If you have never been to Argentina, chances are you have never even heard of the vos form. It is not to be confused with the vosotros form, which is native to Spain and also frequently ignored in the classroom. The vos form is native to Argentina and is interchangeable with tú.
While Argentinians will understand any use of tú and tú form conjugations, you will rarely hear them use either. For Argentinians, it is all about the vos. Luckily, the conjugations for vos are only different in two tenses: present and commands.
How to Conjugate the Vos Form: VOS Present tense
To conjugate in the vos form in present tense, you simply change the “r” at the end of the verb to an “s” and put the accent on the last syllable.
Verbs ending in -AR | hablar: Vos hablás (you speak)
Verbs ending in -ER | saber: Vos sabés (you know)
Verbs ending in -IR | escribir: Vos escribís (you write)
It is important to note that there are no stem changers in the vos form. Pretty sweet, right?
querer (you want)
Vos querés | tú form: quieres
tener (you have)
Vos tenés | tú form: tienes)
entender (you understand)
Vos entendés | tú form: entiendes
How to Conjugate the Vos Form: Commands
Before you shun the idea of learning yet another form of commands, let me just tell you that vos forms are way simpler than tú and usted commands. To form a vos command, you just drop the “r” from the end of the verb and put the accent on the last syllable. It's that simple!
comer: comé (eat)
llamar: llamá (call)
vivir: viví (live)
You want some more good news? There are no irregulars!
venir: vení – come (irregular tú form: ven)
tener: tené – have (irregular tú form: ten)
hacer: hacé – do (irregular tú form: haz)
salir: salí – get out/go out (irregular tú form: sal)
When I first came to Argentina, I wanted to stay stubborn and only use the tú form, but the vos form has really won me over due to its simplicity and, honestly, in Argentina, there is no escaping it.
There is only one tricky command in the vos form. Because “ir” would not work in this format, you must replace it with the synonym verb andar, the command is “andá”
And that's it! Memorize these rules and you are well on your way to speaking like an Argentine.
Check out these other Argentina Spanish Slang Expressions articles.
Photo credit: Buenos Aires Tango by briandeadly via flickr