In any language, whether you’re speaking or writing, it’s necessary to use verbs to easily get your point across, convey action, ask for what you want, and interact and converse with others in a pleasant manner. Whether you need to give directions to a native Spanish speaker, order your preferred food in a restaurant that is staffed with native Spanish speakers, or even translate a block of text or poem from Spanish to English, you’ll need to have some facility with, and drilled-in memorization of, Spanish verbs.
Udemy’s Best Way to Learn Spanish blog post is an excellent place to gas up, pad your vocabulary, and get the basic directions you’ll need before heading out on the long road to becoming fluent in the Spanish language. After taking a gander at your options, you might consider taking Udemy’s helpful Conversational Spanish Made Easy course.
Let’s take a look at some of the most essential verbs with which you will need to familiarize yourself as you study Spanish and apply what you learn to get by in various situations:
1. preguntar = to ask
Preguntar, which means to ask, is an essential word you’ll need in your vocabulary to put forth questions and make inquiries in Spanish. For example, say you need to hail a native Spanish speaker on the street and ask him or her a question. To do this politely, in Spanish you’d say: “¿Puedo hacerte una pregunta?” meaning “Can I ask you a question?” You could then ask your question. Another example: “You can ask me anything,” translates to “Puedes preguntarme cualquier cosa.”
2. costo = to cost
Costo, which means to cost, is essential for everything from small-time or local business transactions to brokering deals in the global marketplace. For example, if you want to buy a pastry in a Spanish-speaking bakery, you would ask: “¿Cuánto cuesto eso pastelería?” meaning “How much is that pastry?” You could then haggle over or purchase your pastry.
3. ser and estar = to be
Ser and estar are Spanish words that both mean “to be.” Use a conjugation—or different inflection—of the verb ser to explain what something is. For example, “The boy is strange,” translates to “El chico es extraño.” Another example: “The paint is yellow,” translates to “La pintura es de color amarillo.” Use a conjugation of the verb estar to explain the way or how something is. For example, “The boy is being mean,” translates to “El niño está siendo malo.” Another example: “The team is being yelled at,” translates to “El equipo se está gritó.” For more information and instruction on conjugating verbs and different verb forms, consider taking a Udemy course on basic Spanish sentence language patterns.
4. hablar = to speak
You can use different forms of the word hablar, which means to speak, to indicate your interest in speaking with another person and conjugated versions of the word also can mean to call someone on the phone. A native Spanish speaker might ask you whether you yourself can speak Spanish. The correct reply requires using the word hablar. For example, the phrase “I do not speak Spanish very well,” translates to “Yo no hablo español muy bien.” If you’re having difficulty with the Spanish language, you could use a form of hablar to ask whether a native Spanish speaker has any facility with the English language: “Do you speak English?” translates to “¿Hablas Inglés?
5. querer = to want
You can use different forms of the word querer, which means both to want, to express your own desires, to let other people know what you require of them, and to indicate or express your devotion to a state of being, a person, or an item or object. For instance, say you need to tell a waiter or waitress that you’ve decided to have dessert and you want some chocolate cake. “I want the chocolate cake,” translates to “Quiero que el pastel de chocolate.” In another instance, you might need to tell a native Spanish speaking law enforcement official that you want to know what your rights are. If you want to learn more about speaking directly and correctly in potentially dicey situations, consider enrolling in Udemy’s learn Spanish from a former NSA agent course.
6. ser = to see
Another crucial Spanish action verb is ser, which means to see. You can use different forms of this verb to express both visual acuity and to convey your understanding of certain concepts or ideas that other people put forth. For example, you might look out over a body of water at the setting sun and, being quite pleased, wish to express this sentiment by saying, “I see heaven.” This translates to, “Veo el cielo.” In another instance someone might ask you whether you’ve grasped a certain concept, such as whether the flowers need to be watered. Indicating that, yes, you understand that the flowers to be watered, you would say, “Veo que las flores necesitan ser regadas,” which means, “I see that the flowers need to be watered.”
7. creer = to believe
Creer or to believe, is another verb that Spanish learners will need to master to express themselves in writing and speaking. Different forms of creer can be used to express the way one feels, one’s religious beliefs, or one’s particular affinity with a sports team or person. For instance, saying, “I believe in you,” translates to “Yo creo en ti.” Saying, “I believe winter is never going to end,” translates to “Creo que el invierno nunca se va acabar.”
This list of verbs is just a small sampling of what you’ll find when you delve into the world of learning to speak Spanish. In addition to basic conversational Spanish courses, Udemy offers host of practical, targeted classes, including the aptly named Spanish for surfers, students, housewives and secret agents.