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Verb Conjugations Made Easy

Oct 31, 2007
Learning a language like Spanish requires a mastery of verb conjugations. Not of all verbs necessarily but certainly the most important ones.

The only problem is studying verb conjugations can be a real bore. You can try to force them down your own throat and do massive worksheets. Or you can go to one of the online sites and play games. You'll have fun conjugating but unfortunately, you'll find that little sticks.

The only real way to master verb conjugations is to use them in context. That is why the immersion method is so powerful. You use the verbs again and again when you need them. Not when you're killing time.

Luckily, there is a way to "simulate" the immersion technique. You can either do it with a partner or in your head. Either way is fine.

First, decide on one verb you want to learn. It doesn't matter if you're a true beginner or an intermediate student. Choose one verb, learn the process, and then expand.

Second, make sure it's a verb that you will use on a daily basis. Think of the verbs you use in English. Which ones do you use regularly? Whether you're at work or school. Don't bother with verbs that you like but have little use for on a daily basis.

Finally, figure out when you use that verb in English and begin using the Spanish verb instead.

Here is an example. Let's pretend for a minute that you don't have a partner and you are planning to practice in your head.

Let's say you want to learn the verb "to eat lunch." As lunch time approaches you begin to think of relevant phrases like "I eat lunch with Mary," "Mary eats lunch at 11:00," "Yesterday, I ate lunch at 11:30. Today, I eat lunch at 11:40."

Naturally, you will need to have the full conjugation nearby for reference but once you got started you just change the tenses and subjects to keep it fresh.

It also helps to have a short list of similar verbs close at hand. In the example of almorzar, you could have volver (both are stem -changing verbs in the present tense) or cruzar (both are irregular in the past tense). You can recognize the same changes in those verbs and learn twice as many.

This may seem like a slow process but it's not. Your brain is becoming accustomed to finding the right conjugation for the right moment. As time goes on, you'll immediately find the verb form you need with little or no effort.

Just remember the most important aspect of this method: keeping your learning in context. It makes all the difference in the world.
About the Author
Jim Sarris is a veteran Spanish teacher and the author of a new ebook/audio series "The Secret to Learning Any Language." Visit his blog to obtain free information and learn about other resources to help you learn faster and easier than ever.Language learning made easy.
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