The infinitive of a verb is its “to” form, such as “to have”, “to play”, and is usually the form you use when talking about the verb as a concept. There are three grammatical “persons”: first, second, and third. Each of these persons has a singular form and a plural form, giving a total of six combinations. The first person contains the speaker, i.e. “I” in the singular, or “we” in the plural. The second person is the person you are addressing, i.e. “you” in the singular to one person, or to a group of people, that doesn’t include the speaker. The third person is neither the speaker nor the addressee; in the singular, it can be “he”, “she”, or “it”, and in the plural “they”. It’s a good idea to get used to the terminology, if you’re not already familiar, for personal pronouns, so when you hear “second person plural” you know exactly what it refers to – plural “you”, in this case.
|First person singular||yo||I|
|Second person singular||tú
|Third person singular||él
|First person plural||nosotros (group of males or mixed gender)
nosotras (group of females)
|Second person plural||vosotros (group of males or mixed gender)
vosotras (group of females)
|Third person plural||ellos||they|
In Spain, the words for “you” are usually used above, i.e. “tú/usted” for singular, and “vosotros/ustedes” for plural. However, it’s worth being aware that “vosotros” is rarely used in Latin America, where “ustedes” is used in general. Also, in some areas, “vos” replaces the singular informal “tú”.
As in Italian, Spanish pronouns are often eliminated from the sentence, so “tengo” (“I have”) is equivalent to “yo tengo”. The pronoun is usually included where needed for emphasis. NOTE that the polite “you” forms are conjugated in the third person, i.e. “tú tienes”, but “usted tiene”, NOT “usted tienes”.
|(yo) tengo||I have|
|(tú) tienes||you have|
|(él/ella/usted) tiene||he/she has, you (formal) have|
|(nosotros) tenemos||we have|
|(vosotros) tenéis||you have|
|(ellos/ellas/ustedes) tienen||they/you (formal) have|
In many languages, “to be” is the most irregular verb. For example, in English, where most verbal forms only change for the “he/she/it” form (by adding -s, e.g. “he plays”), “to be” has many different and odd forms, “I am”, “we are”. “Ser” and “estar” are also particularly irregular in Spanish. NOTE: When to use “ser” and “estar” will be covered in another post, but the quick version is that “ser” is used for constant conditions or characteristics, such as “the apple is red”, whereas “estar” is used for qualities that are transient, e.g. “she is quiet”, with the added implication of “at the moment, but later on she may not be”.
|(yo) soy||I am|
|(tú) eres||you are|
|(él/ella/usted) es||he/she is, you (formal) are|
|(nosotros) somos||we are|
|(vosotros) sois||you are|
|(ellos/ellas/ustedes) son||they/you (formal) are|
|(yo) estoy||I am|
|(tú) estás||you are|
|(él/ella/usted) está||he/she is, you (formal) are|
|(nosotros) estamos||we are|
|(vosotros) estáis||you are|
|(ellos/ellas/ustedes) están||they/you (formal) are|