Decir Conjugation: Subjunctive & Imperfect

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  • 0:00 The Verb 'Decir'
  • 0:24 Imperfect Tense Conjugation
  • 1:09 Examples of Imperfect 'Decir'
  • 2:01 Subjunctive Tense Conjugation
  • 2:38 Examples in the Subjunctive
  • 3:52 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Elena Sacramento Lechado

Elena has a PhD in linguistics from University of La Laguna (Spain). Currently, she teaches Spanish as a foreign language and creates teaching resources.

In this lesson, we will learn how to use the Spanish verb ''decir'' ('to say, to tell') in daily life situations in the imperfect tense, and the subjunctive.

The Verb Decir

Say you want to share stories about your childhood with your Spanish-speaking friends. You'll need the verb decir, which means 'to say' or 'to tell' and its conjugation. Also, if you learn the subjunctive, you will be able to interact with other people in different conversations, in a more natural tone. Let's get started!

Imperfect Tense Conjugation

Even though decir is irregular in some verbal tenses, it follows the general rule in the imperfect. So we will only need to take its stem and add the corresponding endings depending on the person. It sounds easy, doesn't it?

Let's look at how it is conjugated in the imperfect:

Subject Pronouns Decir Conjugation: Imperfect Translation
yo decía I used to say
decías you used to say
él/ella/usted decía he/she/you formal used to say
nosotros/nosotras decíamos we used to say
vosotros/vosotras decíais you all used to say
ellos/ellas/ustedes decían they/you all formal used to say

Examples of Imperfect Decir

Ana is having a coffee with one of her friends, María, and they're remembering stories from their childhood. Ana says, Mi abuela siempre me decía: 'Al mal tiempo, buena cara,' which translates to: 'My granny used to say: 'Look on the bright side.'

María says, Mi hermano y yo decíamos mentiras a veces para no ir al colegio, which means 'My brother and I told lies sometimes not to go to school.' She continues, saying, Mis padres nos decían que si mentíamos nos crecería la nariz como a Pinocho; 'My parents used to tell us that if we lied, our nose would grow like Pinocchio's.'

Ana laughs, Siempre decía la verdad, which means 'I always told the truth.'

Subjunctive Tense Conjugation

Decir is a stem-changing verb in the present tense, so in order to form the subjunctive, we need to take the present stem 'dig-' and add the subjunctive endings. The resulting conjugations would sound like this:

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