Spanish Lessons


Lessons for topic Conjugation

Regular AR verbs in Spanish

In Spanish language, all infinitive verbs belong to one of the following groups: verbs ending in ‘-ar’, verbs ending in ‘-er’ and verbs ending in ‘-ir’.


Likewise, each infinitive verb is formed using the following formula: verb stem + infinitive ending. Let’s look at some of the most common regular ‘AR’ verbs in Spanish:


  • Hablar (to speak) = Habl + ar
  • Comprar (to buy) = Compr + ar
  • Estudiar  (to study) = Estudi + ar


What makes a verb regular?

A verb is considered regular when the verb stem doesn’t change from the infinitive form to the conjugated form of the verb. Let’s take the regular verb hablar (to speak) and see its conjugation in the simple present. Notice how the stem stays the same but the endings vary:


  • Yo hablo (I speak)
  • Tú hablas (You speak)
  • Él/Ella habla (He/She speaks)
  • Nosotros/as hablamos (We speak)
  • Vosotros/as habláis (You speak)
  • Ellos/as hablan (They speak)


... o cuando mis alumnos hablan español.

... or when my students speak Spanish.

Caption 84, Lecciones con Carolina - Adjetivos posesivos - Part 2


Now, let’s take the regular verb comprar (to buy) and see how the conjugation works in the simple past:


  • Yo compré (I bought)
  • Tú compraste (You bought)
  • Él/Ella compró (He/She bought)
  • Nosotros/as compramos (We bought)
  • Vosotros/as comprasteis (You bought)
  • Ellos/as compraron (They bought)


¿Recuerdas el regalo que compré? -Mm-hm.

Do you remember the gift that I bought? -Mm-hm.

Caption 17, El Aula Azul - La Doctora Consejos - El pasado


Let’s use a different verb to see the conjugation of a regular ‘AR’ verb in the simple future. Let’s take the verb estudiar (to study):


  • Yo estudiaré (I will study)
  • Tú estudiarás (You will study)
  • Él/Ella estudiará (He/She will study)
  • Nosotros/as estudiaremos (We will study)
  • Vosotros/as estudiaréis (You will study)
  • Ellos/as estudiarán (They will study)


La Comisaría de Pesca dice que estudiará la forma de pagar esa indemnización.

The Fisheries Commissioner says that she will evaluate the way to pay that compensation.

Caption 50, Europa Abierta - Aguas en discordia


Do you want to know more regular ‘AR’ verbs in Spanish?

Take a look at the following list featuring some of the most used 'AR' verbs in Spanish:


  • Cantar (to sing) 
  • Bailar (to dance) 
  • Bajar (to go down) 
  • Caminar (to walk) 
  • Contestar (to answer) 
  • Descansar (to rest) 
  • Entrar (to enter) 
  • Escuchar (to listen to) 
  • Llegar (to arrive)
  • Limpiar (to clean)


Now, a final challenge: take one of the verbs we just mentioned and try conjugating it in simple present, past and future. And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions.


Explore more lessons:

The complicated world of reflexive verbs

Combining verbs in Spanish - Part 1 - Infinitives

Combining verbs in Spanish - Part 2- Gerundios y participios



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Tú, usted and vos

In English, when we talk with someone we use the second person singular pronoun ‘you’. In Spanish, we have three different options for that same pronoun: usted and vos. Which one we use depends on things like the relation that we have with the person we are talking to or the place where we are. Generally speaking, we use usted when we want to talk in a more respectful way with someone:

¿Usted qué... qué me recomienda, doctor?
What do you... what do you recommend to me, Doctor?
Caption 14, Los médicos explican - el tratamiento de las fracturas - Part 1

However, if you are following the Colombian series Los Años Maravillosos, you have probably noticed that people usually use usted even when talking with family members or close friends. Why? That’s just how people speak in Bogota, Colombia:

 ¿Y a usted qué le pasa, mi hijito?
And what's going on with you, my little boy?
Caption 35, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 1 - Part 4

Regardless of its use, there is something quite unique about using usted:  we conjugate usted as we would conjugate él (he) or ella (she):

Él trabaja entre las nueve de la mañana
He works between nine in the morning
Caption 48, La casa - De Chus

¿Dónde trabaja usted?
Where do you work?
Caption 9, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 16

As you can see in the captions above, the conjugation of the verb trabajar (to work) with él (he) and usted (you) is exactly the same (trabaja), something that doesn’t occur with  and vos:

Tú trabajas | You work
Vos trabajás | You work
Él/Ella/Usted Trabaja | He/She/You work

To wrap things up, we use usted as a second person singular pronoun. However, we conjugate it as a third person singular pronoun!
And don’t forget that this also occurs with the plural form ustedes (you all), which we conjugate as the third person plural pronoun ellos/ellas (they). Notice how ustedes and ellos share the same conjugation of the verb saber (to know) in the following captions:

Toda la vida he estado en el PAN, como ustedes saben, y he estado muy contento.
All my life I have been in PAN, as you know, and I have been very happy.
Caption 37, Felipe Calderón - Publicidad - Part 2

Ellos saben de los sitios que son hábitat de reproducción,
They know about the places that are reproduction habitats,
Caption 31, Instinto de conservación - Parque Tayrona - Part 2

That's it for now. If you want to learn more things about the use of usted and vos make sure to check out our series about Tuteo, Ustedeo y Voseo. And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions to

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A Common Past: Ser and Ir

We all know that irregular verbs are tricky. Very often, however, we can take advantage of those special rules that make the learning process a bit easier. Today, we will explore the past tense of the irregular verbs ser (to be) and ir (to go).
First of all, the good news: the verbs ser and ir share the same simple past conjugation! By simple past, we are referring to what is known in Spanish as pretérito perfecto simple or just pretérito (preterit). Let’s review the simple past conjugation of the verb ser:

Yo fui | I was
Tú fuiste | You were
Él/Ella fue | He/She was
Nosotros fuimos | We were
Vosotros fuisteis | You were
Ellos fueron | They were

Pensar que un día fui la respuesta
To think that one day I was the answer
Caption 14, Belanova - Tal vez

Aprendí que los primeros en hacer cómic fueron los aztecas.
I learned that the first ones to make comics were the Aztecs.
Caption 48, Antonio Vargas - Artista - Comic - Part 1

And now, let’s take a look at the simple past conjugation of the verb ir:

Yo fui | I went
Tú fuiste | You went
Él/Ella fue | He/She went
Nosotros fuimos | We went
Vosotros fuisteis | You went
Ellos fueron | They went

Y sí, definitivamente fuimos a tomar un café, fuimos a cenar.
And yes, we definitely went for a coffee, went to dinner.
Caption 18, Enanitos Verdes - Luz de Día

¿Y te fuiste a vivir con tu novio con cuánto? -Con diecisiete.
And you went to live with your boyfriend when you were how old? -I was seventeen.
Caption 92, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 14

We also use the simple past conjugation of the verb ir for the reflexive form irse (to leave):

 Yo me fui de la casa cuando tenía nueve años.
I left home when I was nine years old.
Caption 41, La Sub30 - Familias - Part 5

Desde aquel día que te fuiste, supe que eras para mí
From that day on which you left, I knew you were for me
Caption 1, Andy Andy - Maldito Amor

That's all for now. But before we leave, a short exercise for you: Write 10 sentences in simple past with the verb ser and 10 sentences with the verb ir. And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions to

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The Spanish Verb Decir

The verb decir (to say, to tell) is very common in Spanish. Let’s learn how to use it.
One of the most commonly used forms of this verb is digo (I say):

Pero si yo digo: yo voy en el coche y tú vas en el autobús. 
But if I say: I'm going in the car, and you are going on the bus.
Caption 46, Fundamentos del Español - 6 - Tú y Usted

The verb decir is frequently followed by the word que (that):

Yo digo que la fruta es para comerla no para hacerse una fotografía con ella.
I say that fruit is to eat it not to take a picture with it.
Caption 48, Los Reporteros - Sembrar, comer, tirar - Part 2

Also remember that in Spanish you don't always need to use personal pronouns before verbs, since these are conjugated differently for each person:

Pues entonces rejuvenece coger castañas. -Digo que sí.
Well then, it rejuvenates to pick chestnuts. -I say so.
Caption 19, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 4

Another common instance of the verb decir is dice (he/she/it says). The reason why dice is very useful is because it helps us talk about what we read or hear. For example:
Hay un letrero en la puerta que dice que ya está cerrado | There's a sign on the door sayingit's closed already.
El mensaje dice que viene una gran tormenta | The message says a big storm is coming.
Mayra dice que te tienes que ir | Mayra says you have to go.
We mentioned before that it’s very common to omit personal pronouns before verbs in Spanish. But you will find that the verb decir is frequently preceded by reflexive, direct, or indirect object pronouns (me, te, se, nos, os, le, les, la, las, lo) depending on what is being said and to whom. For example:

¿Quién nos dice que la vida nos dará el tiempo necesario?
Who says [to us] that life will give us the necessary time?
Caption 19, Julieta Venegas - El Presente
Supongamos que un amigo me dice lo siguiente:
Let's imagine that a friend tells me the following:
Caption 44, Carlos explica - Diminutivos y Aumentativos Parte 2

It's also important to remember how pronouns are combined when using this verb. You must place reflexive or indirect object pronouns first, and then direct object pronouns right next to the verb. In the following example te replaces an indirect object (you) and lo (it) replaces a direct object:

Te lo digo de corazón.
 I tell [it to] you from the heart.
Caption 25, Documental de Alejandro Fernandez - Viento A Favor

The past tense dijo (he/she/it said) is another useful form of this verb. For example, you can use it to talk about what someone told you in the past. The expression me lo dijo (he/she/it told it to me) is worth learning:

¡Es verdad, pana, mi hermano me lo dijo!
It's true, pal, my brother told it to me!
Caption 45, NPS No puede ser - 1 - El concurso - Part 3

No le digas (don’t tell him/her) and no me digas (don’t tell me) are  also useful:

¡No le digas, Candelario!
Don’t tell him, Candelario!
Caption 14, Guillermina y Candelario - La isla de las serpientes

Another fixed expression is se dice (it's said, one says), which is equivalent to dice la gente(people say):

Bueno y se dice que la mujer tiene un sexto sentido.
Well, and one says that a woman has a sixth sense.
Caption 48, El Ausente - Acto 2 - Part 3

The same phrase, se dice, can also be used to talk about the correct pronunciation of a word, or its meaning in a different language. For example:
Buenos días se dice "bonjour" en Francés | "Bonjour" is good morning in French.
No se dice "soy contento", se dice "estoy contento" | You don't say "soy contento," you say "estoy contento" (I'm happy).
You can find many more examples of the verb decir in our catalog. You just need to type the form of the verb that you want to practice in the search tool to start learning real Spanish from real speakers in real situations!

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The Verb Llevar

The Spanish verb llevar has many different meanings. It's also used in many idiomatic phrases. Let's study some examples since this is a very popular and useful verb.
The basic meanings of llevar is "to carry " or "to take": 
Tengo que llevar a mi hijo al doctor - I have to take my kid to the doctor.
Ella lleva una carga muy pesada - She carries a very heavy burden.
Sometimes the verb llevar translates as "to bring": 
No [te] olvides [de] llevar un regalo a la fiesta de Lucía / Don't forget to bring a gift to Lucia's party.
This can be a little confusing for English speakers, since traer and llevar actually mean opposite things in Spanish. The verb traer involves carrying something to the speaker's location, while llevar means to carry something from the speaker's location to a different place. So, to use the same example, if you are already at Lucía's party or, let's say, she is your roomie, you must say: No [te] olvides [de] traer un regalo a la fiesta de Lucía (Don't forget to bring a gift to Lucia's party).
But the verb llevar has many other interesting uses. For example, it's used to express the idea of having been doing something for a period of time. In this case, it's very common to combine llevar with the preposition ya (already):

Yo ya llevo veintitrés años aquí ya.
have already been here for twenty-three years now.
Caption 64, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 18

Llevar can also be used to express duration. This is easy to learn since English also uses "to take" for the same purpose:

tenemos que teñirlo, esto pues, nos lleva un ratito,
we have to dye it, this well, it takes us a little while,
Caption 68, Animales en familia - Un día en Bioparc: Microchip para Nacahué

As you can see, this use of llevar frequently involves using reflexive pronouns. But you don't always need them. Compare, for example: 
Hacer la tarea lleva mucho tiempo / Doing homework takes a lot of time.
Hacer la tarea me lleva mucho tiempo / Doing homework takes me a lot of time.
Llevar also means"to wear":

¿Por qué lleváis guantes?
Why do you wear gloves?
Caption 46, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 5

By the way, the verb traer (to bring) is sometimes used the same way:

...por eso traen pantalones.
…that's why they wear pants.
Caption 48, El Ausente - Acto 2 - Part 3

And the verb llevar also means "to lead." For example: ¿Llevas una vida saludable? (Do youlead a healthy life?). 
Finally, there's an expression used in Mexico that derives from this last meaning: ahí la llevas. It literally means something like "there, you are leading it" but it means that the person speaking is telling you that you are doing your work well. It's very common to use this expression as an ironic remark that means exactly the opposite, so be careful: 
No te rindas, hijo. Ahí la llevas. / Don't give up, son. You are doing well.
¿Otra vez borracho? Bueno, tú síguele. Ahí la llevas. / Drunk again? Well, keep going. You are on the right track... not.

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Ser vs Estar - Subjunctive Sea and Esté

Let's continue our series on the use of the verbs ser and estar, now focusing on some examples using the subjunctive to express wishes, or to refer to hypothetical situations. The present subjunctive for the first person singular yo (I) is esté for the verb estar and sea for the verb ser. Here're some examples of first person singular sea and esté:

Mamá quiere que [yo] sea doctor  / Mom wants me to be a doctor.
Mi hermana piensa que es mejor que [yo] sea dentista / My sister thinks it's best for me to be a dentist.

Lola me pide que [yo] esté tranquilo / Lola asks me to be calm.
Imagino que es mejor que no [yo] esté preocupado / I imagine it's better for me not to beworried.

Note that it's very common to use the pronoun que (that) before the subjunctive. In fact, some Spanish speakers learn to conjugate the subjunctive altogether with this pronoun, like: que yo sea, que tú seas, etc. or que yo estéque tú estés, etc. to differentiate it from the indicative.

The forms sea and esté are also used for the third person singular, which is very convenient since you can use it to talk about wishes or hypothetical situations pertaining to other people, things, and ideas. For example:

Entonces, para que sea una sorpresa también.
So, for it to be a surprise also.
Caption 7, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 10
Quiero comprar un barco que sea capaz de... de hacer travesías largas.
I want to buy a boat that is capable of... de hacer travesías largas.
Caption 72, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 20

Y que ya no sea Belanova el grupo de bajo, computadora y voz.
So that Belanova won't be the group of the bass, computer and voice any longer.
Caption 13, Belanova - Entrevista - Part 4

And with esté:

Ya la llamaremos cuando la doctora esté disponible.
We'll call you when the doctor is available.
Caption 42, Cita médica - La cita médica de Cleer

Son tres modos que se usan para pedirle a alguien que esté alerta.
There are three ways that are used to ask someone to be alert.
Caption 27, Carlos comenta - Confidencial - Vocabulario y expresiones
Para que la aceituna esté en condiciones para envasar el lunes.
So that the olives are in condition for packing on Monday.
Caption 35, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 19
Finally, there's a very common and useful expression that uses sea: o sea, which is used to clarify or explain something. This expression translates as "in other words," "meaning," and other similar phrases.

O sea, que te vas a quedar sin marido durante tres meses.
In other words, you are going to be without a husband for three months.
Caption 27, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 3

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Ser vs Estar - Yo Soy

Let's continue our series on the use of the verbs ser and estar, now focusing on how you can use soy (“I'm”—the first-person singular form of ser in the present tense) to talk about yourself.
The present tense of the verb ser (to be) is soy. You can use it combined with an adjective (or a participiothe -ado, -ido, -to, -so, -cho endings and their feminine and plural forms, used as an adjective) to express an intrinsic characteristic or status, a permanent state of mind, body, or soul.
For starters, you can use it to introduce yourself:
Soy Paco, de 75 Minutos. -Hola.
I'm Paco, from 75 Minutos. -Hola.
Caption 7, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 4
You can also use soy to talk about your occupation, career, etc.
Yo soy guardia civil.
I am a Civil Guard.
Caption 33, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 12
And you can use soy to talk about your personality, preferences, nationality, beliefs or affiliations. For example: Yo soy musulmán (I'm muslim), soy miembro del partido (|'m a member of the party), soy tu hada madrina (I'm your fairy godmother).
Soy buena clienta, sí. La verdad que sí.
I am a good customer, yes. I truly am.
Caption 2, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 7
Yo soy bastante escrupulosa y no me da nada.
I am pretty fussy and it doesn't bother me at all.
Caption 21, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 7
The verb soy can also be used to talk about a role, status, function, etc:
Tú eres testigo. -Yo soy testigo. -Tú eres testigo.
You're a witness. -I'm a witness. -You're a witness.
Caption 81, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 11
We mentioned, in our previous lesson on the subject, that estoy can also be used to talk about roles when combined with the preposition de, so saying yo estoy de testigo is also correct. There are subtle differences, though, which sometimes get lost in translation:
Yo soy testigo - I'm a witness
Yo estoy de testigo - I'm (working as) a witness
It's perhaps at this point, when these verbs are combined with adjectives (or participios used as adjectives), that English speakers get the most confused about the difference between soyand estoy. It gets even more confusing because in many cases it may seem Spanish speakers use both verbs indistinctly. Here are some examples:
Yo soy casado - I'm (a) married (person).
Yo estoy casado - I'm married.
Yo soy gordo - I'm (a) fat (person).
Yo estoy gordo - I'm fat.
Yo soy pequeña - I'm (a) small (person).
Yo estoy pequeña - I'm small.
Sometimes, however, it's impossible to use them indistinctly. It happens more frequently when the verbs are combined with participios (-ado, -ido, -to, -so, -cho endings), which take estar much more easily than ser:
Yo estoy devastado - I'm devastated.
*Yo soy devastado - Incorrect, don't use it.
Yo estoy cansado - I'm tired.
*Yo soy cansado - Incorrect, don't use it.
Yo estoy herido - I'm wounded.
*Yo soy herido - Incorrect, don't use it.
Yo estoy muerto - I'm dead.
*Yo soy muerto - Incorrect, don't use it.
*It's interesting how this may be different while using other modes or tenses. For example both yo estuve herido and yo fui herido (I was wounded) are possible, given the right context. However, fui herido is actually far more common than yo estuve herido, which would need a special context to make proper sense, for example: Yo estuve herido sin recibir ayuda por 10 horas (I was wounded without receiving any help for 10 hours).
The verb soy is also frequently combined with prepositions. For example, when combined with the preposition de, the verb soy indicates origin. So, besides soy mexicano (I'm Mexican) you can also say soy de México (I'm from Mexico).
Typically, the verb soy is followed by articles, but estoy doesn't take articles. Compare these:
Soy el mejor (I'm the best), soy mejor (I'm better), and estoy mejor (I feel better) are correct, but never say estoy el mejor. 
Soy tu padre (I'm your father), soy padre (I'm a father / also "I'm a nice person") and even estoy padre (I feel or look good) are correct, but you can't say estoy el padre.
Soy buena (I'm good), soy la buena (I'm the good one), estoy buena (I'm hot, good looking) are correct, but never say estoy la buena.
The same happens with pronouns. You won't find a pronoun naturally following the verb estar, except, maybe, when you want to reiterate the subject and change the natural order of words (hyperbaton) for emphatic or stylistic purposes: estoy yo tan triste (me, I feel so sad)Normally, you'd say estoy tan triste (I feel so sad)This could also be done with ser: soy yo tan triste (me, I'm such a sad person).  But again, normally you'd just say soy tan triste (I'm such a sad person).
There are many other ways in which you can use the verb soy; these are just some of the most common ones. 

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Ser vs Estar - Yo estoy

How much you learn about the proper use of ser and estar (both meaning "to be") depends on your exposure to how real Spanish is spoken by real people. This lesson focuses on how a person can use estoy (“I'm” —the first-person singular form of estar in the present tense) to talk about himself or herself.
The present tense of the verb estar (to be) is estoy. You can use it combined with an adjective (or a participiothe -ado, -ido, -to, -so, -cho endings and their feminine and plural forms, used as an adjective) to express your current state of mind, body, or soul:

Yo estoy listo ya... ¿Dónde está el perro?
I'm ready now... Where's the dog?
Caption 108, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 5

It's very common, for example, to use estar to talk about emotions, convictions, and beliefs:

Bueno, pero estoy muy contenta.
Well, but I am very happy.
Caption 12, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 6
Yo creo que sí. -Estoy convencido que poco a poco vamos a... a buscar alternativas.
I think so. -I am convinced that little by little we are going to... to look for alternatives.
Caption 75-76, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 5

You can use any other regular adjective as well. Some examples are below:
Estoy limpio - I'm clean.
Estoy enferma - I'm sick.
Estoy sola - I'm lonely.
At this point it's useful to compare the possible meaning of similar phrases using ser instead of estar. Note how, by using ser instead of estar, the adjective becomes an intrinsic characteristic of the subject:
Soy limpio - I'm a clean person.
Soy enferma - Incorrect, it’s better to say soy una persona enferma "I'm a sick person," or even just estoy enferma (I’m sick), because this phrase can also mean “I’m a sick person” given the appropriate context.
Soy sola - Incorrect, it’s better to say soy una persona solitaria (I'm a lonely person).
You can combine estoy with the gerundio (-ando / -endo / -iendo endings) to talk about your actions, about what you are doing. The combination with haciendo, the gerundio of the verb hacer (to do) is very common:

Yo estoy haciendo el control de calidad del producto.
I'm doing the quality control of the product.
Caption 4, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 20

But you can combine estoy with any other gerundio, for example cogiendo, the gerundio of coger (to grab, to pick):

Hasta que no palme estoy cogiendo castañas.
As long as I don't croak, I'm picking chestnuts.
Caption 6, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 5

You can use estoy with a complement that denotes space to specify your location. The combination with an adverb of place is common:

Por eso estoy aquí, porque me han dicho...
That's why I am here because they have told me...
Caption 85, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 15

And also with the preposition en (in):

Eh, ahora mismo estoy en Málaga, estoy de vacaciones.
Right now I am in Malaga, I am on vacation.
Caption 2, Arume - Málaga, España

The verb estoy can also be combined with certain prepositions to express a wide array of ideas. For example, you can use it with the preposition de to talk about your role or position in a certain context:

Eh, y... estoy de acuerdo con, con Denisse ahí.
Uh, and... I agree (literally, "I'm in accord") with, with Denisse there.
Caption 24, Belanova - Entrevista - Part 3
No, luego, cuando acaba la campaña estoy de camarero.
No, after, once the season ends, I work as a waiter.
Caption 61, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 13
Eh, ahora mismo estoy en Málaga, estoy de vacaciones.
Right now I am in Malaga, I am on vacation.
Caption 2, Arume - Málaga, España

You can combine the verb estoy with the preposition por  and a verb in infinitive (-er, -ar, -irendings) to talk about what you are about to do:
Estoy por ganar el juego de scrabble. 
I'm about to win the Scrabble match.
Estoy por terminar. Espérenme, por favor.
I'm about to finish. Please, wait for me.
You can use estar and the preposition para to talk about purpose, function, etc.
Aquí estoy para servir
I'm here to serve.
Here's an interesting example from our catalog of videos:

estoy para dirigir cine tal vez.
or maybe, I'm suited to direct a movie.
Caption 68, Arturo Vega - Entrevista

There are many other ways in which you can use the verb estoy; these are just some of the most common ones. For now, we recommend you practice these expressions, maybe try transforming them into the past or future tenses!  Our next lesson in this series will focus on how soy (the first-person singular form of ser in the present tense) can be used to talk about oneself.

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The Spanish Verb asistir

The Spanish verb asistir (to be present, to attend) has many different meanings depending on the context. Let's learn how to use this interesting verb.
The verb asistir derives from the latin assistĕre, which literally means "to stop next to," and that’s the basic meaning of this verb:


Para asistir a una reunión de trabajo.
To attend a business meeting.
Caption 4, Raquel - La Compra de un Billete de Tren

This verb is always accompanied by the preposition a. Here's another example using a conjugated form of the verb:


Así que, por primera vez en Animales en familia, asistimos a una doble cirugía.
So, for the first time on "Animales en familia," we witness a double surgery.
Caption 9, Animales en familia - La operación de Yaki

As you can see in the example above, the verb asistir may have different translations. The following example uses the imperative form of the verb:


So, don't stop educating yourself. Lee libros, asiste a seminarios.
So, don't stop educating yourself. Read books, go to seminars.
Caption 60, Raquel y Marisa - Español Para Negocios - Crear una empresa

In certain contexts the verb asistir means "to attend to," in which case it's very common to use the passive voice. The passive voice uses the participle asistido and the preposition por(by), as you can see in the following example:


La enfermera asiste al paciente / El paciente es asistido por la enfermera.
The nurse attends to the patient / The patient is attended by the nurse.

Additionally, asistir also means "to give help or assistance":


El principal rol de un asistente quirúrgico es asistir al cirujano durante una operación.
The primary role of a surgical assistant is to assist the surgeon during an operation.

As in English, the verb asistir is also used in sports to describe the act of enabling another player making a good play:


¡Messi asistió a Suárez sin siquiera tocar la pelota!
Messi assisted Suarez without even touching the ball!

Finally the verb asistir is used to express the idea of reason or law being on somebody's side:


Al demandate le asiste el derecho y la razón
The plaintiff has the law and reason on his side.

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The Verb Atender

The Spanish verb atender ("to serve," "to see to," "to attend to," among other uses) is a common source of confusion since it doesn't always mean what it sounds like it should to English speakers. Let's see some examples.
The verb atender meaning “to serve” or “to attend” can be very useful in any context that involves providing or receiving a service:

Quisiera saber si la doctora Castaño me podría atender hoy.
I would like to know if Doctor Castaño could see me today.
Caption 9, Cita médica - La cita médica de Cleer

Most of the time this verb is accompanied by the preposition a, but not always. In the following example, the preposition a was omitted:

Por el momento ustedes se pueden ir un rato a hablar con sus amigos, a atender [a] la visita...
For the moment you can go for a while to talk with your friends, to serve your guests...
Caption 40, Cocinando con Miguelito - Pollo sudado

This can be done because the expression la visita is depersonalized. But it's very different when the object of the verb atender is an individual or group of individuals, in which case you must always use the preposition a:

Mi ocupación es atender a la gente.
My job is to serve people.
Caption 67, Perdidos en la Patagonia - El Aeropuerto - La Sala de Esperas

The omission of the preposition a occurs more frequently when the verb atender means "to respond to," "to meet," "to answer to," or "to look after" something. For example:

Por ahí lo llamo, se da cuenta que soy yo, no atiende el teléfono.
I might call him, he realizes that it's me, he doesn't answer the phone.
Caption 47, Yago - 10 Enfrentamientos - Part 6
Y de pronto los que atienden [un] negocio...
And suddenly those who look after a business...
Caption 10, Festivaliando - Mono Núñez - Part 12

You always need to use the preposition a before atender when it means "to pay attention.” In the following example, Raquel uses the contraction al (a + el):

No tendrás dudas si atiendes al contexto de lo que se dice.
You will have no doubt if you pay attention to the context of what is said.
Caption 14, Raquel - Diminutivos y aumentativos

The verb atender is also frequently combined with personal pronouns (used instead of direct and indirect objects):

Voy a tratar de dejarme que me atiendan, que me hagan lo que necesite.
I am going to try to let them take care of me, do to me whatever I need.
Caption 23, Transformación - Estética

It's also common to reiterate the object of the verb in these expressions, even when a pronoun has already been used. For example, it's not incorrect to say dejar que me atiendan a mí (let them take care of me). Saying Es mejor que el doctor la atienda a ella primero is as correct as saying Es mejor que el doctor la atienda primero (It's better if the doctor sees her first). Here's an interesting example:

No sé, como nervios [de] que lo atiendan a uno y sentirse tan bien atendido.
I don't know, like nerves that one is taken care of and to feel so well taken care of.
Caption 20, Transformación - Estética

¡Gracias por atender a esta lección!

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