This course will become read-only in the near future. Tell us at if that is a problem.

Lesson 1.2 Subject pronouns, regular present tense verb conjugations, and ser / estar


Module 1 (20 minutes)

¡Hola de nuevo! Welcome back. I hope you enjoyed the first lesson and were able to upload your video introductions. You can see other students’ video introductions here:

Link to students’ Introductions (not yet active)

We’re going to learn a lot of new material today too, but before we jump into that, let me explain the review functionality built into Instreamia. When you click on the link below, you’ll be taken to the learn dashboard, where you can see videos you’re working on, and review exercises that you should do. At the bottom, you’ll see a cloud of words that you’re currently learning – and you can hover over them or click on them to see translations and information.

Instreamia Learning Dashboard

You can always get there from Instreamia just by clicking the back button in the top left from any video or assignment.

Every time you log back in, you should practice the concepts that need review. Go ahead and do this now if you haven’t already. Instreamia keeps track of every concept you’re learning, and it uses Spaced Repetition to make your time reviewing as effective as possible. A good starting point would be to review your pending items twice per week.

We also want to be sure you’re continuing to learn about introducing yourself and understanding others’ introductions. So, learn from these podcasts whose recordings have been made possible by the Open University.

Open University Introductions Podcast Open University Introductions Podcast I

Open University Introductions Podcast Open University Introductions Podcast II


Module 2 (30 minutes)

Now that you’ve learned pronunciation and practiced introducing yourself, we can move on to learning grammar principles. We’ll learn the subject pronouns and the structure for verb conjugation, as well as the rules for the present tense regular verbs. Watch this video explaining the subject pronouns, with these details:

  • The subject is the person or thing doing the action
  • In Spanish, using the subject is optional if it is previously introduced. (The subject pronoun is usually only used to emphasize the actor)
  • You can always infer the subject just by looking at a conjugated verb (we’ll practice in a bit)
  • Every verb in Spanish must be conjugated according to the person (1st, 2nd, or 3rd) and the number (plural or singular). Gender doesn’t matter.
This video will help solidify the concepts explained and how the tree chart relates to usage:

At this point, you should memorize these subject pronouns and their corresponding parts of the tree chart:
  • Singular: yo, tú, él ella usted
  • Plural: nosotros, vosotros, ellos ellas ustedes

Now it’s time to learn about verb conjugations. This video explains:

  • infinitive means the root word. In English, we would say “to talk” is the infinitive.
  • all infinitive verbs end in -ar, -er, or -ir
  • to conjugate, remove the last two letters and add the correct ending
  • Different tenses have different endings
  • Spanish has a lot of irregular conjugations, or spelling changes
Alright, now that you’ve learned how it works, it’s time to try it for yourself! This exercise will be easy if you memorize each of these endings:
  • -ar verbs (o, as, a / amos áis an)
  • -er verbs (o, es e / emos éis en)
  • -ir verbs (o, es, e / imos ís en)
During this, don’t worry about what they’re saying. Focus on picking out verbs and determining their subject.

Module 3 (40 minutes)

Great! I hope you’re starting to feel comfortable with subject pronouns. Let’s try conjugating a few verbs in the present tense now. Before you head back to Instreamia, check out this simple way to lookup the verb charts for any word:

Video explaining Spanish Verb Charts

Okay, now on to the next practice. During this exercise, You will choose the correct conjugation for the subject pronoun given in parentheses.  As you do the exercise, you’ll notice that for some verbs the spelling changes. For example, these verbs change to have a y at the end for the yo conjugation:

  • Ser -> soy
  • Ir -> voy
  • Estar -> estoy
Watch and learn from these three:

Shakira – Suerte
Josenid – Amor del colegio

Laura Pausini – Yo canto

What other spelling changes did you notice? Irregular verbs in Spanish happen to be some of the most important ones, so we’re going to discuss two of them now, and we’ll come back to more later on.

Module 4 (30 minutes)

Now we’re going to learn about two of the most important verbs in Spanish: Ser and Estar. They both mean to be, but their usage is varied – we’ll get to that in a minute. First, let’s take a look at the conjugations of the verb ser:

  • Singular (soy, eres, es)
  • Plural (somos, sois, son)
And the verb Estar:
  • Singular (estoy, estás, está)
  • Plural (estamos, estáis, están)
Great, now you’re ready to have a native speaker teach you about ser and estar – mostly through examples.

Module 5 (60 minutes)

You’re doing great. Now it’s time to drill some verbs in the present tense. Since you’re just getting started, this exercise will be all multiple choice. You’ll work on three skills this hour:

  • Listening (filling in the blank from listening)
  • Reading (Guessing the best translation for words)
  • Present Tense Conjugations (Guessing the correct subject pronoun and guessing the correct conjugation)

Here is the list of videos and exercises: (Again, you might not be able to understand all of what is going on)

Practice words from Yo Canto

Ricky Martin – Lo Mejor De Mi Vida Eres Tú

Practice words from Lo Mejor De Mi Vida…

Enrique Iglesias – Donde están corazon?

Selena Gomez & The Scene – Un Año Sin Lluvia


Module 6 (45 minutes)

If you haven’t already noticed, learning a new language is more than just learning what each word means, since no two languages have a word to word lineup. There are dozens of synonyms with different connotations in any language, and the way words are assembled vary from language to language. Another part of speech that has a lot of differences from English is the preposition. Prepositions link words together and form prepositional phrases. If you’re not too familiar with the concept, you might want to review it here.

Spanish has its own list of prepositions that don’t necessarily correlate to the best English translations for each. For example, en can sometimes mean in or it can mean on… It can even form parts of phrases where English would use at or there would be no preposition at all. Unfortunately, as with most concepts, there’s no silver bullet for using prepositions correctly in Spanish. It just takes a lot of practice, and you’ll eventually be able to feel what’s right. Mastering prepositions is a long road, but let’s get started by introducing a few.

Practice Prepositions: Recognition

Practice Prepositions: Production

Practice Prepositions from Lo mejor de mi vida…

Okay, now our native speaker is going to describe a few scenes, and she’ll use a bunch of prepositions.

Watch and Learn from Preposition Examples

Keep studying! Practice words from Preposition Examples

Now it’s your turn to try it out!To practice, describe this room. Here’s a cheat sheet to help you out.

Record your answers in your assignment workbook. (Participation points only)

Extra Mile (up to 10 points)

This time, the extra mile assignment is to write 4 sentences describing this scene using any of the concepts we learned today.   You’ll especially need to use both ser and estar.This photograph was taken in Costa Rica as well, in the town of Puntarenas during La Semana Santa, or holy week. If you’d like to use a different photo, that’s fine too!

Record your answers in your assignment workbook.

Record a video describing the scene to get an additional 5 points.

Task Discussion