Accelerated Spanish, Lesson 10

In this lesson we have 15 new verbs to learn. That’s a lot (five times as many as we’ve ever learned in one lesson in the past), but now that you are comfortable using verbs, we’re ready to speed up our absorption of information quite a bit.

First of all, we’ll just be getting introduced to these 15 verbs. So we’ll just be learning their infinitives (the name of each store) and what each verb generally means, along with where it is located in Joel’s neighborhood. Future videos will teach how to use these verbs and how to conjugate them. For now, just focus on remember each store individually.


If you look at the map of stores that are closest to Joel’s house, you’ll notice that the two stores closest to Joel’s house are Ir and Ser. The reason for this is actually that these are the two least regular verbs in the Spanish language. Most other verbs begin to follow more and more patterns as you go down the frequency list. Notice several other verb shops that you’ll recognize on this map: Haber, Querer, and Hacer are all pretty close, Poder is pretty close to Haber, and then Estar and Tener are a little further down the path on the right.

Accelerated Spanish memory palace Yol neighborhood map

But if we go to the left, you can see the shop Decir that is fairly close to Hacer. This is because the owner of the Decir shop is friends with Sarah who owns the Ser shop and the Hacer shop, and it’s also an area where locals really don’t like going very much, although they’re great tourist attractions; the fact is that both Decir and Hacer they charge a whole lot but don’t really provide a lot of value. And grammatically, the fact that Decir and Hacer are close together on the map like this means that they’re conjugated almost exactly the same way. But we’ll learn about the conjugations of Decir in a bit; let’s look for now at who owns the store and what it’s generally about.

Decir Spanish mnemonic

Decir is a fortune telling shop run by a Seer, who reads a lot of meaning into what people say. She tries to find meaning in what people say, who says what, and when they say it. “Decir” by itself means “to say”. Any time you say anything here, the Seer takes what you say and turns it into some strange meaning that she thinks is profound. So the locals of Joel’s neighborhood know that they shouldn’t go to the Decir shop unless they want a lot of meaning read into the things that they say, which is generally thought to be annoying.

Now you’ll notice that the infinitive “decir” has the stressed syllable “seer”, which in the name by which we know the owner. With the rest of the verbs that we learn, pay close attention to the stressed syllables of the infinitives, which correlate to the owners’ names.


The next place we’ll be introduced to is the “Saber” shop, which is right in between Haber and Poder. This little subneighborhood of shops is run by a lot of store owners who aren’t actually very bright, though they have really big, strong bodies. We’ve already been introduced to the almost-blind bear who owns the Haber shop and the strong guy who runs the Poder shop. Saber is a so-called “cyber” shop, or electronics shop, run by the Haber bear’s brother; he is also a bear, but since he is able to see and hear pretty well compared to his brother, he considers himself relatively smart. In fact, he takes pride in the fact that he’s smart enough to run an electronics store, and unfortunately he’s just dumb enough to think that he knows everything.

So the verb “saber” means “to know”.


Next we’ll venture outside of this prime real estate near Joel’s house, away from this little cluster of shops, into realms we haven’t explored yet. We’re now more or less familiar with about half of these really irregular verbs here. But most verb shops are along one street or another that extend far beyond Joel’s house.

So going to the left, beyond Decir, there’s a very long street with shops on both sides of it along the edge of an enormous forest. The first and most prominent shop we encounter is the Hablar shop, nestled nicely under the shade of some very tall trees. You’ll notice that the entrance to this street along the edge of the forest has a decoration with an object blowing colorful letters out of it. That’s because Hablar sort of has monopoly over the entrance to the forest. So those things blowing out letters are also all over the front of the Hablar shop itself.

Hablar Spanish mnemonic

“Hablar” is the word for “speaking”. We’ve just seen that “decir” means “to say”, which indicates specifically what you’re saying; the seer is very particular about what people say and reading meaning into everything that people say. But as with the English words “talking” or “speaking”, the Spanish word “hablar” just to do with the fact that you are speaking or talking, not with specifically what’s being said. Hablar is a shop where Lar gives speaking lessons. But unfortunately, his lessons are very boring. He himself gives boring speeches, and he also teaches his students to give very boring speeches. It doesn’t matter what people say; as long as you’re blowing out words, you’re successful. So all of Lar’s students just blow out words like Lar does. So the word “hablar” means “to speak”.


Moving to another verb area in the forest, we have a cluster of several shops that are all run by Tara. Her most successful shop is Estar, because it’s in the very popular sub-neighborhood of irregular verbs as we’ve seen before. But she also has several shops she runs here by the forest.

Importar Spanish mnemonic

One is called “Importar”. This is a shop of imports. Now there’s some debate in Yol as to whether they really need anything that’s imported; many proud residents of Joel’s neighborhood say that they have so many resources of their own that they don’t need anything from somewhere else. But others argue that imports are important for the economy. There’s debate around this matter. So some say that imports aren’t important, and others say they are important. The verb “importar” means “to be important”, or more succinctly, “to matter”.


Another shop near “Importar” is “Necesitar”.

Necesitar Spanish mnemonic

But Necesitar isn’t really much of a shop. If you go in, Tar sits you down and then lectures you on the importance of putting tar on roads. In fact, she’s actually gotten pretty good at this and has convinced people that they need to buy tar and start paving roads, which is good business because she also sells the tar at a different shop right across the street that we’ll hear about in a minute. So although there’s no reason at all that anybody should need tar, Tara is able to convince everyone that they absolutely need it. So the verb ‘necesitar’ means “to need”; they convince everyone that tar is a necesity.


Now after going to the Necesitar shop, people tend to head straight over to the Contar shop to buy tar for their local roads.

Contar Spanish mnemonic

Contar is a road paving shop. They sell supplies to pave your roads using tar, but every time they get a customer, Tara comes and tries to help check out… and messes the whole process up. The idea is that when you’re making a road you have to include all the necessary components including tar, concrete, and asphalt. Those three elements. But Tara is so hyper and distracted that she can hardly count to three without messing up and having to start over several times. So the verb ‘Contar’ means “to count”. Now, while Tara keeps counting the 3 items (concrete, asphalt, and tar) over and over again, her workers try to entertain the customers by telling them stories. So while “contar” means “to count”, it can also be used to mean “to recount” or “to tell” as in to tell a story.


Our next verb in another place beside the forest is “Gustar”. This is a 5-star restaurant run by a goose. Unlike the “Hacer” place, which is just a make-your-own-meal restaurant, “Gustar” is a very nice restaurant. The slogan of this goose’s restaurant is “We always aim to please.” So the word “gustar” means “to be pleasing”.

Gustar Spanish mnemonic

Now note that this verb replaces the way that Joel says he likes things. Joel never, ever says that he likes something. For example, in this restaurant, if the food is good, it is serving him well, but if the food is distasteful to him for any reason, in his mind, it’s the food’s fault, not his own. In other words, he’s too lazy even to do the action of “liking” something. Instead, if the food is pleasing to him, he puts the action on the food instead of himself. So there is no verb that Joel uses for “liking” something; instead, he uses the verb “gustar” to say that other things are pleasing to him.


Another group of stores is owned by a rich man who dresses in a Russian uniform and calls himself the Tsar. He does a lot of the official work, and he considers his work so important that he actually lives in one of his so-called “shops” so that he can constantly keep an eye on everything that’s happening in his other shops. The shop that he stays in has a lot of windows but nobody is allowed in; instead he watches everyone passing by to see everything that goes on near his very important businesses.

“Pasar” literally means “to pass”. But it’s also used to mean that something is “going on” or happening.


One of the Tsar’s most important shops is where people get married, the “Casar” shop.

“Casar” is the verb for getting married. Since the Tsar is the officiator, the stressed syllable of Casar is “tsar”.


One of the most interesting groups of shops near the woods is the lizard’s own little cluster of stores His favorite of his own shops is the “mirar” shop, a mirror store where the lizard sits for much of the time and stares at his own reflection.

Mirar Spanish mnemonic

“Mirar” means “to look”. You’ll notice that the stressed syllable is “rar”, like the sound that the lizard makes, as is the case with all his own shops.

Those are all the verbs we’re learning on the west street along the edge of the woods. On the other side, to the east, there’s another street that runs for a long distance, but this one runs along a beach. The shops on the left side are all in the dry sand, but the verbs on the right sand are so close to the ocean that they get wet very often, especially when the tide rises.


One of the most prominent shops is run by a bear named Deber. Now as a quick note, you may have noticed that all our verbs that have the stressed syllable “ber” are all different people; we had the big blind bear for Haber, the dumb know-it-all bear for Saber, and now we have a female bear for Deber. That’s because bears in Yol each only own one shop. This bear is a money lender and debt collector.

Deber Spanish mnemonic

The verb “deber” can literally be used to mean “to owe”, but it’s used a lot where English speakers would use words like “should” or “must”. Basically it’s a verb that expresses strong obligation to do something. Deber is pretty strict and going to her store is a very stressful experience. If you ever go there a second time, you can be sure that she’ll harass you about any money that you owe until you pay it all back.


Elsewhere on the beach is a crayfish shop called Creer, where the owner, a catfish named “air”, sells very foul-smelling seafood. The air in this store smells terrible; you feel as if you’re inhaling something horrible the moment you step in.

Creer Spanish mnemonic

Every time someone walks in, they imagine that something must have died. But when they ask the owner, “Is there something dead in here? The air smells terrible!” the owner, Air, simply says in a friendly tone of voice, “Well yes, I believe so,” but then doesn’t do anything about it. Creer means “to believe”, or “to think” that something is the case.


Now we’ve already seen that Ser runs two stores downtown near Joel’s house, Ser and Hacer. She also has a group of stores here on the beach. The fact is that she’s one of the most serious, well-known businesspersons in the area. She owns way too many shops, and they’re mostly just used to stoke her own ego.

For example, Parecer is a golf shop that she runs. In this particular case, she’s trying to appear to be very good at golf.

So “parecer” means “to seem”. Ser always puts on a show here to seem good at golf, but she always rigs the game such that she can make par very easily while making it seem hard. So remember the stressed syllable “ser” and the secondary stressed syllable “par” for “parecer”, “to seem”.


Elsewhere on the beach is a shop run by “Ver Klear” called “Ver Klear’s Optic Shop”. Ver Klear’s mission is to help people see very clearly. He sells telescopes, microscopes even kaleidoscopes to help you see anything that you want to see very clearly. He’s a bit obsessed with everything that has a lens or really anything made of clear glass.

Ver Spanish mnemonic

Whenever Joel looks through a piece of glass, he’s always surprised at how he’s able to see through something that’s solid. So of course whenever he goes to the Ver shop, he’s fascinated by how very clear everything is. “Ver” means “to see”. And so the clear the glass is, the more surprised he is at how much he can see because of how very clear it is. So remembering “very clear”, “ver” means “to see”.


Our last verb is at the office of a psychiatrist named Tear, and the name of the place is Sentir.

Sentir means “to feel”. When you go into Sentir, Tear has you talk about your feelings until you cry. So he doesn’t let you out until he sees tears. So just connect “tear” with the idea of feelings, and you’ll remember that “sentir” means “to feel” in an emotional sense.

Those are the fifteen verbs: Decir which means “to say”, Saber which means “to know”, Hablar which means “to speak”, Importar which means “to be important”, Necesitar which means “to need”, “contar” which means “to count”, “Gustar” which means “to be pleasing”, “Pasar” which means “to pass”, “Casar” which means “to marry”, “Mirar” which means “to look”, “Deber” which means “to owe” or “must”, “Creer” which means “to believe”, “Parecer” which means “to seem”, “Ver” which means “to see”, and “Sentir” which means “to feel”.

How to use the verbs without conjugating

Now, we will be learning conjugations of all of these verbs, conjugations that are very important for understanding native Spanish because they’re extremely frequently used. However, the fact is that you don’t need to conjugate these verbs at all in order to use them! It’s completely possible to use just the names of these verbs to say a wide variety of things with them and express almost anything you want to say, simply by combining the infinitive with other verbs that you already know.

For example, suppose you want to say “I said it”. So you’re going to need some form of “decir”. Now how do you put that in the past? Well, instead of conjugating the verb, you could one of the other verbs that you know in the past. For example, “lo tuve que decir” is “I had to say it”, “lo quise decir” is “I wanted to say it”, and “Lo pude decir” is “I was able to say it”. It’s not the exact meaning you’re looking for, but it’s 100% legitimate and will work in many circumstances where you don’t want to have to find a conjugation.

“Tener que” examples

Possibly the most widely applicable method is to use the “tener que” construction.

Instead of saying, “why are you talking that way”, you can say “why do you have to talk that way”:

[from dialogue 2.6: “¿Por qué tienes que hablar tan bajo?”]

Then you can of course just use it in the standard sense to indicate obligation: “We don’t have to talk more about this.”

[from dialogue 2.4: “No tenemos que hablar más de esto.”]

“Come on, we have to talk seriously.”

[from dialogue 2.4: “Ven, tenemos que hablar en serio.”]

“What is it that I have to see?”

[from dialogue 2.4: “¿Qué es lo que tengo que ver?”]

This next example equates to something like, “You should have seen me a few months ago.”

[from dialogue 2.6: “Me tenías que ver hace unos meses.”]

“Quiero” examples

“I don’t want to talk with you.”

[from dialogue 2.4: “No quiero hablar contigo.”]

“You have to leave; I don’t want to see you.”

[from dialogue 2.4: “Te tienes que ir, no te quiero ver.”]

“Tell Juan to excuse me, but I don’t want to see him. I don’t want to see any of you.”

[from dialogue 2.4: “[Tell] a Juan que me disculpe pero que no lo quiero ver. No quiero ver a ninguno de ustedes.”]

“Poder” examples

“Hey, I know that you have been in strange things, but you can’t talk like that about yourself.”

[from dialogue 2.6: “[Hey], [I know] que has estado en cosas extrañas, pero no puedes hablar así de ti.”]

“We can talk about anything, or eat, or see something.”

[from dialogue 2.4: “Podemos hablar de cualquier cosa, o [eat], o ver algo.”]


In cases where you’re making someone do something else, you can use the infinitive after hacer. For example, “You make me feel all right.”

[From dialogue 2.4: “Un día me [you call] y me haces sentir bien pero después, al otro día, te vas por un montón de tiempo y no [I know] dónde estás.”]

“One day you call me and make me feel all right, but afterwards, the other day, you leave for a lot of time and I don’t know where you are.”

Simply using the infinitive as a noun

You can use infinitives in a wide variety of other circumstances as well. Suppose you want to say, “Why are you saying that?” You could instead say, “Does it seem right for you to say that?” using the infinitive, “to say”, or “decir”. Here’s an example: “After what you did, does it seem right to you to say that?”

[from dialogue 2.4: “Después de lo que hiciste, te [it seems] bien decir eso?”]

In that case, we’re sort of using the infinitive as a noun. Does this action seem right to you? Does it seem right “to say that”, or “decir eso”?

Here’s another example of using an infinitive as a noun: “That’s talking for the sake of talking.”

[from dialogue 2.6: “Eso es hablar por hablar.”]

Another example:

[from dialogue 2.4: “No [I need to see it] para saber que [I don’t like it].”]

“I don’t need to see it in order to know that I don’t like it.” So we’re using “para saber”, “in order to know”.

This one is similar, but it uses “por” instead of “para”. Sometimes “por” is used instead of “para” in these situations to indicate that the reason someone did something is because of a desire to do something else. In this case, the character would have done anything out of desire to talk with the person he’s talking to “He told me it only because he knows that I would have done anything to talk with you.”

[from dialogue 2.4: “Me lo [he told] sólo porque [he knows] que hubiera hecho cualquier cosa por hablar contigo.”]

Using “I don’t like”, this next one is “I don’t like to talk so much about these things.”

[from dialogue 2.6: “No [I like] hablar tanto de estas cosas.”]

“We like to pass time at home.”

[from dialogue 2.6: “[We like] pasar tiempo en casa.”]


Now it’s time to look more deeply at how these verbs are used and how to conjugate them. But this is where you’ll see the immense value of where the verb shops are located. The fact is that based on where the shops are placed, you already know a lot about how the verbs are conjugated, because they’ll be similar to the shops in the same area.

Unfortunately, it’s harder to categorize certain verbs, but we’ve placed them all in the “irregular verb neighborhood” near Joel’s home. Two of today’s verbs are there: Decir and Saber.

Decir conjugations

Decir is a pretty tricky word. However, since it’s on the same street as Hacer, you’ll see a lot of similarities between them.

When Joel first walks into the Seer’s shop and says “Hola”, the Seer thinks for a second and then tells him that what he just said means he has to go and dig. Joel, of course, hates manual labor (or any kind of work), so he doesn’t like the idea of digging. But the Seer hands Joel a shovel. The word for “I say” is “digo”.

The rest of the persons are quite simple. The pandas each take turns saying the letter “D”, which is the Seer’s favorite letter. But when they’re all called to say it together, they all accidentally say the letter “C”, which the Seer doesn’t like. So she sends them digging as well. Much like the conjugations for “hacer”, the conjugations of “decir” are “dice”, “dicen”, “dices”, and “decimos”. So besides “digo”, remember the letters “D” and “C”.

Example: “People say that to live well, you have to work, get married, have kids…”

[from dialogue 2.4: “La gente dice que para [live] bien hay que [work], casarse, tener hijos…”]

Now to go to the past tense. Of course, Decir is one of those verbs where the preterite is more important than the imperfect. When you say something, it’s an event. It’s not normally something that just used to happen in the past. When you say that somebody said something, you’re talking about a specific instance of this happening, so it’s considered an event, and so the Peterite is very important.

Now recall the preterites of Hacer. Remember that “hice” was the past tense of the first person and ‘hizo’ was the past tense of the third person. For decir, it’s the same, but a very odd J mixed in for no apparent reason. So in this case ‘dije’ is “I said” and ‘dijo’ is “he/she said”. Then all the other conjugations of Hacer will work as well: dijiste, dijeron, and dijimos.

In the following examples, note how frequently dative objects happen before the verb.

“I’ve already told you that I’m not going to go.”

[from dialogue 2.4: “Ya te dije que no voy a ir.”]

“He told me it only because he knows that I would have done anything to talk with you.”]

[from dialogue 2.4: “Me lo dijo solo porque [he knows] que hubiera hecho cualquier cosa por hablar contigo.”]

“I think that they would be able to be there as well; the dad said that.”

[from dialogue 2.4: “[I think] que ellos podrían estar ahí también, eso dijo el papá.”]

The future tense of Decir is shortened from what would be “deciré” to “diré”. So “diré” is “I will say” and “dirá” is “he will say”.

Now what about the subjunctive? Remember that even though most of the present tense conjugations of Decir have the stressed syllable “D” or “C”, Joel’s version has “dig” as the stressed syllable, so ‘digo’ means “I say”. Well, the subjunctive versions of Decir build on this. So when Joel is told to go out and dig, he goes to the back yard, and he finds that behind Decir’s shop there’s a large amount of dirt that she has people dig for her. So “diga” is the basis for the subjunctive, with all the variations that come with that: digas, digan, and digamos.

The imperatives of “decir” are very common, but they actually are simply based on the syllable “di”, the Seer’s favorite letter. And normally when you tell someone to tell someone something, you say “tell him” or “tell me”. So we have “dile” for “tell him” and “dime” for “tell me”.

Example: “Tell Juan to excuse me but that I don’t want to see him.”

[from dialogue 2.4: “Dile a Juan que [he excuse me] pero que no lo quiero ver.”]

Notice in the above example that when you tell someone to do something, you tell them “that they may do it”. So you use “que” and then a subjunctive.

Now the participle of decir is “dicho”. Joel was digging in the back yard, but he’s very tired of this, and so he goes to the roof, and he discovers that the roof is made of soft dirt. So he digs a long ditch in Decir’s roof. And he digs the ditch so deep that he digs right through the roof, and some of the dirt falls onto the Seer’s head. And so she thinks the sky must be falling or something, even though all that’s really happening was Joel was digging a ditch on her roof. But one way or another, the participle of Decir is ‘dicho’.

Saber conjugations

Saber’s conjugations are very much like the conjugations of the next-door shop Haber, except for the extremely unique first-person present-tense conjugation. When Joel first comes into the cyber shop, the know-it-all bear asks Joel he knows what he wants to buy. Joel says, ‘I’ll say what I want to buy.’ And in his typical overconfidence he gets the word “know” confused with the word “say”. So to say “I know what I want”, he says “I what I want”. (And incidentally, Joel does have a habit of saying everything that he knows or everything that he thinks.) So to say “I know”, Joel says ‘yo sé’ or simply ‘sé’ (spelled with an accent).

Example: “Hey, I know that you’ve been in strange things, but you can’t talk that way about yourself.”

[from dialogue 2.6: “[Hey], sé que has estado en cosas extrañas, pero no puedes hablar así de ti.”]

“I know it, but I don’t want to see them for a good while.”

[from dialogue 2.4: “Lo sé, pero no los quiero ver por un buen tiempo.”]

“I don’t know if I’m going to be able.”

[from dialogue 2.6: “No sé si voy a poder.”]

Then for no reason, the know-it-all bear bursts out crying loud sobs. Affected by this, the pandas start sobbing as well, and so does the lizard. The remaining present-tense conjugations are “sabe”, “sabes”, “saben”, and “sabemos”.

Example: “It’s not known where my daughter is.”

[from dialogue 2.6: “No se sabe dónde está mi hija.”]

Now Joel himself flies behind the counter to get away from all the sobbing. There he finds a bunch of small, electronic bees. The word for “I knew” is “sabía”.

Joel is frightened by the electronic bees, so he flies out and goes to the back yard… where he finds something even worse: A bunch of animatronic apes (gorillas, orangutans, and chimpanzees). The subjunctive for “he may know”, as in “in order that he might know”, is “sepa” (“para que sepa”).

Regular verbs: Conjugating the -ar verbs

So far in this lesson we’ve learned 15 new infinitives, and we know how to conjugate “decir” and “saber”. Moving out of the irregular verb neighborhood, things actually become much and much easier because the conjugations are more standard. After you learn a few of them, you’ll know how to conjugate all the regular verbs.

Let’s start with “Hablar”. You may be able to guess the present tense versions of this word: Hablo for Joel, habla for the lizard, hablas for the owner, hablan for the pandas, and hablamos for “we”. The stressed syllable of most of these is “ah”, and the secondary syllable changes. In Joel’s case, he first says “ah”, and then he simply blows out words boringly like Lar does. The lizard says “ah” and then manages to say “blah”, which is perhaps better than “rah”, but it’s still very boring. The rest of the words simply follow the normal pattern, although notice that the first person plural “hablamos” has the stress on the second syllable “blah” instead of the first syllable “ah”.

Now here’s the beautiful thing about this: As easy as hablar’s present tense conjugations are, the rest of the verbs in the woods have exactly the same patterns! The endings are the same. As long as you know which shop you’re at, if you know it’s in the woods, and you know how to conjugate it. The only consideration to make is what the stressed syllable will be for that particular verb. For example, the stressed syllables in the present tense of Hablar are “hab”. But the stressed syllables for “necesitar” will be “seat”.

We’ll present some examples of present tenses of Hablar, Importar, Necesitar, and others. Note that the ends are all the same between the different verbs. See if you can predict what the conjugation will sound like as we present them.

Let’s start with examples of first-person conjugations. In this first one, you’ll hear the word “hablo”, which means “I talk”: “Do you think that just because I’m not talking like crazy anymore, you can play with me and make yourself the ‘good friend’?” So you’ll hear, “¿[Do you think] que porque ya no te hablo como loca [you can play with me and make yourself the good friend]?”

[from dialogue 2.4: “¿[Do you think] que porque ya no te hablo como loca puedes [to play] conmigo y hacerte el buen amigo?”]

Next, “I don’t need to see it in order to know that I don’t like it.” So you’ll hear “necesito” for “I need”: “No necesito verla para saber que no [I like it].”

[from dialogue 2.4: “No necesito verla para saber que no [I like it].”]

Now for some third-person conjugations. First, “Nobody is talking about getting married.” This uses “habla” to say “is talking”. So you’ll hear “Nadie habla de casarse” at the beginning of the example.

[from dialogue 2.4: “Nadie habla de casarse, sólo de que te preocupes un poco por mí.”]

Next an example of importar, the verb for being important or mattering: “It doesn’t matter; it’s not your problem.” So you’ll hear, “No importa; no es problema tuyo.”

[from dialogue 2.4: “No importa; no es problema tuyo.”]

Next, a use of Necesitar: “I am here because the king needs something important.” So you’ll hear “Estoy aquí ahora porque [the king] necesita algo muy importante.”

[from dialogue 2.5: “Estoy aquí ahora porque [the king] necesita algo muy importante.”]

Next an example of Gustar: “I don’t like that you are there.” Literally, “Not to me it is pleasing that you be there”: “No me gusta que estés allí.]

[from dialogue 2.5: “No me gusta que estés allí.]

Next an example of Pasar, the verb for when something’s going on: “Why? What’s going on?” So you’ll hear, “¿Por qué? ¿Qué pasa?”

[from dialogue 2.6: “¿Por qué? ¿Qué pasa?”]

So the present tenses are pretty easy. There’s one significant modification to note, however. Let’s consider Tar’s neighborhood of shops. Remember that although the “importar” shop and the “necesitar” shop are both on the left side, against the trees, the “contar” shop is on the right side out in the open. So the rain makes the shops on this side of the street a bit muddy. This represents that for shops on the right side, such as Contar, the stressed syllable both in the entrance and out the back are slightly changed for most of the conjugations. In the case of contar, the stressed syllable is “went”. Instead of “conta” for “he counts”, it changes to “cuenta”. “I count” is “cuento”, “you count” is “cuentas”, and “they count” is “cuentan”. But for the first person plural, since the stress is on a different syllable, it’s simply the normal “contamos”. These modifications are actually very easy to get used to because they’re quite normal. You’ll see them quite regularly for verbs on the right side of the street.

Now let’s go to the merchandise area of Hablar’s shop. There’s a window here, and the branches from the forest outside are blowing into the room and hitting the lizard’s face, interfering with its ability to try speaking. Instead of talking, the lizard starts simply blowing at the branches to try to get them out of his way. The word for “he spoke” is “habló”. Note that the stress is on the last syllable here, “blow”. Meanwhile Joel is extremely bored of Lar’s nonsense, and he’s often lulled to sleep by wind blowing through leaves, so he decides to lie down and take a nap while listening to the wind blowing. Joel’s word is “hablé” (with the stressed syllable “lay”). A blast of wind hits Lar, and his word is “hablaste”, “you spoke”. The pandas try to imitate Lar, but they simply say his name over and over, and their word is “hablaron”, “they spoke”. And then the easiest one is the first person plural, because it’s exactly the same as the present tense: “hablamos”.

The imperfect is very easy. The stressed syllable is always “blah” because that’s all that Lar says as he stands behind the counter: “blah blah blah”. So we have “hablaba”, “hablabas”, “hablaban”, and “hablabamos”.

Outside the front, since we’re by the woods, everything is exactly as you would expect it to be. “I will speak” is “hablaré”. “He will speak” is “hablará”. “We will speak” is Joel’s version with “mos” at the end: “hablaremos”. And then “you will speak” and “they will speak” are just the lizard’s version with the normal modifications: “hablarás” and “hablarán”.

For the subjunctive, everything is much like the the present tense, except since they’re in the woods, Joel lies down to take a nap: “hable”, “hablen”, “hables”, and “hablemos”.

Meanwhile the lizard tries to take a nap on the moving sidewalk to the side, indicating that the imperative is simply the same word as the lizard’s present tense conjugation: “Habla.” Imperatives of certain verbs in the woods are quite common, particularly the verb “mirar”. “Mira!” is used to mean “look”, either literally or before saying something. For example, “Look, if you don’t leave, I’m leaving myself.”

[from dialogue 2.4: “Mira, si no te vas, me voy yo.”]

The unconjugated versions are exactly what you’d expect: “hablando” for “talking”, and “hablado” for “spoken” as in “we have spoken” (“hemos hablado”).

Conjugating the -er and -ir verbs

Now let’s look at the shops that are along the beach. On the left side are buildings in the sand and grass, but on the right side are buildings that are built over the water. When the tide comes in, the buildings on the right get splashed pretty heavily.

The verbs on the left side are very easy to conjugate. They’re a lot like the Hablar conjugations, except the opposite: The present tense tends to use the letter “E”, and the subjunctive mood uses the letter “A”.

We’ll start with Deber, the word for “must”, and talk about all of its conjugations. We don’t even need mnemonics for the normal present tense, because they’re so regular: “Debe” for the lizard (he must), “debes” for the second person (you must), “deben” for the pandas (they must), and “debo” for Joel (“I must”). The plural first person, “we must”, is “debemos”.

Let’s look at some examples of these. First, “I must know”: “Debo saber.”

[from dialogue 2.4: “Debo saber.”]

Next, “A friend. He must be around here.” So you’ll hear, “Un amigo. Debe estar por aquí.”

[from dialogue 2.5: “Un amigo. Debe estar por aquí.”]

“You must speak with her too.” “Debes hablar con ella también.”

[from dialogue 2.5: “Debes hablar con ella también.”]

Now since we know that Deber is on the left side of the beach, all the other verbs we’ve learned there will be conjugated the exact same way. Creer, Parecer, and Ver are all on the left side of the beach, so their present tense conjugations end the same way. Just remember to stress the syllable before the last syllable when you conjugate them. For example, although “it must” is “debe”, stressing “deb”, the word for “it appears” is “parece”, stressing “race”. “I must” is “debo”, but “I see” is “veo”. Let’s look at some examples, first of first person, then of other persons.

First example: “I see that you are still this way”: “Veo que [still] estás así.”

[from dialogue 2.4: “Veo que [still] estás así.”]

Next, “I think that they already when to Juan’s house”: “Creo que ya fueron a la casa de Juan.”

[from dialogue 2.4: “Creo que ya fueron a la casa de Juan.”]

Now for some third person conjugations, all of which end with the letter “E”. First, an example of “creer”: “Well, Mom thinks that you are dead.” “Bueno, mamá cree que estas muerto.”

[from dialogue 2.5: “Bueno, mamá cree que estas muerto.”]

Next, “It seems to me a little strong to say that”: “Me parece un poco fuerte decir eso.”

[from dialogue 2.4: “Me parece un poco fuerte decir eso.”]

“All right, in that case it seems right to me.” “Bueno, en ese caso me parece bien.”

[from dialogue 2.6: “Bueno, en ese caso me parece bien.”]

Now for second person conjugations, ending with “ES”: “You seem like a child”: “Pareces un niño.”

[from dialogue 2.4: “Pareces un niño.”]

Next, “You think that I can?” “Tú crees que puedo?”

[from dialogue 2.5: “Tú crees que puedo?”]

Next, speaking about a dog named Gon, “You see that thing that Gon has here?” “¿ves esa cosa que tiene Gon aquí?”

[from dialogue 2.5: “¿ves esa cosa que tiene Gon aquí?”]

The verb Sentir is on the right side, which means it gets wet when the tide comes in. So even though the verb is “sentir”, the stressed syllable changes and lengthens when it’s in the present tense. So instead of “sento” or “sente”, it’s “siento”, “siente”, “sientes”, and “sienten”.

Some examples. First, “It was before everything. I feel that it was a different life.” So you’ll hear, “Fue antes de todo. Siento que fue otra vida.”

[from dialogue 2.4: “Fue antes de todo. Siento que fue otra vida.”]

Next, “In this moment I feel quite bad.” When someone feels a certain way about himself, that’s reflexive, literally “I feel myself quite bad”: “Me siento bastante mal.”

[from dialogue 2.6: “En este momento me siento bastante mal.”]

An extremely common phrase is “I feel it”, which is how Joel says “I’m sorry.” The phrase is “lo siento”.

[from dialogue 2.4: “Lo siento.”]

So now you can confidently use present tense conjugations confidently. They all end very regularly; you just have to make sure you know what the stressed syllable is, and there you go.

Now how about the imperfect past tense? These are even easier. They all work the same way that tener, querer, and hacer did: With a stress on “ía”. So in the imperfect past tense, behind the counter, we have “parecía”, “veía”, “creía”, and “sentía”, plus we can change the endings for different persons.

As an example, “But I wasn’t a child; I was very short. I appeared more young.” So you’ll hear, “Pero yo no era un niña, era muy baja, parecía más [young].”

[from dialogue 2.6: “Pero yo no era un niña, era muy baja, parecía más [young].”]

Now let’s go to the merchandise area of Deber and learn the preterite past tenses, which are generally harder to learn than other tenses. In Deber’s place, she sells some small merchandise items such as wallets and postcards, but everything has a strange price tag. Instead of simple dollar signs or yen signs, all the prices have a bee’s stinger in them. Deb does this because she tricks her buyers into owing her lots of money down the road after they’ve made a purchase. Joel almost buys some things here, but when he sees the pictures of bee’s stingers on all the merchandise, he imagines that something’s not right. To say “I owed” or “I needed” to do something, in the preterite tense, the word is “debí”.

Remember that in “hablar”, we had “hablé”. For verbs in the forest, the stress for Joel’s preterite tense is always the letter E at the end. But here on the beach, it’s the letter I, as in “debí”. So “I felt” is “sentí”, and “I seemed” could be “parecí”.

In fact, all of the persons here have the letter “I” in their preterites. The lizard is debió, which in other verbs would be sentió, creió, and so on. The pandas’ conjugation is debieron, much like “fueron”. Second person is debiste, like “fuiste”. And the plural first person is Joel’s conjugation with “mos” at the end: Debimos, parecimos, sentimos, etc.

In the back yard, for the subjunctive tens, everything is just like the present tense except with the vowel changed to the letter “A”: deba, debas, debamos, and so on. For sentir, that would be sienta, sientan, sentamos, etc.

The bottom line here is that if you can properly conjugate Deber on the left side and Sentir on the right side, you can confidently conjugate all the other verbs on the beach the same way. The patterns become very standard. We have an abundance of sentence examples in the dialogues, although the ones we’ve presented in this [episode/video] represent all the most common uses of these verbs.