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8. Apply verb first aid.

If you don’t know how to conjugate the verb, go ahead and use the present tense or even the infinitive of the verb, as we just did with “trabajar.”

For the past, use a past word like “ayer” or the idiom that means “ago, “ which is “hace” plus a time period. “Ten years ago” would be “Hace diez años.”


For the future, use “voy a” plus a verb in the infinitive. It means “I’m going to…. “ “I’m going to study” would be “Voy a estudiar.”


Don’t let verbs intimidate you into refusing to use your Spanish. Do what you can with what you know and make your meaning clear in another way besides conjugation. But do enrich your vocabulary by learning many verbs in the infinitive form.

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53. Take heart from other mediocre linguists.

It's fun to read about other people's struggles with a second language. Fun, and somehow comforting. I just read Monsieur Mediocre, by John von Sothen, an American married to a French woman, living in

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