I know there are a ton of verb tenses. But what is the basic necessary grammar I would need to nail down to speak, write and understand Spanish fluently? I've got flashcards.

My list so far:

  1. Irregular tenses for all tenses
  2. Present Tense
  3. Subjunctive Tenses
  4. Gerund
  5. Past Participles
  6. Haber
  7. Pronouns and prepositions
  8. Conditionals
  9. Imperative
  10. Imperfect
  11. por vs para
  12. estar vs ser
  13. future
  14. preterite
  15. cual vs que
  • And don't forget to drop the subject!
    – Yay
    Feb 11, 2016 at 19:30

2 Answers 2


You forgot one important: pronoun se.

All the tenses are easy to learn but not easy to apply, specially when you're making a contrast like present perfect & past simple.

Remember that in English the tenses are not named the same. For instance present perfect = pretérito perfecto compuesto.

In order to have a good fluent Spanish, besides of the study of the basic tenses, you are required to dominate the subjuntive mood and the pronoun se, these two are very hard for learners.

  • You mean the reflexive? I know se is a vaguer pronoun, kind of like su. I know about it and have used it but have yet to do any specific studying of it. Feb 11, 2016 at 19:13
  • +1 The pronoun "se" is a key point in mastering Spanish. I agree it's not enough to memorise verb tenses; what is hard is to know when and how to apply them. Munchschair: the best resource for learning Spanish grammar is the RAE. Here you can see all the possibilities for the pronoun "se".
    – Yay
    Feb 11, 2016 at 19:20

I am assuming you already know the basics such as word order, gender, number, etc. Note that Spanish word order is not as strict as that of English (e.g. sometimes the subject of a verb is at the end of a sentence).


  • Make sure to know the personal "a" (i.e. Conocí a María = I met Mary).
  • If you plan on spending a lot of time speaking with Argentinians, learn the "vos" conjugations.
  • Learn the diminutive and augmentative suffixes (e.g. perro [dog] -> perrito [small dog]; bueno [good] -> buenísimo [very good]). At least in my experience, they are quite common, especially in informal speech.

Some advice:

It is important to be able to quickly conjugate verbs in any tense and mood. However, it is also important to be able to use the tenses and moods properly. Flashcards are good, but you need to make sure to speak, read, and write a lot. I am sure you didn't plan on only using cards, but too many people assume they will wait until they are fluent to do those things.

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