Did you know that in Spanish, there are over 11,000 verbs? Don’t worry, you definitely don’t need to rush to memorize all of them today. In fact, to be conversational, you only need to be able to use a small fraction of them. Here, we’ll give you a crash course of the most common verbs in Spanish so you can get chatting right away.
The Core 4
Nicknamed by some teachers “the core 4”, these are the 4 basic and most useful verbs for beginners.
1. Ser – to be. In Spanish, this is used to talk about your identity, where you’re from, personality and physical traits, the day of the week, the date, and the time.
2. Estar – to be. Although in English we also say “to be”, it’s used for different reasons. It’s used to describe your emotions and location. Just remember, “For how you feel and where you are, you can use the verb estar” to help you out.
3. Tener- to have. In addition to talking about your possessions, in Spanish, it’s also used to talk about age and certain conditions. For example, in English, I would say I am hungry, but in Spanish, hunger is something you have, not are. So you would say Tengo hambre.
4. Ir- to go. If you want to talk about where you go, or what you’re going to do, this is the verb to use.
More common verbs in Spanish
In addition to the Core 4, there are some other verbs that you can add to your vocabulary to be able to talk about a wider range of topics.
1. Hacer- to do/to make. You’ll notice this verb in lots of open-ended questions asking about things you do, like to do, want to do, etc.
2. Poder- to be able to. This is especially important if you need to ask to do something. You can start off a question with ¿Puedo…?
3. Saber- to know. (a fact/information). As a Spanish learner, this is crucial to be able to say if you know something or you don’t.
4. Querer- to want. Use this to express things you want to do, or objects you want. You could also tell someone te quiero to let them know you love them!
Remember, each of these verbs need to change based on the subject and the tense. For example, I wouldn’t say Yo ser maestra because that would mean I to be a teacher. I would need to conjugate the verb to soy so I can say Yo soy maestra, or I am a teacher. Do you struggle with conjugation? Check out our other blogs, or start one of our courses!