estar = to be

Estaba = I was
¿Estabas? = Were you?

Estoy = I am
¿Estás? = Are you?

Voy a estar = I’m going to be
¿Vas a estar? = Are you going to be?

tener = to have

Tenía = I had
¿Tenías? = Did you have?

Tengo = I have
¿Tienes? = Do you have?

Voy a tener = I’m going to have
¿Vas a tener? = Are you going to have?

ir = to go

Fui = I went
¿Fuiste? = Did you go?

Voy = I go/I’m going
¿Vas? = Do you go?/Are you going?

Voy a ir = I’m going to go
¿Vas a ir? = Are you going to go?

hacer = to do

Hice = I did
¿Hiciste? = Did you do?

Hago = I do
¿Haces? = Do you do?

Voy a hacer = I’m going to do
¿Vas a hacer? = Are you going to do?


¿Qué hiciste? = What did you do?
¿Qué estás haciendo? = What are you doing?
¿Qué vas a hacer? = What are you going to do?

ayer = yesterday
hoy = today
mañana = tomorrow

How many question and answers can you make with this?

Share with someone learning Spanish.


Grammatically, be able to talk about the past, present, and future. Learn the verbs and verb patterns that allow you to speak in those tenses, and focus on building real conversations with real people by forming questions and answers around those verbs. Don’t study a list of verbs, then a list of prepositions, and so on. Organize what you’re learning into 3 categories: past, present, and future.

Conversationally, be able to talk about the past, present, and future. Learn the words and phrases you need to talk about what really happened today, what’s going on right now, and what you’re doing tomorrow.

Grammatically: past, present, future
Conversationally: past, present, future


In your mind there is a box labeled “English”. If you speak another language too, then there is another box labeled “Spanish”, or whatever other language you speak.

You carry that box around with you, and it’s easy to carry everything that’s inside of it, because it’s all packed into that box.

When you speak that language, you open the box, and pull out the words and phrases you need to say what you want to say.

But those words and phrases are not randomly strewn about like a junk box, but rather they are organized in smaller boxes.

Within the main box, the next set of smaller boxes is labeled by topic, or situation. For example, there is a box labeled “greeting”, and one for “introductions”, and one for “weather”, and so on and so forth.

After opening the main box, you open a smaller box for the situation you are in, or the topic you’re speaking about.

Within each “Topic” box, there is a set of boxes that are each labeled with a verb. For example, in the “introductions” box there is the verb “I am”, and in the “weather” box there is the verb “it’s”.

And inside each “Verb” box, there is a set of boxes labeled with the vocabulary that completes the sentence that the verb box begins. Such as, “Tony”, and “from Chicago”, and “a teacher” — which are inside the “I am” verb box — and “warm”, “sunny”, and “nice out” — which are inside the “it’s” verb box.

You’ve been organizing your “Language” box since the day you began learning that language (through listening and speaking, and later reading and writing).

The process of learning a new language is organizing a new box. You put in boxes for topic/situation, and in each of those boxes you put in verbs, and in each of those boxes you put in vocabulary.

And then you can carry that language around, and you’ll always know where to find stuff.


How does ‘Language Teach Itself’? Consider this small, yet important, and representative example: some languages, such as English, Polish, and Mandarin Chinese put adjectives before nouns, as in ‘green tea’. Other languages, such as Spanish, Portuguese, and Arabic, put nouns before adjectives—‘tea green’. When you know that a language is either a ‘green tea’ language, or a ‘tea green’ language, you can assume that every other instance of the pattern will be the same. ‘Black coffee’, or ‘coffee black’; ‘red car’, or ‘car red’; ‘blue sky’, or ‘sky blue’.

Once you know to say, ‘tea green’ and not ‘green tea’, you would know to say ‘sky blue’, and not ‘blue sky’. Conversely, ‘sky blue’ could teach you ‘tea green’. Every example teaches every other example.

Now if someone should ask, “Why is it correct to say ‘sky blue’ and not ‘blue sky’? The answer should notbe: “Because nouns come before verbs in this language”, but rather, “It’s ‘sky blue’ because it’s ‘tea green’.

Language is not learned explicitly, through explanation of rules, but rather implicitly, through examples of the language in use. ‘Green tea’ teaches ‘blue sky’. Language teaches itself.


A Spanish student of mine recently told me he had had enough of my “practical, intuitive, and effective” language learning methodology, and that he would not be coming back to any of my classes. Did I lose sleep over the financial loss I would incur from having one less student?


Hardly. He told me that in 4 short weeks, he felt I had given him all the tools he needed to teach himself. And that’s my goal with every TMM student. I teach you to teach yourself.


He did say he’d be sending everyone he knew my way. ¡Gracias!, former TMM student, and happy learning!


Have you seen this movie? It’s the one where Bill Murray is stuck repeating the same day over and over (which happens to be the American ‘Groundhog Day’). Every interaction begins the exact same way. “Good morning, Bill. How’s the weather?” Or whatever. The repetition becomes so certain that Bill begins to experiment; in one case, he punches a guy in the face!

Imagine you were stuck in Groundhog Day in a foreign country. In a week you could become fluent in the language—fluent as far as anyone would know. You’d simply learn the exact words and phrases needed to satisfy the predictable interactions of that day, and you’d be done.

The secret is that linguistically, everyday is Groundhog Day. The relatively few words and phrases you’ll need on a given day, are the same you’ll need everyday. The grammatical patterns of the language will be the same, and even the content of conversation—greeting, weather, work, etc.—will be relatively unchanging.

Your goal in learning a language is to exploit the repetitious nature of life and language to create a Groundhog Day situation for yourself language-wise.