hubiera visto, se lo habría dado.

I would have done it if I had known.                                                       Lo habría hecho si hubiera sabido.




como si                                

after como si; always use the imperfect subjunctive


He speaks Spanish as if he were Cuban                                               Habla español como si fuera cubano



















(Speak to him.)



(Open them.)



(Sit down.)



(Speak to him.)



(Open them.)



(Sit down.)


(Speak to him.)



(Open them.)



(Sit down.)


(Speak to him.)



(Open them.)



(Sit down.)


(Let's speak to him.)



(Let's open them.)



(Let's sit down.)

Que le hable Ana.

(Have Ana speak to him.)


Que los abra ella.

(Let her open them.)


Que se sienten aquí.

(Have them sit here.)








Use 3rd sing., pres. indic.


8 irregs.: di, haz, pon, sal, sé, ten, ve, ven


Drop r of infinitive, add d.


Reflexive pronoun is os.

Accent i before os: divertíos


Use 3rd sing., pres. subj.


Use 3rd pl., pres. subj.


Use 1st pl., pres. subj.


-ir StC verbs change e to i (o to u): durmamos, pidámosle, vistámonos.


Reflexive verbs drop s before adding nos.



Use 3rd sing. or pl., pres. subj.


Use que to introduce command.


Object pronouns precede.







No le hables.

No los abras.

No te sientes.



No le habléis.

No los abráis.

No os sentéis.


No le hable.

No los abra.

No se siente.


No le hablen.

No los abran.

No se sienten.


No le hablemos.

No los abramos.

No nos sentemos.


Que no le hable Ana.

Que no los abra ella.

Que no se sienten aquí.








Use 2nd sing., pres. subj.


Use 2nd pl., pres. subj.


-ir StC verbs change e to i (o to u): no durmáis, no os vistáis



Use 3rd sing., pres. subj.


Use 3rd pl., pres. subj.


Use 1st pl., pres. subj.


-ir StC verbs change e to i (o to u): no durmamos, no le pidamos, no nos vistamos.



Use 3rd sing. or pl., pres. subj.


Use que to introduce command.


   1.      Attach object pronouns to affirmative commands (accent next to last vowel sound) except indirect command.

   2.      Put object pronouns before negative commands.



haber hablado            Use the ifinitive haber + the past participle (ado, ido)


                                    Me alegro de haberla visto.

                                    I am glad to have seen her.




habiendo hablado        Use the gerundio (present participle of haber ) + the past participle

                                    Habiendo terminado, salimos.

                                    Having finished, we left.




(Present participle)




The Spanish gerunds of estar, ir, and venir are  not used to form progressive tenses of these verbs.

hablando                     May be used to form progressive tenses or may be used without helping verb.


                                    Juan está hablando en español.

                                    El chico hablando en español es un nuevo estudiante.


StC -   -ir verbos: e to i; o to u                       durmiendo, repitiendo, vistiéndose, viniendo, diciendo

SpC -  insert y                                               leyendo, cayendo, creyendo, trayendo, oyendo, huyendo

irregegulars:                                                 yendo (ir), pudiendo (poder), riñendo (reñir *)


Used with estar to form progressive tenses:

            Estoy hablando                                  I am talking

            Estaba hablando                                I was talking

            Estaré hablando                                I shall be talking


Also used with seguir, continuar, ir, venir, salir, and andar:

            Salió riendo.                                      He went out laughing.

            Venían corriendo.                             They came running.

            Sigue leyendo.                                  He keeps on reading.

            Continuará trabajando.                    He will continue working.


The Spanish gerund is often the equivalent of by + an English participle:

          Viajando, se aprende mucho.              By traveling, one learns much.

          Estudiando, se saca buenas notas.   By studying, one gets good grades.


The English gerund (-ing verb form functioning as a noun) is expressed by using (el) infinitive:

          (El)  mentir es un vicio.                        Lying is a vice.






Ser Passive (People and Things)


Se Passive (Things)


Se Passive (People)



María fue elegida por los estudiantes.

(Maria was elected by the students.)


Los libros serán contados por Juan.

The books will be counted by Juan.


La ciudad ha sido atacada por el enemigo.

The city has been attacked by the enemy.




Se pintó la casa en junio.

The house was painted in June


Se publicarán sus obras en español.

His works will be published in Spanish.


Se han marcado las pruebas.

The tests have been graded.



Se eligió a María.

Mary was elected.


Se castigará a los niños.

The children will be punished.


Se ha detenido a los ladrones.

The thieves have been arrested.


Subject of sentence is either a person or thing.


Subject is a thing.


Subject is a person.








Agent (doer) is ex­pressed or implied

 by = por   (de - emotion)



No agent mentioned.


No agent mentioned.


Subject/verb agreement.


Subject/verb agreement - always 3rd person singular or plural.


No subject/verb agreement.  Verb is always 3rd person singular.








Subject/past participle agreement.


Las flores han sido regadas por Ana.



No past participle agreement.

- ado, - ido (always ends in o)



No past participle agreement.

- ado, - ido (always ends in o)



Sido = been - this form never changes.


Se replaces all ser forms.


Se han encontrado las llaves.

The keys have been found.


Se replaces all ser forms.


Se la ha encontrado.

She has been found.












Se ha encontrado a Ana.

Ana has been found.


Use a before name/noun which is subject.




      I.        Verbs that require prepositions before a following infinitive:













comenzar (ie)




dejar (to stop)

consentir (ie)








acordarse (ue)




contar (ue)





volver (ue)








empezar (ie)







soñar (ue)










tropezar (ie)


     II.        Verbs that do not take a preposition before a following infinitive:

                deber                                     esperar                          necesitar                         poder (ue)                   prometer                   soler (ue)

                dejar (to allow)                     hacer                              oír                                     preferir (ie)                  querer (ie)                 ver

                desear                                   lograr                             pensar(ie)                       querer (ie)                   saber


    III.        Hace  and  desde with expressions of time       

                Hace + time expression + que + present tense  (action started in past and continues into present)

                Hace un año que vivimos aquí.                                          We’ve been living here for a year.

                ¿Cuánto tiempo hace que vives aquí?                             How long have you been living here?


                Present tense + desde hace

                Vivo aquí desde hace un año.                                            I’ve been living here for a year.

                ¿Desde cuándo trabajas?                                                  How long have you been working?


                Hace + time expression + que + preterite (to place a past event at some point in time)

                Hace dos días que salieron.                                              They left two days ago.                                              

                ¿Cuánto tiempo hace que ocurrió la boda?                    How long ago did the wedding occur?


                Hace + time expression + que + imperfect (action had been going on at a point in the past)                  

                Hacía veinte años que trabajaba cuando                        He had been working twenty years when he won

                 ganó la lotería.                                                                      the lottery.

                ¿Cuánto tiempo hacía que dormían?                               How long had they been sleeping?


                Imperfect tense + desde hace

                Viajaban desde hace un mes.                                           They had been traveling for a month.

                ¿Desde cuándo dormían.                                                   How long had they been sleeping?


   IV.                                      Por                                                                                             Para

                Adverbial expressions  por eso                                         Purpose (goal, intention)  para aprender             

                Substitution (on behalf)   por mí                                         Employment  una silla para la sala; trabaja para IBM

                Through, by means of  por el parque                               Future time  para la semena que viene                      

                Reasons, motives por miedo                                             About to   Están para salir

                In favor of (with estar)  está por ir                                      Considering that  para un nño de tres anos, habla . . .

                Passive voice “by”  por Juan                                               Toward (destination)  Salieron para la playa

                Equivalence, “per”  por hora                                               Opinion  Para mí, no es difícil.

                Duration of time  por tres semanas                                  Recipient  una carta para ti                                     

                Object of an errand  fue por leche                                                                                      

                Xchange  cinco dólares por el libro



V.                                          Ser                                                                                                                                                                           Estar

                Identification                         Material                          Lasting qualities (adjs.)                                                                             Resultant condition             Location

                Profession                            Possession                  Economic condition                                                                                    Temorary condition             Passing traits

                Nationality                             Origin                             Passive voice                                                                                                                                                               Progressive tenses   

                Time/place of events          Religion                         Time and date

                Destination (Es para ti)                                              Math


VI.           Subject                                                    Direct Object                                       Indirect Object                                Reflexive            Prepositional          

                yo                nosotros (as)                  me               nos                                     me              nos                                 me            nos                                           nosotros (as)                        

                                 vosotros (as)                    te                 os                                       te                 os                                   te               os                    ti                          vosotros (as)                                                       

                él, ella        ellos, ellas                        lo (le)          los                                      le                 les                                  se             se                    él, ella                ellos, ellas               

                usted          ustedes                             la                 las                                                                                                                              usted                  ustedes


  VII.        Relatives

                A relative pronoun begins an explanatory clause that it links to a noun or pronoun in the preceding clause.



Things / Ideas



que (who, which, that)

que (that, which)

as subject and direct object

Ana es la chica que llamé.  Tiene el libro que necesito.

a, de, en, con + quien, quienes  (whom)

a, de, en, con + que (which, that)

as object of preposition

Ana es la chica de quien te hablé. 

quien, quienes (who)


subject of nonrestrictive clause 

Ana, quien está en mi clase, va a salir para Lima hoy.

cuyo, cuyos, cuyos, cuyas  (adjective)


agrees with noun it modifies

Ana es la chica cuyos padres están en Europa.


     1.        El cual - el que         El cual and el que are the relative pronouns used instead of que and quien after prepositions of two or more syllables, sin, and por.  These compound relative pronouns each have four forms and therefore can indicate the number and the gender of their antecedent.


                el que, la que, los que, las que / el cual, la cual, los cuales, las cuales                 Hay muchas cosas sobre las cuales (las que) no tenemos ningún control.


                The forms of el cual and el que are also used to avoid ambiguity when there is more than one possible antecedent.  Escribí al padre de Juan, que estaba enfermo indicates that John was sick, becuase que refers to the closest antecedent.   A more distant antecedent is indicated with el cual or el que.  Thus, Escribí al padre de Juan, el cual (el que) estaba enfermo indicates that the father was ill.


     2.        lo que, lo cual  The neuter relatives lo que and lo cual are used when the antecedent is a previous clause or statement, rather than a noun or pronoun. 


                Juan no va al baile, lo que (lo cual) me extraña.                      . . . which surpises me.

                La niña dice que no fuma, lo que (lo cual) es verdad.            . . . which is true.


                In addition lo que (not lo cual) is the equivalent of the non-interrogative what, or that which.


                Lo que dices es interesante.                                                            What you say is interesting.


     3.        El que (and its forms) and quien, quienes may be used to translate:  He who, The one, etc.

                Las que llamaron son mis tías.                                                       The ones who called are my cousin.

                Quienes estudian, aprenderán.                                                       Those who study will learn.