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Cheat Sheet

Spanish All-in-One For Dummies

From Spanish All-in-One For Dummies by Consumer Dummies

Spanish is a language that requires verb conjugation according to the person you’re speaking to and speaking about, so starting with present and past participles and the range of subject pronouns, you can talk about doing things all day long — and all day yesterday as well. In learning any language, the ABCs come in handy as does the proper form for all the questions you’ll be asking.

How to Form Participles of Regular Spanish Verbs

Verbs are what breathe life and action into Spanish and every other language. Forming present and past participles in Spanish lets you talk in active present tense to say, “I’m dancing,” and about what you did last night: “I danced!” The following tables show you how to form present and past participles for regular Spanish verbs ending in –ar, –er, and –ir.

Forming Present Participles in Spanish
Ending Verb Example Meaning Participle Meaning
-ar bailar to dance bailando dancing
-er comer to eat comiendo eating
-ir subir to go up subiendo going up
Forming Past Participles in Spanish
Ending Verb Example Meaning Participle Meaning
-ar bailar to dance bailado danced
-er comer to eat comido eaten
-ir subir to go up subido gone up

How to Conjugate Regular Spanish Verbs

As in almost every language, in Spanish you have to conjugate verbs because you use a different form of the verb depending upon who you’re talking to, who you’re talking about, and when the action took place. Conjugating verbs in Spanish means giving them different endings. The following tables show the endings to change (they’re in boldface) for regular verbs ending in –ar and regular verbs ending in –er and –ir.

-ar Verbs: hablar (to speak)
Person Present Preterit Imperfect Future Conditional Present Subjunctive
yo hablo hablé hablaba hablaré hablaría hable
hablas hablaste hablabas hablarás hablarías hables
él, ella, Ud. habla habló hablaba hablará hablaría hable
nosotros hablamos hablamos hablábamos hablaremos hablaríamos hablemos
vosotros habláis hablasteis hablábais hablaréis hablaríais habléis
ellos, ellas, Uds. hablan hablaron hablaban hablarán hablarían hablen
-er and -ir Verbs: beber (to drink) and subir (to go up)
Person Present Preterit Imperfect Future Conditional Present Subjunctive
yo bebo subo beb subí beb’a subía beberŽ subiré beber’a subiría beba 
suba
bebes subes bebiste subiste bebías sub’as beberás subir‡s beber’as subirías bebas 
subas
él, ella, Ud. bebe sube beb subi— bebía sub’a beberá subir bebería subir’a beba 
suba
nosotros bebemos subimos bebimos subimos beb’amos subíamos beberemos subiremos beber’amos subiríamos bebamos 
subamos
vosotros bebŽis subís bebisteis subis beb’ais subíais beberŽis subiréis beber’ais subiríais beb‡is 
subáis
ellos, ellas, Uds. beben suben bebieron subieron beb’an sub’an beberán subir‡n beberían subir’an beban 
suban

How to Ask Questions in Spanish

When you’re trying to master a new language such as Spanish, you have a lot of questions. Plus, you need question words if you just want to ask for general information. The following table lists the questions you’re likely use:

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Spanish Subject Pronouns

When speaking Spanish, the pronoun you use depends upon the person you’re speaking to and the person you’re speaking about. And, just as in English, you change pronouns according to person — I, you, he or she and we, you, they. The following table shows all the Spanish subject pronouns:

Singular Plural
1st Person yo (I) nosotros/as (we [male or mixed group/female])
2nd Person (you 
[informal]); Ud. (you [formal]) vosotros/as (you [informal; male or mixed group/female]); Uds. (you [formal])
3rd Person Žl (he); ella (she) ellos/as (they [male or mixed group/female])

Spanish Alphabet

The alphabet is the building block of any language, Spanish included. The following table goes through the pronunciation of each of the 27 letters of the Spanish alphabet, which is the same as the English ABCs except for the extra ñ:

a (ah) b (bveh) c (seh) d (deh)
e (eh) f (eh-feh) g (Heh) h (ah-cheh)
i (ee) j (Hoh-tah) k (kah) l (eh-leh)
m (eh-meh) n (eh-neh) ñ (eh-nyeh) o (oh)
p (peh) q (koo) r (eh-reh) s (eh-seh)
t (teh) u (oo) v (bveh) w (doh-bvleh bveh/doh-bvleh oo)
x (eh-kees) y (ee gree eh-gah) z (seh-tah)
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