Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Conjugating a Verb

I’m thinking that the ability to take a verb, and use it/conjugate it 14 different ways is incredible! I’m sharing this with you so you can understand my frustration, at times, in class. Trying to incorporate all of this info into my brain just gets a bit overwhelming sometimes!

We have just finished studying the 14th (and final) way of conjugating a verb. I’m going to give you an example, but please keep in mind that I am only showing you the “yo” (or the first person) form. For example, the verb IR means “to go”. I will show you all the ways to use it in first person – “I go” However, this includes future (2 different ways, depending on usage), past (2 different ways to use it, depending on usage), present, and all the other ways (WAY to complicated to get into – for that matter – for 4 of the uses, I only know the conjugation so far, not even how or when to use them…sigh…). So – here we go:

1. Present: voy
2. Imperfecto (past): iba
3. Preterito (past): fui
4. Futuro: iré
5. Futuro condicional: iría
6. Perfecto: he ido
7. Pluscuamperfecto: había ido
8. Futuro perfecto: habré ido
9. Potencial compuesto: habría ido
10. Presente subjunctive: vaya
11. Imperfecto subjunctive: fuera
12. Perfecto subjunctivo :haya ido
13. Pluscuamperfecto
Subjunctivo hubiera :ido
14. Imperativo (not used in 1st person) – this example uses second person: ve

So – as you can see - the verb is irregular in many forms. There are many verbs that are regular in some forms, irregular in other forms, and only irregular in 3rd person singular and plural (and MANY other ways in which they are irregular). The "501 Verbs" has become my favorite book now! I only use it as a last resort - but when it comes to staring at a page, and not being able to remember if it happens to be irregular in THIS tense, in THIS person, can be frustrating...so out comes the 501 (gives ALL the conjugations of 501 major verbs in Spanish).

I had a test on all these tenses today. We were given 20 verbs and she gave us the “person” she wanted us to conjugate it into, and away we went – all 13 ways (we didn’t conjugate the imperativo). I managed, through the grace of God, to receive high markes on this exam. Maybe something is managing to ply its way into my brain! Can’t wait to see what’s next!

1 comment:

Ben said...

I really need an equivalent book for German - verbs are a big ol' beating for me. The conjugations in German I actually find pretty easy - here's the full first-person singular set of forms of "sein" ("to be"):

Infinitiv: sein
Präsens (present): bin
Perfekt (past): bin gewesen
Präteritum (past): war
Plusquamperfekt: war gewesen
Konjunktiv I (subjunctive): sei
Konjunktiv II: wäre (OR würde sein)
Futur: werde sein
Imperativ ("du" form): sei

Other forms are just variations on those - Perfekt of Konjunktiv II, e.g., is "wäre gewesen."

What's tricky is prefixes. A verb stem can have a ridiculous number of either separable or inseparable prefixes that can change the meaning significantly.

fahren = to drive, travel
befahren = to drive a vehicle
erfahren = to find out, experience
verfahren = to proceed, deal with
ausfahren = to extend, lower
auffahren = to ascend, start up
einfahren = to break in, retract
überfahren = to cross, run over
umfahren = to detour, knock over
unterfahren = to underpin

...and so forth. It's intense.