When you start to study a new language, which comes first? If you've read our thoughts on how building a language skill is much like building a rocket, you'd know that there is a certain type of "foundation" that may come first. But what is that? It's actually quite a lot. On this section of the Verb Toolbox, we'll introduce you to many of these kinds of verbs in Spanish. These verbs will not make you fluent overnight, but more importantly, they will help build your ability to communicate and express yourself in a variety of ways. For the most part, these verbs will stick to the usual conjugation rules, though a few do not. However, it's worth learning them now without needing to go into details about the rule changes rather than waiting until later to explain them with the rule changes. You'll use these so much that the rules behing them are almost irrelevant.

We've said it before and we'll say it again: in Spanish, verbs matter a lot. And not all verbs are created equal. They're hard, and complicated. But, you should know that some are used much more frequently in speech than others. Know that on our site, we use a slightly different way of teaching verbs (not quite the table method you're likely used to). For the time being, we will teach you the "basic three" tenses for each of these verbs for "I" and "You".


Comprar means "to buy". There's not much else to it, really.

1) to buy
"I buy""You buy"
Yo comproUsted compra
"I bought""You bought"
"Yo compré""Usted compró"
"I will throw""You will throw"
"Yo compraré""Usted comprará"
Related vocabulary
"the gift""the ticket"
el regaloel billete


Decir is a verb you simply must know that means "to say". It is kind of a weirdo verb as it doesn't follow the usual patterns. Still though, it remains an absolute foundation verb because you will hear it and read in every single day. t can also mean other things like "to tell" in context as well. Be aware that this in indeed different from "hablar", which means "to speak". You are more likely to use "decir" on a day-to-day basis.

1) to tell
2)to say
"I say""You say"
Yo digo"Usted diga"
"I said""You said"
"Yo dije""Usted dijo"
"I will say""You will say"
"Yo diré""Usted dirá"
Related vocabulary
"I told him""What did you say?"
le dije¿Qué dijo?


Entender has a slightly weird quirk: it sometimes is seen starting with "entiend" instead of "entend". It means "to understand" and has some shades of similarity to the English word "intend". While you will see phrases like "lo entiendo" (I understand it), you will also see it used with "de" a lot to mean "I know about", like in the phrase "Yo entiendo del asunto" to mean "I know about the matter".

1) to understand
2)to appreciate (e.g. I can appreciate what he had to say)
"I understood"You understand
Yo entiendo"Usted entiende"
"I understood""You understood"
"Yo entendí""Usted entendió"
"I will throw""You will throw"
"Yo entenderé""Usted entenderá"
Other expressions with entender
"I know about (the matter)""I understood that"
"Yo entiendo de..."Lo(la) entendí"


Escribir, as we have hinted at our page on "Spanish You Already Know", is in the same territory as the English word "scribe". It's pretty much one-to-one with the English verb "to write".

1) to write
"I write""You write"
Yo escribo"Usted escribe"
"I wrote""You wrote"
"Yo escribí""Usted escribió"
"I will write""You will write"
"Yo escribiré""Usted escribirá"
Related vocabulary
"the notebook""the sheet of paper"
el cuadernola hoja de papel
"the poetry""the novel"
la poesíala novela


Trabajar means "to work". It is seen in many kinds of words that have to do with one's aptitude and way of working as well. This is one of those words that is just plain different from in English. But it is honestly, easy enough to figure out.

1) to work
2)to strive for
"I work""You work"
Yo trabajo"Usted trabaja"
"I worked""You worked"
"Yo trabajé""Usted trabajó"
"I will work""You will work"
"Yo trabajaré""Usted trabajará"
Related vocabulary
"the shift""every day"
el turnodiariamente
very hard (adj- to work very hard)"for myself"
muy duropor mi cuenta

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