25+ Common Spanish Verbs for High School Students
If you have teenagers or teach them, you know the adolescent world is complex and interesting! While they bring a lot of energy and new ideas to the table, it can sometimes be hard to pique teens’ interest with “boring” topics like Spanish verb conjugations. However, if your lesson includes the following 32 Spanish verbs, dull grammar lessons will become more interesting for them!
How to Teach Spanish Verbs to High Schoolers
We have a pretty long list of verbs to look at, so it is up to you as the parent or teacher to consider how to include them in your Spanish classes. You can introduce them in the sections presented, pick a couple to add to your lessons or focus completely on the verbs listed for a couple of weeks. Do what works best for you!
Teaching Spanish Verbs in General
If you don’t want to get into the numerous conjugations just yet with your high schooler, you can still introduce them to these Spanish verbs in a more general way. One method of doing this is teaching the infinitive form and one useful additional tense. My personal favorite is the future form with ir.
Vamos a pasear.
Vamos a estudiar.
Vamos a comer.
Using this form only requires the use of the infinitive verb after the common word vamos and the word a. This can be translated as “we are going to …” or “let’s …” This tense is the perfect setup for using the verb in general speech because you can say the phrase as a way to get everyone involved in an activity. You can also practice using the infinitive forms in a natural way with these phrases.
If your high school students are not beginner Spanish students or you are looking to add just a couple of these verbs to your existing Spanish lesson, introduce the infinitive form and whatever tense you are currently teaching. Because these Spanish verbs are so practical in a high schooler’s life, you can encourage conversation about their lives and experiences using the verbs and correct conjugations.
Let’s Hang Out!
|Pasar el rato||To hang out||¿Quieres pasar el rato? – Do you want to hang out?|
|Pasear||To go for a walk, ride||Vamos a pasear en el parque. – We’re going for a walk in the park.|
|Divertirse||To have fun||¿Te divertiste en la fiesta? – Did you have fun at the party?|
|Disfrutar||To enjoy||Disfruto mucho jugar baloncesto. – I really enjoy playing basketball.|
|Ver||To see, to watch||¿Quieres ver una película? – Do you want to watch a movie?|
|Mirar||To look, to look at||¡Mira esto! – Look at this!|
|Comprar||To buy||¿Qué compraste? – What did you buy?|
|Comer||To eat||¿Ya comiste? – Did you eat already?|
|Dormir||To sleep||Me encanta dormir. – I love sleeping.|
Ver vs. Mirar
When you introduce two words that can be easily confused, it’s important to present sufficient examples. This way, your students will become familiar with the usage of the Spanish verbs.
Look at that. – Mira eso
Look at me. – Mírame.
Watch a movie. – Ver una película.
Look, I’m not sure. – Mira, no estoy seguro.
Did you see that? – ¿Viste eso?
Do you see? – ¿Ves?
Divertirse vs. Disfrutar
Divertirse and disfrutar are two Spanish verbs that talk about having a good time—and both start with the letter D, which can make them a bit confusing. If that wasn’t enough, only one is a reflexive verb: divertirse.
While saying me divertí mucho is correct, you cannot say me disfruté mucho.
To avoid any confusion while teaching these verbs, teach the conjugations of divertirse with the reflexive pronouns (i.e., me divierto, te diviertes, etc.) so your students memorize the correct form. Likewise, present disfrutar separately with the normal conjugations (no reflexive pronouns).
Pasar y Pasear
While these two Spanish verbs look similar, they have distinct uses. Pasear is a fun Spanish verb that means “to walk/drive/ride around with no particular destination.” It can be confused with “to hang out,” but it doesn’t really mean the same thing as it connotates movement.
“Hang out” is best translated to pasar el rato, or “to pass a bit of time.” However, there are numerous possible translations for this phrase, such as pasar el tiempo, relajarse, andar, and esperar.
School and Beyond
|Planear||To plan||¿Qué planeas hacer este verano? – What are you planning to do this summer?|
|Soñar||To dream||Sueño con tener un buen trabajo. – I deam of having a good job.|
|Estudiar||To study||Tengo que estudiar. – I have to study.|
|Desvelarse||To stay up all night||Me desvelé anoche por estudiar. – I stayed up all night to study.|
|Marcar||To score||Nuestro equipo marcó un gol. – Our team scored a goal.|
|Jugar||To play||Juego en el equipo de fútbol. – I play on the soccer team.|
|Trabajar||To work||¿A qué hora vas a trabajar? – What time are you going to work?|
|Hacer la práctica||To intern||¿Dónde vas a hacer la práctica? – Whare are you going to intern?|
When you teach the Spanish verb, jugar, it is important to note that this verb is used for games and sports but not music. Some students may want to use jugar to express their hobby of playing a musical instrument, but that would be incorrect. If your students are interested in music and sports, it may be worthwhile to teach tocar along with jugar and explain how they both mean “to play” in different circumstances.
Desvelarse is a great teaching verb. Not only is it a prime example of words that only truly exist in one language, but it also is a reflexive verb.
Talk to your students about how to use desvelarse in situations where sleep was “taken away from them.” This verb can either be used to talk about staying up all night or even just a couple hours when they would rather have been sleeping.
Just like divertirse, this Spanish verb should not be taught without reflexive pronouns. Always make sure they are present in every example and conjugation to ensure your students learn it as a reflexive verb and remember the essential reflexive pronouns.
|Publicar||To post||¿Ya lo publicaste? – Did you post it already?|
|Grabar||To film||Grabamos un video. – Let’s film a video.|
|Tuitear||To tweet||¿Viste lo que tuiteó? – Did you see what he tweeted?|
|Chatear||To chat||Chateamos toda la noche. – We chatted all night.|
|Mensajear||To message||Mensajeamos pero no hablamos en persona. – We message but we don’t talk in person.|
|Enviar||To send||Te envío el enlace. – I’ll send you the link.|
|Tomar fotos||To take pictures||¡Tómame fotos! – Take pictures of me!|
When it comes to social media, Spanish-speaking countries have adopted a lot of americanismos, or words taken directly from American English, to express certain activities. Words like chatear and tuitear come directly from their English counterparts and are not necessarily official Spanish words.
If your students have Spanish-speaking friends or travel to Mexico or Central America, talk to them about these americanismos. While they do make it easier to understand spoken Spanish, they are not always examples of correct Spanish. Nevertheless, they are extremely popular, especially in countries close to the United States.
As you teach the word tomar, be careful of its other meanings: to take, to drink, and to drink alcohol. While this Spanish verb is incredibly common and harmless, it is often used to talk about alcoholic drinking. If you feel your students are mature enough to talk about that, you can include that translation in your lesson.
|Coquetear||To flirt||¿Será que está coqueteando conmigo? – Do you think he’s flirting with me?|
|Bailar||To dance||¡Vamos a bailar! – Let’s dance!|
|Molestar||To annoy||No, ella me molesta mucho. – No, she really annoys me.|
|Fregar||To bother||¡Deja de fregar, hombre! – Stop bothering me, man!|
|Salir||To go out, to date||¿Te gustaría salir conmigo? – Would you like to go out with me?|
|Invitar||To invite||Tranquilo, yo te invito. – Don’t worry about it, it’s my treat.|
|Gustar||To like||Ese chavo me gusta mucho. – I really like that boy.|
|Querer||To love||¡Te quiero mucho, amiga! – I love you so much, friend!|
Just like “to go out” has two meanings in English, salir can refer to literally going out and having fun or dating. You can teach both of these uses by explaining that salir con (“to go out with”) refers to dating, while other uses typically refer to the act of leaving.
Te invito is a common Spanish phrase, and can be translated to “my treat.” Basically, when someone “invites,” they are paying. However, that’s not the only use of the verb! It can also be used the same way as in English, as a way to invite people to events.
Gustar and Querer
High school relationships can be confusing, and luckily there are Spanish verbs to express each and every feeling. Gustar means “to like something” or “to like like someone. Be sure to make it clear to your students that if they ever say me gusta esa persona, they are not saying that they think that person is cool or nice, they are saying they have a crush on them. If you would like to include how to say someone is just nice and you like who they are, you can teach your students me cae bien.
Querer means “to love,” but not deep, romantic love. This Spanish verb is often used affectionately between friends (te quiero mucho) with absolutely no romantic implications, or between two people starting a relationship.
Spanish Verb Games
Just memorizing lists of verbs can be tedious and boring, so make learning fun for your students by including some Spanish verb games! Feel free to adapt these ideas to whatever best suits your class or children.
This Spanish version of Stop! is a fantastic way to review all types of vocabulary (not just verbs) and get your students thinking in Spanish. Give them certain categories like verbs, food, animals, etc. Then give them a letter and set a timer for 30 or 60 seconds. They must think of words that start with the given letter for each category in the timeframe.
Turn your classroom into a baseball field with this fun, interactive game. Set up four stations around the room in the shape of a diamond. Split the students into two teams and have them rotate who is “batting” and who is in the “outfield.”
When the batters come up to the “plate” (first station), ask them a Spanish verb question. This can be anything from conjugation to translation. If they get it correct, they advance to first base. As more people from their team get questions correct, they advance around the bases and score points by coming back to “home plate.” If they get the answer wrong, it counts as one out. If the fielding team can answer correctly, it counts as two outs. Once you get to three outs, the teams switch roles.
Divide your students into two teams and set up two stations at the whiteboard. Each station should have a marker and a bowl of questions (translations, conjugations, verb usage, etc.). When you say go, the first student from each team has to run up to the board and write the correct answer to a question they choose. The first team to finish wins—if all their answers are correct.
¡Vamos a empezar!
I bet you’re ready to get started teaching your high schoolers these fun Spanish verbs! If you would like some extra support or want your students to practice with native Spanish speakers, try a free trial class with Homeschool Spanish Academy! The teachers are certified and from Guatemala, so your students will be receiving live classes and conversation practice with pros! They also offer high school courses to receive credit if you are looking for something more structured. Try a class today and see how much it can improve your teenager’s Spanish.
Don’t forget to comment below with any questions or additional Spanish verbs you like to use with your students!
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