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Old 6th July 2010, 04:51 PM   #1
mybestbuds
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Smile Can someone please explain Spanish verb tenses, I need help bad!

Hola,

I don't know why but it has been difficult for me to grasp the concept of all of these verb tenses and what exactly their meaning is and I was wondering if someone wouldn't mind explaining them better. Just when I think I know a Spanish word, lets say for instance, encontrar, and I finally memorize it and then realize there are about 20 different tense changes to express this word! So to make this more understandable I would like to know when I would use these tenses? And what exactly do they mean in English, like present, past, future?

Indicativo?
Presente
Perterito perfecto compuesto
Perterito imperfecto
perterito pluscuamperfecto
preterito perfecto simple
preterito anterior
futuro
futuro perfecto

Conditional
condicional compuuesto

Imperativo
afirmativo
negativo

Subjuntivo
Presente
preterito perfecto
preterito imperfecto
preterito pluscuamperfecto
futuro
futuro perfecto

This is enough to BOGGLE my mind!!! Just for one word!! I feel like I'm never going to learn if I don't grasp these tenses in my brain. Any help is greatly appreciated!
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Old 6th July 2010, 05:23 PM   #2
blogger
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Hi, I hope my answer won't be disappointing but... I guess your question is rather unanswerable. At least not in a short or reasonably-sized post... The questions you ask take up 20 or more pages in any grammar for beginners!

Also, learning the verbal system that way, if you want to take my advice, won't help much. The nuances between the different tenses is such that it is not enough enumerating the differences among them for anybody to be able to use them. You have to learn them time-spaced, and see different uses and nuances, basing new-acquired knowledge on verb forms that you have already practised.

Do not let yourself be frustrated by the many tenses and forms. Most people finish learning them, but in small portions.
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Old 6th July 2010, 06:48 PM   #3
greytop
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Hi mybestbuds - you are in a big club with the confusion over verb tenses.
As blogger says take it easy and start with present, past (2 of them I'm afraid) and future tenses.
I'd recommend one of the verb books for reference (501 Spanish verbs or similar) and you'll find some explanations in the front about their meanings.
Once you've got the hang of those it will be easier to slot in some of the others and to worry about indicative and subjunctive (moods, not tenses - just to confuse you even more!)
At some point you really need an experienced teacher to help sort out any doubts - face to face - as it's difficult to understand a "foreign" set of grammar rules if you are not familiar with the terminology. Most of these tenses also exist in English for example but not many of us think of them by name.
Buena suerte
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Old 7th July 2010, 03:05 AM   #4
Uriel
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I only had the vaguest idea of those terms at first, too, but I've had to learn the names in self-defense, because books like to teach languages using the proper formal descriptions. Don't sweat them too much. The tenses in Spanish are pretty much equivalent to all the tenses in English, and are pretty much used the same way. It only seems daunting because I think most of us weren't taught the formal names of all the tenses, but once you see an English translation, you'll get them immediately.

Unfortunately, Spanish speakers seem to lie awake at night thinking up new endings for every verb, and you're just going to have to learn them through memorization. No way around it. Reading about it won't help. You need to DO it. Go get yourself a workbook of Spanish verbs and plow though all the exercises, and you will start to see the patterns -- they aren't as hard as they seem at first. No, really.


Easiest way to explain verb tenses is to show them to you in English first:

http://www.verbix.com/webverbix/English/have.html

and then the exact same thing in Spanish:

http://www.verbix.com/webverbix/Spanish/tener.html



And then here's your basic terminology:

Indicativo --the indicative, your basic workhorse: I go, you sit, she eats, they went. Used to state facts, present or past.

Conditional -- the opposite of the indicative, used to state possibilities or hypotheticals -- I would like, I might go, you should eat, it could've been, if we go -- there isn't always a specific word that indicates a conditional situation, sometimes you have to get it from context

Anything "compuesto" -- compuesto just means compound verb; these are verbs that use an auxiliary or "helping" verb to get the job done, and they are just like their many English equivalents: I am going, I have eaten, she was sitting, we will have gone

Imperativo -- the command or imperative form: do this, eat that, sit down, stop that, come here, take out the trash
afirmativo -- affirmative, you know this one!
negativo -- negative -- don't do that, don't sit on that chair, don't just stand there, I'm not going, you can't make me, aren't you leaving yet

Presente -- the present -- he eats, she lies, we go

Preterito perfecto compuesto -- see the conjugation tables
Preterito imperfecto
Preterito pluscuamperfecto
Preterito perfecto simple
Preterito anterior

Preterito, or preterite in english, just means past.

Perfect means it happened once, at a specific time, and it's over now -- I ate dinner, the cat had kittens, we washed the dishes. Those examples are all in the simple past -- the verb is just one word, no compuestos. Imperfect is slightly different; it means it happened in the past but for an indefinite period, or over and over. English usually requires a compound verb for this tense -- I used to drink beer, she was going to the bank, he had been working there for over two years. Spanish can sometimes get this done in one word, sometimes not. Other tenses have these same variations, too.

futuro -- future tense, of course. There are several, because they come in perfect, imperfect, conditional, compounds, etc. as well.

Subjuntivo -- you're going to hate this one, because while the subjunctive does exist in English, most of the time we avoid it like the plague, and have handy grammatical ways around it. You see it once in a while in sentences like Wish you were here, it's important that you be on time, if he were to go. Unfortunately, they absolutely love the subjunctive in Spanish and use it every chance they get.

Continuous or progressive tenses use a gerund or gerundio -- a verb ending in -ing in English, or -ndo in Spanish.

And don't forget the participle, or participio -- the second word in compounds like had eaten, has given, was burned, had ridden, has missed. In Spanish these end in -ido or -ado for the most part, with a few exceptions.

Last edited by Uriel; 7th July 2010 at 03:41 AM.
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Old 7th July 2010, 06:06 AM   #5
mybestbuds
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Thanks for all the help guys!!!!! I really appreciate the replies, it's going to take a while to sink in but I'm determined!!!
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Old 8th July 2010, 05:49 AM   #6
Uriel
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This site might help you -- it goes over every single verb tense in an easy, conversational manner and gives you both English translations and tips for using each tense:

http://www.studyspanish.com/tutorial.htm
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Old 14th July 2010, 10:56 PM   #7
daveyboy
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>> Hola,

I don't know why but it has been difficult for me to grasp the concept of all of these verb tenses and what exactly their meaning is and I was wondering if someone wouldn't mind explaining them better. Just when I think I know a Spanish word, lets say for instance, encontrar, and I finally memorize it and then realize there are about 20 different tense changes to express this word! So to make this more understandable I would like to know when I would use these tenses? And what exactly do they mean in English, like present, past, future? <<

If your having problems with understanding the verbs and tenses, click this link below, It's the Verbarrator Program / software.

If you don't mind spending a little cash, this program will really help you to grasp the verbs and the tenses.

Give the demo a go on this site, or search for verbarrator on youtube there are videos on using it.

There are loads of sites that do verb drills and conjunctions, but this program is so easy to use, and it has the audio as well [ Spanish / English ]

I use it all the time, and it really is a good verb program.


http://www.verbarrator.com/canitdoth...?hop=studyspan
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