Those of you who have been following this series of lessons will have noticed that, bit by bit, we have covered the changes that are made to a Spanish verb depending on who is controlling the action of that verb; that is whether ‘I’ do something, or ‘you’, or ‘we’ or ‘they’ and so on.

Just to put all of this into some kind of perspective, I would like to point out three things. Firstly we have been looking exclusively at the present tense. We are not yet talking about the past or future, although we can express the future with our forms expressing intention: voy a (I’m going to), vas a (you’re going to), va a (he or she is going to), vamos a (we are going to), van a (they are going to), combining them with an infinitive verb as we have already seen.

Secondly, we have not yet looked in any detail at the exact patterns involved in changing all these verbs. These are not difficult as such, but they take a bit of time and effort to explain properly. However, I believe it is more important to start you off understanding the basic principles of why these changes take place and to give you some useable examples to be going on with in the real world.

Thirdly, those of you who know a little bit more grammar will have noticed that I have omitted one of the present tense forms; that is the plural ‘you’ form, otherwise known as the second person plural. Again, this obviously comes into play once these things are studied in depth, but as this form does not exist in the English language, at this stage of learning it can create more difficulties than it solves and the fact is that we can get an awful long way in communicating without using it at all.

Before we move on at all to anything new, let’s play around a bit with what we’ve already got. We haven’t done much translation for a while, so here’s a little homework task, the answers to which will appear in next month’s issue. As usual I may throw the odd word in that hasn’t appeared in an article before, but I feel you should cope with this either by using guesswork, or I find that using a dictionary can be extremely helpful! Also, if you would like to email your answers to me you can do so at

Tengo una gata siamesa.
¿Tienes mascotas?
Mi hermano tiene dos perros grandes.
No tenemos vasos en nuestra casa. Tenemos que comprar más.
Los padres hoy en día tienen problemas para educar a sus hijos.
Prefiero vivir en San Pedro, aunque mis hijas prefieren vivir en Asturias.
Podemos jugar al tenis mañana si quieres.
Vamos a comer en un restaurante este sábado.
Los extranjeros en España viven bien en general, pero necesitan hacer mucho papeleo.
Cuando los españoles hablan rápido, los británicos tienen problemas para entenderlos.

That should keep you busy for a while at least. Remember to be careful about which form each verb is in. Answers next month – see you then!

Jane Cronin’s “Step by Step Spanish” articles are available as e-books at where you can also obtain Jane’s “Step by Step Internet Spanish” course.