Home Language Learning What’s an infinitive in Spanish?

What’s an infinitive in Spanish?

What’s an infinitive in Spanish?


To really feel assured talking Spanish, you’ll need to be taught various 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 by way of 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 spite of everything, 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 taking place within the current first individual, whereas yo corrí (“I ran”) is previously first individual. 

However earlier than you dive into tense, you’ll must know the bottom type of the verb, also referred to 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 vital 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 beneath 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 individual topic, like “I,” “you,” or “they.” In English, it’s simple to acknowledge infinitive verb types, as they’re at all times preceded by “to”: 

  • to grow to be
  • to consider
  • to interrupt

In Spanish, infinitive types aren’t preceded by a preposition, however they’re nonetheless simple 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 dwell

Infinitives present the bottom for conjugating verb types, 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 ideas beneath. 

How one can 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 perform as the topic of the sentence. When the infinitive capabilities as a noun, it’s at all times 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. = Operating is a good way to remain in form. 
  • Leer diariamente mantiene tu mente aguda. = Studying every 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 learning.
  • Estos bocadillos son para comer. = These snacks are for consuming.

The infinitive can also be used with the frequent expression “me gustar.” Though a sentence like “Me gusta cantar” is translated as “I prefer 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 prefer to play tennis
  • Nos gusta cocinar = We prefer to cook dinner.

2. After sure verbs

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

There are numerous verbs that may be adopted by an infinitive, however the one sort is known as a modal verb. In contrast to 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 might see the film”). These verbs specific a wide range of meanings, together with the speaker’s means, likeliness, or obligation to carry out an motion. 

  • Juan debe trabajar todos los dias. = Juan should work day-after-day.
  • Puedo ir al cine hoy. = I can go to the films immediately.

3. After a preposition

Just like utilizing the infinitive after a verb, infinitives can 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 at last 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 continuously in writing, they don’t seem to be 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 once you’re creating the long run tense! In contrast to conjugating for different tenses, the long run tense doesn’t require you to drop the ending off a verb. As a substitute, to create the long run 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 may also 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 most probably to return throughout, each in speech and in writing. And once you’re able to transfer on to conjugation, try our guides that break down tenses by verb sort: 

Commonest infinitive verbs (all endings)

Spanish English
ser To be (everlasting high quality)
estar To be (emotion, location, non permanent 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 provide

Commonest -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

Commonest -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

Commonest -IR verbs

Spanish English
escribir To jot down
recibir To obtain
permitir To permit
abrir To open
subir To go up
decidir To resolve
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 typically maintain true irrespective of who you’re speaking to. 

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

And, now that you understand the fundamentals of the infinitive type, you’re able to broaden your Spanish verb vocabulary! Understanding the conjugation patterns for normal -AR, -ER, and -IR verbs is a superb place to start out. Or, in case you’re on the lookout for a problem you can begin to familiarize your self with irregular Spanish verbs.

Take your Spanish to the following stage

In search of extra language studying ideas? Begin by studying primary phrases and phrases, reviewing the important fundamentals for studying Spanish, or exploring Oaxaca, Mexico by way of on a regular basis conversations. Rosetta Stone can assist you be taught a language quicker and extra confidently than you’ll in case you studied by yourself.

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