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What’s an infinitive in Spanish?

To really feel assured talking Spanish, you’ll need to be taught quite a lot of vocabulary and grammar guidelines. The way you be taught these guidelines is as much as you—you’ll be able to depend on rote memorization, or you’ll be able to be taught them naturally via immersion, which is how we educate them on Rosetta Stone

Whichever means you select, you’ll encounter verbs in some type very early on in your studying. In any case, you’ll be able to’t put collectively a sentence with out a verb

In lots of languages, we apply tenses to verbs to point when an motion occurred and who or what’s performing the motion. For instance, yo corro (“I run”) in Spanish is an motion occurring within the current first particular person, whereas yo corrí (“I ran”) is prior to now first particular person. 

However earlier than you dive into tense, you’ll must know the bottom type of the verb, often known as the infinitive. In Spanish, you’ll discover ways to manipulate the infinitive by including endings to match every tense. Infinitives aren’t solely an essential a part of constructing your Spanish vocabulary, however they’re additionally important to constructing your basis in Spanish grammar. 

Let’s take a more in-depth look under at what an infinitive is and the way they’re used.

What’s an infinitive?

The infinitive type is the unconjugated or “non-personal” type of a verb. We name infinitives “non-personal” as a result of they aren’t altered to match a primary, second, or third particular person topic, like “I,” “you,” or “they.” In English, it’s straightforward to acknowledge infinitive verb kinds, as they’re all the time preceded by “to”: 

  • to turn out to be
  • to consider
  • to interrupt

In Spanish, infinitive kinds aren’t preceded by a preposition, however they’re nonetheless straightforward to identify. You’ll acknowledge infinitives by their three distinct verb endings: -AR, -ER, and -IR. For instance: 

  • hablar = to talk
  • comer = to eat 
  • vivir = to stay

Infinitives present the bottom for conjugating verb kinds, however they’re additionally used as-is in on a regular basis language! You can begin utilizing them as quickly as you be taught them with the information under. 

The way to use the infinitive in a sentence

When you could also be accustomed to conjugating verbs, there are just a few conditions the place the infinitive type can be utilized in a sentence.

1. As the topic of a sentence

A verb within the infinitive type can operate as the topic of the sentence. When the infinitive capabilities as a noun, it’s all the time handled as singular and masculine. Verbs for which an infinitive is the topic will probably be conjugated accordingly.

  • Correr es una gran manera de mantenerse en forma. = Working is an effective way to remain in form. 
  • Leer diariamente mantiene tu mente aguda. = Studying day by day retains your thoughts sharp. 
  • Cantar es su pasión. = Singing is her ardour. 

Utilizing the infinitive in Spanish is commonly equal to utilizing the English gerund type of a verb, which ends in -ING. 

  • Estamos viendo una película antes de estudiar. = We’re watching a film earlier than finding out.
  • Estos bocadillos son para comer. = These snacks are for consuming.

The infinitive can be used with the frequent expression “me gustar.” Though a sentence like “Me gusta cantar” is translated as “I wish to sing,” its literal translation is “Singing pleases me.” Since cantar is the topic of the sentence, it’s within the infinitive type. 

  • Les gusta jugar al tenis = They wish to play tennis
  • Nos gusta cocinar = We wish to prepare dinner.

2. After sure verbs

Identical to in lots of different languages, the infinitive type in Spanish can be utilized straight following sure verbs.

There are numerous verbs that may be adopted by an infinitive, however the one sort is known as a modal verb. Not like auxiliary verbs which assist type tenses (“I have seen the film”), modal verbs have their very own meanings that point out how the speaker feels about an motion (“I may see the film”). These verbs categorical quite a lot of meanings, together with the speaker’s capacity, likeliness, or obligation to carry out an motion. 

  • Juan debe trabajar todos los dias. = Juan should work daily.
  • Puedo ir al cine hoy. = I can go to the films at present.

3. After a preposition

Much like utilizing the infinitive after a verb, infinitives will also be used after some prepositions.

  • sin = with out
  • de = from
  • para  = for
  • antes de = earlier than
  • después de = after

You’ll typically see this building utilized in sentences that function a conjugated verb adopted by the preposition and eventually the infinitive type of a verb.

  • antes de acostarme = earlier than going to mattress
  • estaba cansada de leer = she was uninterested in studying

4. As a command

One other frequent utilization of the infinitive type is as a command or an instruction. Written directions, like recipes, and indicators someday use the infinitive type to present instructions. Be aware that whereas these seem steadily in writing, they aren’t generally utilized in speech.

  • Incorporar las claras de huevo = fold within the egg whites
  • No aparcar = No parking

5. To type different tenses (future and conditional)

Lastly, you’ll see the infinitive type if you’re creating the longer term tense! Not like conjugating for different tenses, the longer term tense doesn’t require you to drop the ending off a verb. As a substitute, to create the longer term tense merely take the infinitive type of a verb with é added to the top!

  • Él hablará con su madre. = He will discuss to his mom.

You can too use the infinitive to type the periphrastic future tense, utilizing a verb phrase to speak about actions sooner or later. In English you’ll be able to consider this as “going to” do one thing. To create this tense, use the verb ir adopted by the infinitive.

  • Ella va a ser astronauta. = She’s going to be an astronaut.

Should-know Spanish infinitives

Now that you know the way to make use of them, right here’s a fast checklist of the infinitives you’re almost certainly to come back throughout, each in speech and in writing. And if you’re able to transfer on to conjugation, take a look at our guides that break down tenses by verb sort: 

Most typical infinitive verbs (all endings)

Spanish English
ser To be (everlasting high quality)
estar To be (emotion, location, short-term state)
tener To have
hacer To do / to make
decir To say / to inform
deber Ought to / to owe
ir To go
ver To see
parecer To look
dar To present

Most typical -ER verbs

Spanish English
aprender To be taught
beber To drink
comer To eat
conocer To know
correr To run
crecer To develop
creer To consider
entender To know
leer To learn
querer To need / to like

Most typical -AR verbs

Spanish English
llamar To name / to call
hablar To speak / to talk
mirar To look
escuchar To listen to
comprar To purchase 
necesitar To wish / to require
llevar To hold / to take / to put on
usar To make use of
ayudar To assist
cambiar To vary

Most typical -IR verbs

Spanish English
escribir To put in writing
recibir To obtain
permitir To permit
abrir To open
subir To go up
decidir To determine
asistir To attend
consumir To eat
definir To outline
describir To explain

Perceive the nuances of Spanish

With over 42 million Spanish audio system worldwide, the language can range a bit from area to area. However, these 5 grammatical guidelines usually maintain true regardless of who you’re speaking to. 

The excellent news is if you happen to’re educated about one other romance language, Spanish is usually a bit simpler to be taught than different languages. Romance languages typically share comparable pronunciation or spelling of phrases. 

And, now that you recognize the fundamentals of the infinitive type, you’re able to increase your Spanish verb vocabulary! Understanding the conjugation patterns for normal -AR, -ER, and -IR verbs is a good place to begin. Or, if you happen to’re on the lookout for a problem you can begin to familiarize your self with irregular Spanish verbs.

Take your Spanish to the subsequent stage

Searching for extra language studying ideas? Begin by studying primary phrases and phrases, reviewing the important fundamentals for studying Spanish, or exploring Oaxaca, Mexico via on a regular basis conversations. Rosetta Stone might help you be taught a language quicker and extra confidently than you’d if you happen to studied by yourself.

With Rosetta Stone, you’ll be taught Spanish naturally with a distinctive immersive strategy to studying. Chunk-sized classes assist you be taught at your individual tempo, and the Rosetta Stone app enables you to do all of it on the go. Plus, you’ll have the choice to decide on between Latin American or European Spanish to make sure you grasp the fitting nuances of every dialect! 

Prepared to leap proper in? Begin your first lesson at present at rosettastone.com.

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