Tag Archives: study Spanish

The easy way to ser, estar, haber

The Spanish language sometimes likes to over complicate things. One example of such thing is the fact that there are three words to express the same thing: “to be”. If that is not over complicating your existence, then I do not know what is. It looks like they could not simply decide on one simple verb and that kind of sucks. Natives do not seem to mind it that much though. It is the people who are learning Spanish that have major problems with it.

Three verbs that express the same thing means that you can use any one of them whenever you want to, right? Wrong! Unfortunately, the three verbs: ser, estar, haber are used for different things. This confuses many people who want to and are learning Spanish. However, there is no need to worry. This blog post is here to help. Enough rambling, let’s cut to the chase.

  1. SER

The first verb is probably the most common verb in the Spanish language and also the first verb that people learn. It is usually used for:

introducing yourself:

Example: Yo soy María. (= I am Maria)

permanent characteristic ( color, shape, size):

Examples: El cielo es azul. (= The sky is blue)

           El cuadro es redondo. (= The painting is round)

Los pantalones son grandes. (= The pants are big)

where and when something takes place:

Examples: El evento será en Madrid. (= The event will take place in Madrid)

  El festival será en abril. (= The festival will take place in April)

indicating the owner:

Example: La casa es suya. (= The house is his/hers)

indicating the materials that something is made of:

Example: La pulsera es de oro. (= The bracelet is made of gold)

-indicating price:

Example: La chaqueta es 50 euros. (= The jacket is 50 euros)

There is a simple trick to determine whether we are going to use the verb “ser” as opposed to the verb “estar”. Is it permanent? If the answer is yes, then we use the verb “ser”, if not, then we use the verb “estar”. Seems simple, right?

  1. ESTAR

The second verb on the list is also one of the most common verbs in the Spanish language. It is usually used for:

temporary characteristics (it might surprise you, but marriage is a temporary characteristic also, what a pessimistic view!):

Examples: El chico está enfermo.(= The boy is sick)

Los dos están casados. (= The two are married)

location

Example: La biblioteca está en la calle principal. (= The library is on the main street)

There is a simple trick to determine whether we are going to use the verb “estar” as opposed to the verb “haber” , it is the question: “Do we know it?”. If the answer is yes, then we use the verb “estar”.

  1. HABER

Haber is mostly used for determining the location of unknown places or persons.

Example: Hay un banco por aquí. (= There is a bank around here) as opposed to El banco está aquí. (= That certain bank is here).

Now that you know the difference between these verbs, it’s time to use them!

How to make plurals in Spanish

For English speakers, Spanish plurals aren’t too bad. Like in English, you generally just add an “s” to the end. Unfortunately, nothing is ever quite that simple. As always, there are a few differences. But don’t worry – this post will walk you through the whole process.

  1. Forming Basic Plural Nouns

Let’s get a few things clear first. A noun, as you may know, is the person, place, or thing being talked about. A plural noun is when there is more than one person, place, or thing. In English, when we want to show that we’re talking about more than one noun we add an “s” to the end of it:

  • I have a dog. 
  • I have three dogs.

For Spanish nouns that end in vowels, it’s exactly the same:

  • Tengo un perro.
  • Tengo tres perros.

And it doesn’t matter if the noun is feminine or masculine:

  • Juan tiene una manzana.
  • Juan tiene cuatro manzanas.

However, for nouns that don’t end in vowels, it’s a little different.

  1. Nouns That End with Consonants

For nouns that end with consonants, like televisión or avión, we need something a little different. Try saying “televisions” with a Spanish accent. Pretty hard, right? It just sounds like English. That’s because in Spanish nouns that end with consonants need an “es” at the end.

  • Tengo una televisión.
  • Tengo unas televisiones.

Don’t forget that the accent in television gets taken off when it becomes plural!

  1. Exceptions

There are no rules without exceptions, especially in grammar. Luckily, there’s only one exception to plural nouns in Spanish: nouns that end with “z,” like la voz or el lápiz. In the plural they’re spelled with a “c”:

  • la voz
  • las voces

 

  • el lápiz
  • los lápices

Luckily, lapis keeps its accent, so that’s one less thing to worry about. Bu the next question is: what about that el and la?

  1. Pluralising Articles and Adjectives

This is where things get a little trickier. Unlike English nouns, in Spanish not only does the noun become plural, but so do its article and its adjective, if it has them. If you’re not sure what an article is, see my post on articles. In Spanish, the definite articles are el for masculine nouns and la feminine nouns. In the plural they look like this:

  • Mira al perro.  (al comes from a + el)
  • Mira los perros.

 

  • Mira la televisión.
  • Mira las televisiones.

Indefinite articles in Spanish are uno for the masculine and una for the feminine.

  • Quiero un libro
  • Quiero unos libros.

 

  • Quiero una manzana.
  • Quiero unas manzanas.

Often, however, words come with descriptions: a strong drink or a green apple. In Spanish, these need to be pluralised to match the noun they describe:

  • Quiero un libro bueno.
  • Quiero unos libros buenos.

 

  • Quiero una manzana verde.
  • Quiero unas manzanas verdes.

This can get tricky when you have an adjective that needs to be changed for gender and number like rojo, or “red.”

  • Busco un coche rojo.
  • Busco unos coches rojos.

 

  • Quiero la manzana roja.
  • Quiero las manzanas rojas.

That said, Spanish plurals really aren’t too scary. Remembering to match the adjective to the noun might take a while but, with a bit of practice, it will soon come naturally!

Ready for a Spanish practice?

Spanish Indie Authors – Gorka E Argul – La llave de la eternidad

Is it hard to find novels to read in Spanish? Many students of Spanish want to read novels in Spanish, but don’t have a clue about which one to choose. The classics are always there, but let’s face it, sometimes are not the most engaging for the general public.

Shakespeare is a great author, but when it comes to enjoying the story, many people would prefer reading Ken Follet.

So today I bring you a review about a novel by a Spanish indie author that you may consider reading:

Review of La llave de la eternidad

cover of la llave de la eternidadThe Key of Eternity is a fantasy novel written by  Gorka E Argul. It is a fast-paced novel, which will make you overcome the limits of Physics.

The Key of Eternity is a thriller book, at the border between fantasy and science fiction. In this novel, Gorka E Argul takes the historical figure of Nikola Tesla as a starting point in order to develop a fantastic story in which the time travel journeys are not only for the characters of the novel, but also for the reader.

The novel is a modern one, in which the characters continually cross each other and in which the narrative line plays with the different perspectives of the characters themselves. It is a fast-paced novel, in which the events happen in a thrilling way, with the added interest of the fact that the narrative is not linear, but there are various gaps in the timeline, which contribute to keeping the suspense.

The gaps in the timeline and skipping from one period to another help embellish this fantastic story. This raises the question of whether the advances in science make it possible for people to teleport themselves or even travel back in time.

In The Key of  Eternity time travel and teleportation are not only possible, but also they have existed for a long period of time. Even though it is, of course, a highly kept secret from there and that is why, the protagonist of the story, a journalist from New York Times, called Patrick Stevens finds himself involved in a mysterious and dangerous plot, which could become one of the major revolutions of the history of humanity.

The story begins with Patrick taking part in a scientific demonstration. He soon goes from being a spectator to a protagonist, which happens immediately after he helps the injured after an accident. That is how, in a short period of time, Patrick makes contact with various important characters, in what is no more than a small example of the pace of the events.

An especially interesting aspect of the book are the events that happened in the past, where the author takes important figures such as the above mentioned Nikola Tesla and Albert Einstein as characters, along with a two American solders whose friendship will remain in question.

It is a perfect novel to take on vacation or for the days in which you have some free time to read, because it requires you to pay close attention in order not to miss part of the main plot, given the different time ‘hops´ and the constant change of the characters from the perspective of whom the narrative is presented. The difficult part of this novel is that it must be read in one sitting, or else important details could be forgotten.

It is important to take into account that the publisher is not as important as the ones that you are accustomed to if you only read books from important publishers. It is a detail that could attract your attention, but which does not make the lecture more difficult.

In the same manner that an independent publisher could have his problems, this also has its advantages, which means that we are presented a story which has a fresh vibe to it along with originality, which is quite rare today and frankly, we see it lacking from the majority of the bestsellers that we can find nowadays in the bookshops of  any given city.

Besides what one may enjoy from reading it, The Key of Eternity gives us something to reflect upon: What scientific progress could have been stuck in the process of innovation? How many times were investigations that could have had a major impact or even a change in history abandoned?

I recommend you to read this novel.

Spanish level to enjoy the reeading: Advanced C1-C2

The difference between language learning and language acquisition

Taking up a new language brings uneasiness to most of the learners. We often speak about learning a language though this is a process that does not only involve learning by itself. There is a difference between how we learn a language and how we acquire it. As we chose to adopt a new language, we need to consider the process just like any other skills aimed to provide us with the ability to do something well. Particularly if we need to reach a more advanced level.

Then, what do we basically mean when we say ‘to learn and’ to ‘acquire’?

Learning is connected with memorizing, studying and being informed. We learn our school subjects in that way trying to remember various facts and details in a given field of study. On the other hand, the meaning of `acquire` refers to a process when something comes into possession, something is gained through efforts or a natural flow.  For example, you can learn a poem and recite it by heart but acquiring a deeper knowledge of poetry may lead you towards the mastery of writing your own.

How we learn a language?

Things are similar with languages. Learning does not mean you will be able to communicate properly with people who speak that language.

We often learn plain grammatical rules and bunch of words we are unable to use in real situations. You may know how to compose sentences, you may even create complex construction but you may still have difficulties in applying them smoothly whether in speaking or writing. This means you have memorized partially the language but not in all language skills.

This kind of learning is typical for passing standard testing with filing in gaps or multiple choice questions because it only needs passive, conscious knowledge usually gained in a classroom.  Saying that you have learned a language does not necessarily make you good at speaking or listening-skills which require communicative approach.

How we acquire a language?

Language acquisition has a different approach. Firstly, there is an environment with an adequate context that will enable to acquire the language in the most efficient way. The best example for this is the way children learn to speak and communicate.

A child learns in a subconscious way without thinking of grammatical rules as he/ she needs to communicate in the family. They may say ‘childrens’ instead of ‘children’ and they may be entirely understood because the importance is on the text of communication not on the form. This is how all of us acquire our first language.

When it comes to a foreign language, there is a similar situation. Why do we learn a foreign language? We need to communicate with it, speak, listen, read and write. Acquisition stretches beyond classroom and involves real situations. A very good example of language acquisition is how young people adopt slag words and colloquial expression from movies or while staying abroad. In a traditional classroom they are expected to say I`m going to do but in an appropriate environment I’m gonna do becomes their natural language. Language acquisition means that you aim towards achieving a native command of the language both spoken and written as well as in communication.

Having in mind the difference between learning and acquiring a language, it is important to think of the methods when taking up foreign language courses. Few of us are fortunate enough to afford spending time among native speakers in a country where the language is spoken. When you pick up a course, make sure that the methodology of teaching is focused on multiple structures responsible for oral understanding and the capacity for creative communication besides the standard teaching techniques.

Liven Up Your Spanish Study Routine!

We all know about language classes and programs like Rosetta Stone. But, for some people, classes can be too expensive or inconvenient, and self-directed study can get lonely. Even worse, when you study alone, it’s hard to measure success and you can forget why you’re trying to learn the language in the first place. Luckily, there are plenty of learning options out there, especially for Spanish. Remember, the most important thing is to have fun – learning a new language should be a challenge, but not a nightmare.

  1. Skype lessons

Obviously, I’m a fan of this method. Not only do you get one-on-one lessons, you can do it from the comfort of your own home. Not to mention, you can learn from native speakers from around the world. Language is all about communication and studies show that we retain the words we use in conversation more quickly and more easily than those we just memorise. Use personal Skype lessons or tandem partners to get speaking right away. Getting comfortable speaking a foreign language will also give you more confidence in your language abilities.

  1. Tandem partners

Having a tandem partner is like having a coffee-date that also helps you practice Spanish. Usually, a tandem partner is someone who is fluent in the language you want to learn but needs help improving their abilities in your language. In this case, half the conversation would be spent in English and half in Spanish. Put up wanted flyers at your local college or university, or check out on-line language exchanges such as Itaki, Speaky, or The Mixxer.

  1. Telenovelas

One of the best resources for Spanish-learners is telenovelas. These over-the-top soap operas come in all kinds of scandalous subgenres and can be found on YouTube or, more recently, on Netflix. Telenovelas are a great way to learn conversational Spanish and get used to hearing several people talk at once. If you’re unsure where to start, Betty la fea is a funny, warm-hearted telenovela from Columbia, Maria la del barria is a classic Mexican telenovela featuring everything from vicious gossip to staged deaths, and, for something steamier, Mujeres de Lujo is a Chilean telenovela following the lives of upscale escorts.

  1. Language-learning apps

If all you want is to build basic grammar and vocabulary, there are a ton of apps out there that offer fun games aimed at strengthening your vocabulary. Download one you like to your phone and play it on the bus, waiting in the doctor’s office – wherever you have a few spare minutes. Duolingo is probably the most well-known and is great for starting out, but Memrise offers a wider variety of “courses” and you can choose your level and even your dialect.

The most important thing is to keep yourself interested and motivated. If you make the process as fun as possible and involve other people such as online tutors or tandem partners, you will make your language learning experience more rewarding and ensure that you stick with it, even when the going gets tough.

Effective Lessons in Spanish for Busy Learners

Are you trying to learn Spanish, but find yourself pressed for time?  Whether you’re a full time student, managing a career or looking after children, time is of the essence when trying to learn any new skill.  There just isn’t time!  But, never fear.  When learning the Spanish language, you can make progress little by little through frequent, short, but effective lessons.  Here are a few to get you started:

Listen Spanish While You Work

You may not be able to listen to the radio while at your day job, but you can certainly spice up chores such as washing dishes by listening to some salsa music!  Find some music easily online to practice hearing Spanish and before you know it, if you repeat the same song enough times, you’ll be singing along too!  You can also try simple podcasts or listening to children’s stories being read.  Youtube has a wealth of Spanish content to peruse through.  Check out these children’s stories for something fun! So, what’s your excuse?  Pick a chore you can do while listening such as cooking, washing dishes, folding laundry or general cleaning and perk your ears up!

Tag it Up

Increase your vocabulary one word at a time with post-it notes.  Choose one word each day to learn and post it on your mirror or refrigerator.  Each time you see the word, say it out loud and use it in a sentence.  You’re sure to look at your refrigerator or mirror at least a few times each day.  If you’re a basic student, you can extend this activity to include your whole house! Label the chairs, tables, doors, windows, bookshelf all with their respective Spanish names.

Use Meal Time to Practice Spanish

Wrap your family, coworkers and friends into learning Spanish with you.  While enjoying your sandwich, name the ingredients in it in Spanish.  Say a sentence or two about the weather, news or how your day was.  You don’t have to spend the whole meal speaking in Spanish, but take advantage of the time you spend making small talk to practice a few sentences.

Shower Time Counts Too

Some people enjoy singing in the shower.  Others think great thoughts.  Take full advantage of your shower time by using it for a quick Spanish lesson.  Take one minute prior to your shower to review a new verb tense, vocabulary word, grammar point, sentence structure or similar.  Then, while in the shower, practice your pronunciation in a safe place and drill it!  Repeat, make new sentences and say your verb conjugations out loud!

Write it Down

Take advantage of normal tasks like writing to-do lists and shopping lists in Spanish.  You have to do it anyway, so put your brain to work, pull out your Spanish-English dictionary and write it down.  You’ll have the verbs for chores down in no time and you can get your food vocabulary up to snuff too!

Although it may seem difficult to make time to learn Spanish, incorporate a few of the above Spanish lessons into your routine and you’ll make progress in no time!

Are you making one of these 5 common mistakes in the Spanish language?

The joys of learning Spanish are countless, and so are the mistakes to be made.  As you’re getting confident with your Spanish language skills, look out for these common mistakes you might be making.  If you find that you do make these mistakes, never fear!  That’s what learning and perfecting foreign language skills is all about.  The more you know, the more you learn, the better you can learn to speak the Spanish language!

Here’s the list:

  1. Por y Para “Gracias por el café” and “Esta rosa es para ti” In English, “for” would be used in both cases, however Spanish complicates things with having two possibilities.  Many Spanish learners mix up these two and use them incorrectly.

It’s helpful to keep in mind that there are many meanings of “for”.  For example “I’m looking for the milk for you”.  In this sentence, the first “for” means “in order to find” and the second “for” means “on behalf of you.”  Unfortunately there are quite a number of rules to memorize in order to use “por” and “para” correctly.  Time, memorization, practice and examples are necessary to master this.  For a great list of examples of when to use “por” and “para”, check out this list.

  1. False Cognates These are words that sound the same, but don’t mean the same thing. A classic mistake is “embarazada” which means “pregnant” rather than “embarrassed.”  Other commonly confused words are: “assistir” (to attend, not help), “realizar” (to do something, not realize) and “soportar” (to put up with something, not support).
  1. Conjugation Troubles Preterit, imperfect, past, future, with all of those verb conjugations to keep track of not to mention irregulars – keeping conjugations straight can be tricky. The best way to avoid mixing up conjugations is to study, memorize, practice using them and repeat.  The more you expose yourself to natural, good old native Spanish, the more the rules will sink in as well.
  1. Ser vs. Estar Spanish learners often mix up “ser” and “estar”, the two verbs that are used for “to be”. For example, a Spanish learner may say “soy aburrido” which is essentially “I’m boring” when they mean to say “estoy aburrido” or “I’m bored”.  “Ser” is for permanent situations and “estar” is temporary.  Keep them straight.
  1. Adjective Placement Adjectives usually come after the noun in Spanish, where as in English, they usually come before. This small difference can take you from awkward to expert in your Spanish speaking level.  So, if you want to say you saw a red house, you should say “Vi una casa roja” rather than “Vi una roja casa.”

As you study Spanish, remember that making mistakes is part of the process.  By making mistakes, we learn how to say things correctly.  After all, who doesn’t remember some of their most awkward language mistakes?  It’s a journey to become fluent with many bumps along the way.  Pick one of the mistakes above to work on to make progress on your own personal language learning journey.

Journal Prompts for Spanish Language Learners

Tips to study Spanish
Studying flickr photo shared by mer chau under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

Trying to practice your Spanish language skills a bit more?  One great way to do so is by keeping a journal.  Even through writing as little as once or twice a week can help you in developing vocabulary, perfecting use of verb tenses and gaining a better understanding of sentence structure.  Often, the question becomes, “What do I write about?”  Below are 8 great prompts to get you started and make use of a variety of verb tenses and vocabulary.  Grab a pen and get started!

  1. Describa un momento feliz de tu niñez Describe a happy moment from your childhood. This prompt will allow you to practice everyday language and possibly make use of both the preterit and imperfect tenses. Happy memories!
  2. ¿Qué harás en el fin de semana? What are you going to do this weekend? Use the future tense to talk about your plans for the weekend. You’ll also get to practice lots of vocabulary, particularly verbs.
  3. ¿Qué hiciste ayer? What did you do yesterday? Use the past tense to write what you did yesterday. Practice the difference between preterit and imperfect.
  4. Imagine que un desconocido te va a recoger en el aeropuerto. Descríbete para que te puedan reconocer. Imagine someone you don’t know will be picking you up from the airport.  Describe yourself so that the person will be able to recognize you. This will give you the chance to use the present tense and practice using the verb “ser” which means “to be” when describing your own characteristics and features.  Use vocabulary that deals with the body and clothing.
  5. ¿Si pudieras ir a cualquier lugar del mundo, a donde irías? If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? Writing about your dreams using the subjunctive is the challenge in this journal writing prompt. Practice your travel language and write about the most amazing destination in the world for you.
  6. Termina esta historia: El gato movía y movía las rejas de la jaula donde el pajarito lo había encerrado, pero no lograba salir. De repente…Finish this story: The cat jiggled the bars of the cage where the bird had locked him up, but he couldn’t get out.  All of the sudden… It’s time to get creative! Using the past tense, write a story and add in any elements you’d like.
  7. Escriba acerca de 3 temas de los cuales te gustaría aprender más en este año. Write about 3 things you’d like to learn more about this year. Now it’s time to get abstract. This is a challenge when learning a new language, but it will help you develop your vocabulary and the conditional tense.
  8. Escriba una carta a la persona que cuidará tu casa durante una semana. Explícale tareas de debe realizar y cómo es tu casa y vecindario. Write a letter to the person who will be taking care of your house for a week.  Explain the chores that need to be done and what your house and neighborhood are like. Practice writing using commands. In addition, you’ll practice vocabulary for household items, outdoor features and places.

Do you need someone to proofread your Spanish texts? I can do it with useful comments to help you to improve!! Write me!!

How to Practice Spanish This Summer

Summer time brings about a different pace.  Even for those of us who work full time, there’s a temptation to enjoy the park and a barbecue or a longer vacation rather than hit the books.  Relaxation and enjoyment of nature is good for the body and soul; however, it can also mean you lose progress in your journey to learning the Spanish language.  To avoid getting rusty, follow these tips for practicing your Spanish this summer:

Spice up your Music

Whether driving in the car or while entertaining guests, pump up some music in Spanish.  Latin music is an excellent choice for any occasion, with offerings from rock to salsa to romantic ballads, it’s got everything. In the meantime, your ears will perk up and become attune to the pronunciations and sentence structure used.  If you’re thinking “Not a chance I’ll understand what they’re saying in the song,” ptry picking one album to make your summer anthem.  Listen to it every chance you get and by the end of the summer, you’ll find yourself singing along!  Just some popular artists you may consider are: Marc Anthony (ballads, rock, salsa), Juanes (rock), Shakira (pop, rock) and El Gran Combo (salsa).

Read a Novel

If you’re planning on relaxing lakeside or on the beach with a novel, why not make it a novel in Spanish?  You don’t need to grab a great work in literature to practice.  Keep it light and easy with a novel you’ll enjoy and be able to understand.  There are options for just about every level.  For beginners, try reading something like El Principito. More advanced readers can try the works of Paulo Coehlo or Isabel Allende.

Vacation in Spanish

If you’re planning to go abroad for you vacation anyway, why not try a Spanish speaking country?  While most touristy areas in Spanish speaking countries are English friendly, you’ll still get the chance to hear and practice your Spanish.  There are destinations that can fulfill all of your needs.  From jungle adventures to beaches to history, your choices range from Spain, to Central America and South America.  All have something special to offer and will provide the perfect opportunity to practice Spanish.

Keep a Journal

While you’re enjoying your summer and some relaxation, keep a journal of what you’re doing.  Each entry can be short with just a sentence or two about what you’re up to.  The point is to write in Spanish.  You could even try using the same idea, but posting it to your Facebook page or a blog.  This way you can share your progress with your friends and family and they can help keep you accountable with your goal to journal in Spanish.

Through any of these Spanish language practice ideas, you’re sure to make some progress and keep your skills fresh.  The best part is, each of these tips will also allow you to enjoy the summer months at the same time.  So, what are you waiting for? Pick one and get started!

 

Spanish Help 101 for Beginning Spanish Students

So, you’ve decided to learn how to speak Spanish!  First off, congratulations!  It is a fantastic language with many speakers across the globe.  If you’re looking for some help as you begin this journey learning Spanish, read the advice below that’s especially for beginners:

Label Everything: When you begin learning any language, growing your vocabulary is one of the most important things to focus on.  With an immense number of words to learn in order to become mildly proficient, one of the best ways to speed up the process is to surround yourself in the language.  Use post-its to label your house and household items with Spanish vocabulary.  That way, every time you see your computer, you’ll see ordenador and every time you see your window you’ll see ventana.  Slowly but surely, after looking at each object a few times, it will start to sink in.

Learn to Pronounce Vowels: One of the difficulties in learning Spanish is learning the vowel sounds, which differ from English.  To avoid problems when reading new words, get your vowels down from the get go.  Learn the pronunciations, drill them and you’ll be ready for great pronunciation.  Luckily Spanish pronunciation is fairly straight forward, so once you learn how to pronounce each letter (especially those pesky vowels), you’re set for success.  Here’s a quick guide if you’re not sure how to pronounce vowels:

ah

e – eh

i – ee

o – oh

u – oo

Chart Your Verbs: For beginners, it’s important to get a handle on conjugating verbs for each person – in Spanish meaning:

yo (I) nosotros (we)
tu (you – informal) vosotros (plural you – informal)
el, ella, usted (he, she, you-formal) ellos, ellas, ustedes (them masculine, them feminine and plural you – formal)

Example in present tense Hablar (to speak)

yo – hablo nosotros – hablamos
tu – hablas vosotros – hablais
el, ella, usted – habla ellos, ellas, ustedes – hablan

Use this chart for charting all new verbs you are working with and learn the endings.  Then practice plugging in as much as possible.  You can check your conjugations easily on the Real Academia Española website in the dictionary section.  Type in a verb and choose option to conjugar and it will magically be laid out for you!  Drill as many of the basic verbs as you can and make sentences until you’ve got it down.

 Get Additional Practice

Whether or not you’re taking formal lessons or doing it on your own through programs such as Rosetta Stone, extra practice with a Spanish speaker is helpful to fast-track your success.  Find a friend, tutor or use online options such as skype for the occasional lesson.  This practice will give you a chance to learn what you’ve studied and practice speaking.  You can drill and write and practice reading as much as you want, but nothing will replace thinking on your feet and speaking practice.