In Portuguese, verbs are conjugated according to their endings. Consequently, there are three different ways of conjugating them. Let me clarify it for you:
- The first form or conjugation includes all regular verbs ending in –ar,
- The second conjugation includes all regular verbs ending in –er,
- And the third conjugation includes all regular verbs ending in –ir.
As in any other language, there are also irregular verbs in Portuguese which are not included in those three ways of conjugating verbs.
To conjugate a verb in Portuguese in the present tense, you take the verb, separate the stem (take out its ending –ar, er, ir), then, you add the endings which are specific for this tense.
Verbs Ending in –AR or First Conjugation:
For the verbs ending in –ar, you add the following endings to their stem – o, as, a, amos, ais, am.
Examples : Verb – amar, stem – am; Verb – cantar, stem – cant; Verb – falar, stem – fal
- Present of amar (love): amo, amas, ama, amamos, amais, amam
- Present of cantar (sing): canto, cantas, canta, cantamos, cantais, cantam
- Present of falar (speak): falo, falas, fala, falamos, falais, falam
Verbs Ending in –ER or Second Conjugation:
For the verbs ending in -er in the present tense, you add the following endings to their stem – o, es, e, emos, eis, em.
Examples: Verb – comer, stem – com; Verb – viver, stem – viv; Verb – temer, stem – tem
- Present of comer (eat): como, comes, come, comemos, comeis, comem
- Present of viver (live): vivo, vives, vive, vivemos, viveis, vivem
- Present of temer (fear): temo, temes, teme, tememos, temeis, temem
Verbs Ending in –IR or Third Conjugation:
To conjugate the verbs in –ir in the present tense you add the following endings to their stem: o, es, e, imos, is, em.
Examples: Verb – partir, stem – part; verb – insistir, stem – insist; verb – cumprir, stem – cumpr
- Present of partir (leave): parto, partes, parte, partimos, partis, partem
- Present of insistir(insist): insisto, insistes, insiste, insistimos, insistis, insistem
- Present of cumprir (fulfill): cumpro, cumpres, cumpre, cumprimos, cumpris, cumprem
Obviously irregular verbs are called that because they are different from the other verbs; they do not follow the same form of conjugation as the regular verbs. They have their own special way of conjugating. We have already seen two of those verbs – Ser and Estar – which mean to be in English. However, we are not going to get into other special verb conjugations at this time. Looking Ser and Estar, you may notice some similarities between the irregular and regular conjugations. However, it’s better to study each irregular verb separately as you encounter them in your learning journey.
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