'They' and 'we' verb forms

Costa Levante News - - BASIC SPANISH - 'vive' 'viven' tiene' 'habla' 'tienen' 'hablan' 'nosotros'. noso­tras es­ta­mos noso­tras nosotros. Nosotros nosotros? noso­tras

We took a big step in our last les­son, be­cause we found out how to form sen­tences in the third per­son sin­gu­lar, that is 'he' or 'she' forms, and found that this re­ally wasn’t too painful! So we have ' (he/she has), (he/she lives) (he/she speaks) and so on.

I can now tell you some­thing else equally pain­less which I think will also have you jump­ing for joy. There is a tremen­dously sim­ple way of mak­ing these same sen­tences re­fer to 'they'. All you have to do is add one let­ter, this time the let­ter 'n' to the sin­gu­lar form. So there­fore we now have (they have) (they live) (they speak). `

As English speak­ers we nat­u­rally tend to think that an 's' should be in­volved in a plu­ral, but with verbs, this is not the case

We have ac­tu­ally dealt with four, out of the six, verb forms in the present tense. We haven’t ex­plained all the whys and where­fores in a lot of de­tail, but we have made some big strides as far as get­ting the gen­ eral gist is con­cerned. I find that many peo­ple at this stage are par­tic­u­larly keen to find out how to say 'we'.

Now this is slightly less straight­for­ward in that we can’t al­ways build it directly on to what we al­ready know. On the other hand, it is what a lot of peo­ple need, so I’ve de­cided to take an over­all look at it.

We re­fer to 'we' as 'first per­son plu­ral', in other words 'we' re­ally means more than one 'I'. (I wouldn’t think about this too deeply if I were you, just ac­cept it!)

Now let’s look at the ac­tual word that trans­lates 'we', in other words the plu­ral of yo. This word is It is a bit of a mouth­ful I’m afraid, so I do apol­o­gise on be­half of the Span­ish lan­guage, but it isn’t ac­tu­ally dif­fi­cult to pro­nounce or any­thing. But that is not all! Nosotros has a fem­i­nine form which is noso­tras.

We use nosotros when the 'we' are all male or male and fe­male mixed, whereas we use only when all the mem­bers of 'we' are fe­male. This means that men never use the word (just think about that one) and if you are het­ero­sex­ual cou­ple talk­ing about your­selves you also will al­ways use So would all male gay cou­ples – I’m not sure why I’m go­ing down this road – let’s get back to the Span­ish.

Some­thing else we can rely on (and let’s face it, you can’t rely on much in this world) is that in the present tense all 'we' verb forms end in ' ­mos'. Time for some ex­am­ples which will hope­fully put us all out of our mis­ery. We have – ten­emos We want – quer­e­mos We live – vivi­mos We can ­ pode­mos We pre­fer ­ prefe­r­i­mos We go ­ vamos We speak ­ hablamos We are ­ so­mos (who, what)

(how, where) I know that these are just a few ex­am­ples, but they give us a clue of the thou­sand more that ex­ist, so I hope they are enough to be go­ing on with.

So fi­nally, just to get this back into fo­cus and in the un­ likely event that I might have con­fused you – how does this fit in with the word

and are what we call per­sonal sub­ject pro­nouns and be­have in ex­actly the same way as yo, tú, él and ella (I, you, he and she), that is, they are ba­si­cally op­tional. They are used to be em­phatic or ex­press a con­trast, but other­ wise are not es­sen­tial to a sen­tence.

How­ever, they are very use­ful words for lan­guage learn­ers be­cause on the spur of the mo­ment you might re­mem­ber the cor­rect verb form, but you can al­ways make sure they know who you mean by point­ing to your­self and your com­pan­ion and say­ing “we”! .

Noso­tras nos reí­mos

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