Verb Conjugations for Quechua

Verbs in Quechua are completely regular; if you learn the conjugations for one verb, you’ve learned them for all.

Conjugations list:

Personal Pronouns

Personal pronouns in Quechua are quite straight forward. Keep the following in mind:

There are two first person plural pronouns (“we”). The first is inclusive, which is used when the speaker wishes to include the person(s) being addressed in the statement. The second is exclusive, which is used when the speaker does not wish to include the addressees.

Quechua also adds the plural suffix -kuna to the second and third person singular pronouns to create the plural forms.

The tables used below follow the same format as the verb conjugations on this page.

Personal Pronouns
Person Singular Plural
1st Person Nuqa Nuqayku (exclusive)
Nuqanchis (inclusive)
2nd Person Qan Qankuna
3rd Person Pay Paykuna

Personal Pronouns with translations:

  English Quechua
Singular I Nuqa
You Qan
He/She Pay
Plural We (inclusive) Nuqanchis
We (exclusive) Nuqayku
You (all) Qankuna
They Paykuna

Person Markers and the Present Tense

The most basic form of verb conjugation is known as “person markers” (marcadores de persona), and is a suffix you append to the verb root. This also happens to be the present tense.

Person marker suffixes (Present Tense)
Person Singular Plural
1st Person -ni -yku (exclusive)
-nchis (inclusive)
2nd Person -nki -nkichis
3rd Person -n -nku

Conjugated examples:

Kay (to be), root: ka
  English Quechua
Singular I am kani
You are kanki
He/She is kan
Plural We (inclusive) are kanchis
We (exclusive) are kayku
You (all) are kankichis
They are kanku

The present progressive

The present progressive, also known as the continuous present, is used for actions going on at the moment of speaking. It is formed by adding the suffix -sha before the person markers.

Formula for the present progressive:

verb root + -sha + person marker

Conjugated examples:

Mikhuy (to eat), root: mikhu
  English Quechua
Singular I am eating Mikhushani
You are eating Mikhushanki
He/She is eating Mikhushan
Plural We (inclusive) are eating Mikhushanchis
We (exclusive) are eating Mikhushayku
You (all) are eating Mikhushankichis
They are eating Mikhushanku

Example sentences:

Imaynallan kashanki
How are you?

Allillanmi kashani
I am doing good

Qhalillachu Maria kashan
Is Maria healthy?

Ari, qhalillanmi kashan
Yes, she is healthy

Perfect Past

The formula for the perfect past is:

verb root + -rqa/-ra + person marker

Conjugated examples:

Riy (to go), root: ri
  English Quechua
Singular I went Rirqani / rirani
You went Rirqanki / riranki
He/She went Rirqan / riran
Plural We (inclusive) went Rirqanchis / riranchis
We (exclusive) went Rirqayku/ rirayku
You (all) went Rirqankichis / rirankichis
They went Rirqanku / riranku

Example Sentences:

Qan qayna domingota misaman rirqankichu
Did you go to mass last Sunday?

Nuqaq wasiypi, paykunaq fiestanku karqan
Their party was in my house.

Future Tense

The future tense has its own suffixes. Note that the second person singular and plural (Qan, Qankuna) are the same as the present, so the time must be determined from context.

Memorization tip: notice the similiarity between the first person singular and plural (Nuqa and Nuqayku) as well as the similiarity between the third person singular and plural (Pay and Paykuna).

Future Tense Suffixes
Person Singular Plural
1st Person -saq -saqku (exclusive)
-sun / sunchis (inclusive)
2nd Person -nki -nkichis
3rd Person -nqa -nqaku

Conjugated examples:

Puriy (to walk); root: puri
  English Quechua
Singular I will walk Purisaq
You will walk Purinki
He/She will walk Purinqa
Plural We (inclusive) will walk Purisun / Purisunchis
We (exclusive) will walk Purisaqku
You (all) will walk Purinkichis
They will walk Purinqaku

A few examples of the future tense:

Riqsinakusunchis
We will get to know eachother

Maypi tupasun
Where will we meet eachother?

Qhatumanta mikhunata apamusaq
I will bring the food from the market

Imperative

Quechua has special suffixes to give orders. In addition to having the regular second person conjugation (Qan and Qankuna), Quechua has third person conjugations as well (Pay and Paykuna). These are difficult to translate into English, so hopefully my translations are accurate.

Imperative Mood Suffixes
Person Singular Plural
2nd Person -y -ychis
3rd Person -chun -chunku

Conjugated examples:

Mikhuy (to eat); root: mikhu
  English Quechua
Singular (you) eat! Mikhuy
Let him/her eat! Mikhuchun
Plural (you all) eat! Mikhuychis
Everyone eat! Mikhuchunku

Habitual Past

The habitual past describes those daily activities that correspond to the speaker’s past experience. It is equivalent to the English phrases “to be used to” and “to be accustomed to”.

This tense is marked with the suffix -q in the principal verb and is accompanied by the auxiliary verb kay conjugated in the present or past tense.

In the third person singular and plural the auxiliary verb kay is omitted. In the third person plural the suffix -ku is added after the -q.

Habitual Past
Person Singular Plural
1st Person -q kani -q kayku (exclusive)
-q kanchis (inclusive)
2nd Person -q kanki -q kankichis
3rd Person -q -qku

Conjugated examples:

Phaway (to run); root: phawa
  English Quechua
Singular I used to run Phawaq kani
You used to run Phawaq kanki
He/She used to run Phawaq
Plural We (inclusive) used to run Phawaq kanchis
We (exclusive) used to run Phawaq kankichis
You (all) used to run Phawaq kankichis
They used to run Phawaqku

A few examples of the habitual past:

Unay watakunaqa aswan allintan kawasaq kanchis
In previous years we used to live much better.

Machulanchiskunaqa chakillapich√° puriqku
Our grandparents are perhaps used to walking only on foot.

P'achaytaqa mayullapi t'aqsaq kani
I am accustomed to washing my clothes in the river