What is "conjugation" in Spanish?

If Spanish is the first foreign language you have studied, the term "conjugation" may be new to you. Conjugation is very important in Spanish because verbs change their form to match the subject of the sentence. For most verbs, there are six different forms you could use depending on the subject the verb is paired with! Since subject pronouns are sometimes optional, the form of the verb sometimes tells who or what you are talking about - so it is especially important to conjugate your verbs correctly.

We conjugate verbs in English, too, but it's a little simpler. When we add -s to the third person singular form in the present tense, that is conjugation.

I run. She runs.
We do. He does.

Here are some of the basic things you need to know about conjugation in Spanish.
Verbs are action words (to run, to dance, to eat / correr, bailar, comer).
The basic, un-conjugated form of the verb is called the infinitive. In English, the infinitive is the form that is preceded by "to." In Spanish, it is the form that ends in --ar, -er or -ir.

When we put a verb with a subject in a sentence, we need to change it to match the subject. In English, we do this by adding an -s to the third person singular form. In Spanish, we usually do this by removing the ar/er/ir ending, and replacing it with an ending to match the subject.
I run. Yocorro.
You run. Túcorres.
She runs. Ella corre.
We run. Nosotroscorremos.
They run. Elloscorren.

We also use conjugation to express when an action occurs - in the past, present, or future. In English, we make a verb future tense by adding will before the verb. In Spanish, we do this by using an entirely new set of endings.

I will run. Yocorreré.
You will run. Túcorrerás.
She will run. Ella correrá.
We will run. Nosotroscorreremos.

They will run. Elloscorrerán.

You'll learn about how to conjugate verbs in the present tense, future tense, and many more tenses later on. But now, you at least know the basic terminology!

Related Links:
Verbs conjugation (IR-ending)Verbos "IR" Quiz
Conjugation of verbs (ER-ending)Verbos "ER" Quiz
Conjugation of verbs (AR-ending) Verbos "AR" Quiz
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