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Learning all the different Spanish verb tenses is a really important part of the Spanish learning process. You need to practice regularly and revise the tenses in different ways (by speaking, writing, reading and listening) but there isn't really a quick solution to this. This article provides advice on how to get your head around Spanish verbs and some of my ways to remember those tricky tenses. The first important thing is to understand how exactly each individual verb tense is used. If you only understand how to conjugate the verb but don't know the context in which it is actually used, then it becomes pretty useless in reality. Learning the tense context is easy enough with the present tense but becomes a lot more difficult for example when choosing between the preterite and imperfect, or understanding the different triggers of the subjunctive. There are loads of resources to explain the use of different Spanish verb tenses online and Real Spanish and Study Spanish are two excellent places to start as a beginner. Even if it's difficult to get your head round to begin with, stick with it and revise the uses of tenses and trigger phrases just as much as the conjugations themselves. Next you need to actually learn the standard conjugations of each tense - the tense endings are generally the same if you split the verbs into -ar, -er and -ir and this includes the majority of irregulars. However you prefer to revise, spend a few minutes revising the endings for instance just by writing down regular verbs in all 6 persons of the verb. You should now know the context and how to conjugate regular verbs in whatever tense you are learning. The next step is to learn the stem changing verbs and other rules certain verbs follow - for instance jugar becomes juego in the 1st person present. Again grammar resources cover these verbs in depth but practice makes perfect - it might take some time to recognise these verbs naturally but by writing, reading, speaking and hearing them your brain will start to do so. Next it is important to learn those irregular verbs for each tense. Some tenses only have a few irregular verbs such as the imperfect however some are more difficult and have many irregulars. You have to learn these without any logical structure I'm afraid and again practice will help you recognise them without thinking. Finally the subjunctive is a slightly different tense in that you need to learn specific triggers. It is useful to learn the underlying rules but really there are probably a range of 40 different phrases triggering the Spanish subjunctive you will ever actually use. I have written a guide to these triggers on Ezine articles (Spanish Subjunctive Triggers) and I'd recommend learning and memorising these in whichever way suits you best.

In terms of practicing there are again many great resources - Study Spanish is a good free site for beginners as there are explanations, mini quizzes and full length sentence practice. This helps you to conjugate the verb according to context which is definitely the best way to learn. Verbarrator is also very useful - this programme conjugates any Spanish verb for you so once you understand the tense required it does the work for you and you avoid making mistakes. For more resources though try is a collection of the best free Spanish resources on the internet. If you're learning Spanish from beginner to advanced level we provide those websites to help improve grammar and vocab, reading and writing and even you're listening and speaking online.

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Spanish Verv Tenses