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Present Participle

The present participle is an easy thing to know and remember. Basically, whenever you want to say that you or someone else is doing something, you use the present participle. For example, if you say "I am speaking" in English, then you would say "Estoy hablando" in Spanish. First, you must learn and memorize the conjugation of the verb estar. Estar means "to be." That's not the complete and total truth, but we'll leave it at that. First, here's the conjugation chart for estar.

Person Singular Plural
1st estoy estamos
2nd estás
3rd está están

The reason that estar is so important to learn is that it is necessary to express the participle both in the present and the past. In English, you would say, "I am talking." In Spanish, you would say something quite similar. Since the estar means "to be." Its conjugated forms mean "I am," "you are," "he is," and so on. So the way to say I am talking is to use the conjugated form of estar (estoy, in this case) and then slap the participle on the end of the sentence to make it whole. Now the only think you've to learn is how to make the participle. It's very easy. Here's a chart!

  1. Get a verb, any verb
  2. Take off the last two letters of it (i.e. the -ar, the -er, or the -ir)
  3. stick the ending that is outlined in this chart on the verb. Now you have a (verb)ing
  4. put the conjugated estar in front of it to form the sentence
  5. Now you can say I am (verb)ing or whatever it is you wanted to say

-ar Verbs -er Verbs -ir Verbs
-ando -iendo
hablar comer vivir
hablando comiendo viviendo

When used with the verb estar, these words and endings are able to express many different thing occuring in the present. Try a few.

Hopefully you have the idea about what's going on. If you still have trouble, I invite you to mail me at about it. If your email software will support it, please do not change the subject. If not, please put the subject "Help w/ Present Participle" in the subject header.


© 1997 joseph Holder