When I was studying, I came across this issue that bugged me. In many sentences, a verb after a verb won't be conjugated(amos, ías, an, etc.) Here is an example:

"pretendía estar dormido"

Why isn't estar conjugated? Shouldn't it be conjugated to estuve/estaba? If you can, please explain when I should conjugate / NOT conjugate verbs. Thanks for your help and feedback.


1 Answer 1


In verb phrases formed by a main verb and an infinitive and/or a verb ending in -ando/-endo (present participle), only the main verb is tensed and conjugated.

The only case I can think of where a conjugated verb can be followed by another conjugated verb is that of both verbs referring to different grammatical persons, with the second verb belonging to a content (noun) clause having a tacit conjunction "que" (that). This structure is rather formal or literary and should always be avoided in everyday speech:

  • Hablaba sobre cómo imaginaba (que) sería su vida. (He spoke about what he imagined his life would be like.)

The only circumstance where this structure is more usual occurs when the content clause is embedded within a relative clause (in which case there is a relative "que" and the conjunction "que" continues to be omitted). This phenomenon also occurs in English:

  • Tenía una vida que siempre imaginaba (que) sería distinta. (He had a life he always imagined would be different.)

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