Quechua Grammar Basics - Verb Tenses

Verbs in the infinitive form, i.e. "I eat" end in Y: MIKHUY, KICHAY, RIMAY, etc.
To conjugate a verb, drop the Y and replace it with a suffix. Easy-Peasy!

Bonus: once you know the present tense endings, the Present Ongoing and Imperfect Past are a breeze:
just add a simple word particle before those endings. Here are examples:

PRESENT TENSE VERB SUFFIXES

Singular
Plural
English Quechua English Quechua
I ñoqa -NI TAKINI
"I sing"
We Incl. - ñoqanchis
("all of us")
-NCHIS TAKINHIS
"we (all of us) sing"
We Excl. - ñoqayku
("our group, but not you")
-YKU TAKIYKU
"we (all of us, but not you) sing"
You - qan -NKI TAKINKI
"you sing"
All Y'All - qankuna -NKICHIS TAKINKICHIS
"they sing"
He/She/It - pay -N TAKIN
"he/she/it sing"
They - paykuna -NKU TAKINKU
"they sing"
To change tense (present, future, past), we just add another suffix.


PRESENT, ONGOING-ACTION VERB TENSE SUFFIXES
(-SHA + Present Tense suffixes)


This tense refers to something that is currently happening, which operates with the suffix SHA, using the verb WAYK’UY (“to cook”)
Singular
Plural
English Quechua English Quechua
I ñoqa -SHANI WAYK'USHANI
"I am cooking"
We Incl. - ñoqanchis
("all of us")
-SHANCHIS WAYK'USHANCHIS
"we (all of us) are cooking"
We Excl. - ñoqayku
("our group, but not you")
-SHAYKU WAYK'USHAYKU
"we (all of us, but not you) are cooking"
You - qan -SHANKI WAYK'USHANKI
"you are cooking"
All Y'All - qankuna -SHANKICHIS WAYK'USHANKICHIS
"they are cooking"
He/She/It - pay -SHAN WAYK'USHAN
"he/she/it is cooking"
They - paykuna -SHANKU WAYK'USHANKU
"they are cooking"
You just throw in the extra suffix and there you are.


IMPERFECT PAST TENSE VERB SUFFIXES
(-RQA + present tense suffixes)

So, here is the past tense (which includes things that “happened” and “have happened”) with the additional past-tense suffix -RQA, using the verb MIKHUY (“to eat”): I ate, I have eaten

Singular
Plural
English Quechua English Quechua
I ñoqa -RQANI MIKHURQANI
"I ate"
We Incl. - ñoqanchis
("all of us")
-RQANCHIS MIKHURQANCHIS
"we (all of us) ate"
We Excl. - ñoqayku
("our group, but not you")
-RQAYKU MIKHURQAYKU
"we (all of us, but not you) ate"
You - qan -RQANKI MIKHURQANKI
"you ate"
All Y'All - qankuna -RQANKICHIS MIKHURQANKICHIS
"they ate"
He/She/It - pay -RQAN MIKHURQAN
"he/she/it ate"
They - paykuna -RQANKU MIKHURQANKU
"they ate"


FUTURE TENSE VERB SUFFIXES

Here’s the future tense. Note that the suffixes don't exactly follow the pattern we're used to ...
using the verb RIY (“to go”)
Singular
Plural
English Quechua English Quechua
I ñoqa -SAQ RISAQ
"I will go"
We Incl. - ñoqanchis
("all of us")
-SUN(CHIS) RISUN
"we (all of us) will go"
We Excl. - ñoqayku
("our group, but not you")
-SAQKU RISAQKU
"we (all of us, but not you) will go"
You - qan -NKI RINKI
"you will go"
All Y'All - qankuna -NKICHIS RINKICHIS
"they will go"
He/She/It - pay -NQA RINQA
"he/she/it will go"
They - paykuna -NQAKU RINQAKU
"they will go"


Notice that both 2nd person (singular and plural) forms are the same in the future and the present. Also, another easy memory tool is that to change 1st or 3rd person from singular to plural form, simply add a KU to the singular form, which may have originally meant KUNA but got shortened over time (KUNA being the plural suffix). Also, notice that the suffix SUN can also be SUNCHIS, but the shorter SUN is more common.

Wanna Practice your Quechua Conjugations?

First, choose your tense you'd like to test yourself on

next, choose your verb