25 Essential Beginner Spanish Verbs

Spanish Verbs

Skill Level: Beginner Level

So many Spanish verbs to learn, where to begin? You’ve already begun to learn some, but you’re a little overwhelmed.  Verbs, I assure you, are the most important part of any language. They are the action words, the words that give life to your speech. They act as the glue that holds all the other words together in a sentence. Once you identify the verbs in a sentence your ability to understand its meaning jumps up at least 50% in my opinion. I can hear what you’re thinking right now, “But there are so many which ones should I learn first?” Yes, there are a lot, but there certainly is a list that you should focus on to drop in your toolbox in order to increase your ability to understand and communicate.

***DOWNLOAD FREE 25 ESSENTIAL SPANISH VERBS FOR BEGINNERS PUZZLES and receive my free newsletter.

When I started learning Spanish I focused on the basic verbs that were the most useful for everyday situations. We’re not going to look at conjugations right now.  So let’s go through the list below.

I. Learn and II. Repeat

Again the first step in learning is to get acquainted with the material being presented. So let’s go over the list below and they are in no particular order. Please understand that there are other essential verbs besides the ones on this list, but you must start somewhere. While you review the list you should repeat them out loud several times to become comfortable with their pronunciation. This will alo the start the process of memorizing them.

25 Essential Spanish Verbs to Learn for a Beginner

English Verb Spanish Verb Reason to learn it.
To speak, to talk Hablar One of the main communication verbs and most used in the language. You can use it to ask if someone speaks English too, “¿Usted habla inglés?”
To listen (to),to hear Escuchar Another communication verb and way to confirm a message was received.
To understand Entender Great confirmation verb to check if you are communicating effectively.
To write Escribir Again another communication verb and great tool to use when you need something written to help you understand something.
To read Leer Another communication verb. Can be used to ask someone to say something out loud or simply to follow along. Written language is allows easier to understand.
To eat Comer One of the most important bodily functions.
To sleep Dormir Another vital bodily function.
To do,
to make
Hacer One of the most versatile verbs in the language.
To like Gustar Express what pleases you or you don’t approve of.
To open Abrir Necessary action to complete multiple tasks.
To close Cerrar Another necessary action to complete tasks.
To need Necesitar You always express things that you lack.
To say Decir Perhaps the most important communication verbs and maybe one of the top three verbs overall. You need to learn new words; therefore, you need to ask how to “say” them.
To clean Limpiar A normal everyday task.
To leave, to go out Salir Necessary to talk about when people depart in past, present and future.
To go Ir Another one of the top used, most versatile verbs.
To go in, to enter Entrar How else would you ask someone to come inside?
To buy Comprar You need to purchase things, right?
To stop Parar Sometimes it’s necessary to end an action.
To start Empezar Everything has a beginning.
To happen Pasar You must communicate an occurrence.
To end, to finish Terminar All good things must come to an end and you should be able to say it.
To see Ver One of the 5 senses, a verb you will use quite often.
*to be Ser *Without a doubt, the MOST IMPORTANT VERBS in Spanish.
*to be Estar Estar and Ser both mean “to be” but are used in different circumstances. (More on this in a future post.)

III. Practice

You must see them over and over again to truly memorize them. That’s where flashcards will come in handy. Please download and print off the ones I created. If you can recite the verbs without much effort then you have done a fabulous job memorizing them. You will have to practice them several times. There are other ways to practice.

Other Ways to Practice with Spanish Verbs for Beginners

  • Read Spanish children’s books. You will see many essential verbs appear often while reading something that you can handle.
  • Write to Online Friends. Chatting or just emails are some of the best ways to increase vocabulary since you typically use many of the same verbs multiple times.
  • Write to Me. Use the contact information below.

IV. Use

Conversation, conversation, conversation. There’s no real secret here. You want to learn to speak Spanish, then speak Spanish. All the other practice drills are just that- drills to prepare you for the real thing. They help you memorize vocabulary and correct any mistakes. Use these verbs as often as you can.

Please feel free to write to me with questions.

Hablamos pronto,

Rick

Advertisements

Spanish Opposites: Video, Vocabulary List and Game

DOWNLOAD: FREE SPANISH OPPOSITES PUZZLES HERE

Do you like games? How about learning Spanish with games? Well, we are going to play one to learn one of the most useful lists of vocabulary to help improve your fluency- Spanish opposites. Opposites will allow you to describe situations and details more easily. Again we will go through the 4 steps of the learning process. During the “practice” step  we will play a game to help improve our retention of the words from the list. The game is part of the slide show I made which will also take you through all the learning steps. Don’t forget to pick up your FREE GIFT above this paragraph. I have personally created three downloadable and printable Spanish Opposites Puzzles and to receive future updates and more free gifts from my newsletter which I send out periodically.

Play close attention to the pronunciation and repeat the words aloud. Our goal is not only to pronounce the words correctly but also to do so with as little accent as possible, if at all.

Continue reading

Speak Spanish Today: At the Restaurant/En el Restaurante, Part 1

Skill Level: Basic

¿Tienes hambre? Are you hungry? Well, maybe for knowledge you are at least. One thing I find very important about learning Spanish is not getting bored. So let’s try our best to learn things you can use. And what better thing  is there to learn than to know how to actually speak in sentences? Anyone? That’s right! How to speak in full sentences about food.  🙂

As you may have seen in another one of my posts about advancing Spanish fluency we talk about the learning process. Just glancing over some random grammar point is not enough to retain what you’ve learned. You have to repeat, practice then use the material before it sticks in your brain. Imagine talking about playing the piano, perhaps even tapping on a few keys then expecting yourself to play a whole song in front of an audience. Not gonna happen! It’s also why just taking classes alone isn’t going to make you fluent or even hold much of even a basic conversation.

The same thing goes for languages except in you also have to think on the run too.  Until you are forced to think about what you want to say you will have a tough time memorizing words, sentence order and so on. So briefly here is the learning system again:

Learn (be introduced to new grammar, vocabulary,etc)-Repeat (write or speak out loud sample sentences)-Practice (at home, classroom)-Use (in real world situations)

Dining is a fun atmosphere in which to use your Spanish and no matter where you live there seems to be at least some restaurants where the whole staff speaks Spanish.

So first step…

I. Learn

Here are some phrases we will start with. We are not going to recreate a whole skit of being at a restaurant rather the parts you speak. So take a peek at the list below.

Phrases:

-Tengo hambre. = I’m hungry.
-Tengo sed. = I’m thirsty.

Verbs:
-querer = to want
-comer = to eat
-tomar/beber = to drink

-dar = to give
-traer = to bring/to come with (side dish with meal)

Nouns:
-entremés(appetizer): sopa de vegetales (vegetable soup), ensalada (salad)
-plato principal(main dish): carne (meat), pescado (fish), pollo (chicken), arroz (rice), platanos maduros (fried sweet plantains), tostones (fried plantains)
-bebida(drink): cerveza (beer), agua (water), refresco/soda (soda), jugo de naranja (orange juice), leche (milk)
-postre(dessert): tres leches (tres leches), flan (flan), helado (de vainilla, chocolate, fresa)= vanilla, chocolate or strawberry ice cream

Repeat + Practice

Now we are going to combine the next steps in the learning process. We are going to make flashcards out of notebook/index cards. Go back over the list and…

Create Flashcards

1. On one side write the Spanish word in big letters in the middle of the card.  In the bottom right corner write the type of word, for example, “verbo”, “sustantivo”, etc…

2. On the other side of the card write the English word in small letters in the middle of the card and in the lower right corner the type of word, verb, noun and so on.

*Note: The purpose of the Spanish being in big letters and the English in small letters is to make the Spanish stand out in your mind. In fact, you could even use two different colors: Spanish in RED and English in BLACK.

**Note: I would recommend drawing the images on the back or finding some pics online to cut and tape to the back of the cards instead of using the English translations. Image association is more powerful than using the English translations. You will need some help from your first language, but the less the better.

Flashcard Drill Instructions

1. Put all flashcards in one pile Spanish side facing up.
2. Guess word in English by saying it out loud. Turn over to check for answer.
3.  If correct place in “correct pile”. If not, put in “retry pile”.
4.  Go through all flashcards one time. Review “retry pile” cards for correct answers before attempting the answers a second time.
5.  Go through flashcards in “retry pile” again.
6.  The drill is finished when you no longer have anymore “retry pile” cards left.
7.  Restart drill but reversing the language facing up. Now do the same exercise but starting from the other language.

Drill to Perfection

Do the drill enough times to where you can think of the word in either language without any effort.

Complete Sentences/Putting It All Together

At the risk of information overload I decided to place the last step in another post. Please click the link below to finish the exercise.

Speak Spanish Today: at the Restaurant, Part 2

Spanish Vocabulary Memorization: My Flashcard Technique

It’s been a while since I used flashcards because at this point I truly see the same objects and actions in both English and Spanish. To me a table is a “mesa”, a street a “calle”, a cat a “gato”, to eat is “comer” and so on. They’re all the same and you will get there too. I’d bet you’ve already gotten there with some words. Here’s a technique you may like that I used to build Spanish vocabulary fast. I used picture flashcards as much as possible.  I mention in another one of my posts about building vocabulary fast through images instead of translating with the use of picture dictionaries and picture flashcards.  Here  I will show you how I did it.  I am not an artist, but I can draw a little. So I used to draw images of actions and objects on one side of an index card and the Spanish word on the other. Don’t worry if you cannot draw at all I will recommend some other ways to get around it. Try these exercises.

Create Your Own Flashcards with Drawings

I. Create the cards

1. Buy some cheap index cards.

2. Cut them in half to save on cards.

3. Choose a category like your bedroom.

4. Draw various objects on one side of each card until you have a pile of 10-15.

5. Look up the word in a Spanish-English dictionary, phone app or electronic translator.

6. Write the word on the opposite side of the drawing.

II. Memorization Technique

1. Look at all the cards one at a time. DO NOT try to memorize through the first run.

2. Next turn all the cards with the drawings facing up. And one-by-one attempt to say the word on the other side. DO NOT stop just look    at each card one time.

3. Create two piles. Put the cards you don’t know in one pile and the ones you do know in the other.

4. Repeat these steps until you get all the cards correct.

5. The next step is to complete one run without getting any incorrect.

6. The final step is to randomly pull cards out of order to see how well you know them. In your free time randomly repeat this exercise to     increase the likelihood you memorize your new words. Here’s my most important tip though. Upon learning any new word or phrase to       ensure you memorize it for the long term you must use them at least three times within two weeks of learning them.

Tips to Create Flashcards for People that Do Not Draw

1. Search Images on Bing, Yahoo or Google.  Do a search for the category of free printable Spanish flashcards, for example, zoo animals,         colors, vegetables, etc. Just know that it may take several minutes to find exactly what you want.

2. Clip Art and Tables in Microsoft Word.  If you are comfortable working with Word then create tables and fill them with text first then the    images.

Bonus Spanish Flashcard Exercise for the Home and Office

This is the easiest exercise and perhaps most effective. Use index cards to create flashcards with just the words (no English translation please) for the objects in your home and office. Then simply tape them to the objects. Keep them posted up for several weeks. Please take the extra step to actually look at them and say them aloud. You will automatically associate the words and objects together and you won’t have to drill yourself to learn them because you will just casually look at them as you go through your day. Years from now you that image of your microwave with the card “microondas” will be stuck in your head!

Spanish Vocabulary: Days of the Week…and how to memorize them

Learning vocabulary is the foundation of learning any language. Accepting that you need to take it one step at a time and start from the beginning will be vital  to managing your emotions and expectations while you improve your knowledge and skills to speak and understand Spanish.  In the beginning I tried to learn as much vocabulary as possible. I focused on the sets of words and phrases that would come in handy most. Describing time is extremely important. Let’s take a peek at the days of the week first and how to remember them. Then do not forget your free downloadable flashcards.

The week in Spanish starts with Monday. Let’s start there. Days of the week in Spanish are NOT capitalized.

Days of the Week in Spanish

  • lunes /LOO-nace/                            Monday
  • martes /MAR-tace/                        Tuesday
  • miércoles  /MEER-ko-lace/          Wednesday
  • jueves   /HOOAY-vace/                 Thursday
  • viernes  /VEEAIR-nace/                 Friday
  • sábado /SA-ba-do/                         Saturday
  • domingo /do-MIN-go/                  Sunday

Let’s break the week into 3 parts.

The first half of the work week: lunes, martes, miercoles

The second half of the work week: jueves, viernes

And the weekend: sábado, domingo

Focus on each part by repeating the days of that part over and over until you memorize them.

Another way to memorize them is come up with clues to remembering them, sort of like memory joggers.  So let’s try it.

  • Lunes” starts the work week and when that happens you “lose” sleep. The “lu” part of lunes and “lose” have similar vowel sounds. Sounds stupid, but trust me this stuff works.
  • Marti gras”, the holiday, or big party in New Orleans, means Fat Tuesday.  Marti and martes are very similar since both of their roots come from Latin, and both have to do with Tuesday.
  • Once you get to the middle of the week the first half is in the rearview “mirror”. So miércoles is the rearview “mirror”. Miércoles, mirror. Again the first part of the word sounds similar.
  • “Who’s” going to the party tomorrow? Tomorrow is Friday night so you would like to know “who” is going to be there. Who, jueves.
  • Don’t “veer” off now, the weekend is here. “Viernes” is finally here.
  • Saturday and sábado start with the same two letters “sa”. It’s the only day of the week that starts the same both in Spanish and English.
  • Tomorrow you will start making “dough” again. Today is “domingo” but tomorrow begins the work week when you start earning money again.

All of these clues are just ideas on how to help you memorize them. Any vocabulary you learn will eventually become second nature and you will not have to use goofy clues to remember them.

Get your days of the week PDF. Use card stock in your printer to print off sturdy cards and your days of the week reminder exercise.