14 AR ending verbs part 2

-AR ending verbs: a pattern

The conjugation pattern that we saw for the verb “tomar = to take can be applied to all regular -ar ending verbs. The idea of “taking off the verb ending” and then adding other endings to give the verb a subject (yo, tú, ella, etc.) is fundamental to Spanish. The column in the table below “regular -ar verb endings” is what you need to make sentences with -ar ending verbs:

Regular -ar ending verbs

  Subject pronouns Regular -ar verb endings    
Singular yo -o I ___
-as you ___ familiar
él -a he ___s
ella -a she ___s
Ud. -a you ___ formal
Plural nosotros -amos we ___
vosotros -áis you ___ fam. (Spain)
ellos -an they ___ masculine
ellas -an they ___ feminine
Uds. -an you ___

As we saw before, taking off the -ar ending of tomar and adding the “yo” form ending -o, gives us “I take”: tomo. We can do the same for all regular ar ending verbs and we’ll have “I ___”:

-Ar verbs: yo form examples

Infinitive Infinitive yo form: o Possible translations to English
tomar to take tomo I take, I’m taking, do I take
hablar to speak hablo I speak, I’m speaking, do I speak
trabajar to work trabajo I work, I’m working, do I work

Taking off the -ar and adding -as gives us the form, or “you” (familiar):

-Ar verbs: tú form examples

Infinitive Infinitive tú form: -as Possible translations to English
tomar to take tomas you take, you’re taking, do you take
hablar to speak hablas you speak, you’re speaking, do you speak
trabajar to work trabajas you work, you’re working, do you work

The idea is the same for all subjects: take off the -ar and add the appropriate ending that matches the subject:

Ella habla español muy bien. She speaks Spanish very well.
Uds. trabajan mañana. You guys are working tomorrow.
Nosotros hablamos inglés. We speak English.
¿Él toma clases los sábados? Does he take classes on Saturdays?
Ellos no hablan de ella. They don’t talk about her.
Vosotras trabajáis mucho. You (pl./f. Spain) work a lot.
¿Toma Ud. un taxi? Are you (formal) taking a taxi?

Note (ojo): in the examples above, I put the subject pronouns (ella, Uds., etc.) in italics as a reminder that it is not necessary to use them if it is clear who we are speaking about from the context. When the context is clear you can omit the subject pronouns and the meaning doesn’t change:

Habla español muy bien. She speaks Spanish very well.

Context: you asked me about María’s Spanish and the above was my answer.

Trabajan mañana. You guys are working tomorrow.

Context: someone in your group asked me when you all are working and the above was my response.

Common -ar ending verbs

Infinitivo Infinitive Infinitivo Infinitive
aceptar to accept invitar to invite
amar to love lavar to wash
ayudar to help limpiar to clean
bailar to dance llamar to call
buscar to look for llegar to arrive
cambiar to change llorar to cry
caminar to walk matar to kill
cantar to sing mirar to look at, to watch
cenar to have dinner necesitar to need
comprar to buy olvidar to forget
cocinar to cook pagar to pay
desayunar to have breakfast pasar tiempo to spend time
desear to desire pintar to paint
dibujar to draw practicar to practice
enseñar to teach preguntar to ask
entrar to enter preparar to prepare
entregar to turn in regresar to return
enviar to send, to mail saludar to greet, say hello to
escuchar to listen (to) terminar to finish
esperar to wait, to hope for tocar to touch, to play (instr.)
estudiar to study tomar to take, to drink
explicar to explain trabajar to work
fumar to smoke tratar de to try
ganar to win, to earn usar to use
gritar to shout viajar to travel
hablar to speak visitar to visit

¿Cómo se dice…?:

Let’s try out some sentences: use the verbs from the list above to translate the sentences below. Some vocabulary you might need:

mucho=much, a lot; más=more; nunca=never; mañana=tomorrow; hoy=today

  1. I don’t travel to Mexico much.
  2. They’re finishing tomorrow.
  3. You need to work more (tú).
  4. Do you guys return today? (Uds.)
  5. We don’t cook.
  6. She never cries.
  7. Does he teach Spanish?


  1. Yo no viajo a México mucho.
  2. Ellos terminan mañana.
  3. Tú necesitas trabajar más.
  4. ¿Regresan Uds. hoy?
  5. Nosotros no cocinamos.
  6. Ella nunca llora.
  7. ¿Enseña él español?

Grammar Details:

#3 from above: Tú necesitas trabajar más.
This sentence has two verbs: “necesitar” and “trabajar”. When two verbs appear together without a change in subject, only the first verb is conjugated, and the second is left in the infinitive. So “necesitas” is conjugated in the form with the corresponding -as as ending, but “trabajar” doesn’t change—it stays in the infinitive.
In each of the sentences below the first verb (v1) is conjugated while the second verb (v2) appears in the infinitive:

Marta desea (v1) enseñar (v2) inglés. Marta desires to teach English.
Necesitamos (v1) comprar (v2) leche. We need to buy milk.
Ellos tratan de (v1) cantar (v2) bien. They try to sing well.
Yo necesito (v1) entregar (v2) la tarea. I need to hand in the homework.

The same structure—the second verb staying in the infinitive—also happens in English as shown in the examples above (desires to teach / need to buy).


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First Year Spanish 1 by Paul Eckhardt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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