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Conjugating of Irregular Verbs

JosepMarti 5 diciembre

There are many types of irregularities in the past simple in Spanish. We can group them as follows: verbs with stem and ending changes, verbs with vowel changes in the stem but with regular endings, verbs with orthographic changes and other verbs with special irregularities.

Verbs with Stem Changes and Ending

In order to learn these verbs, it is necessary to memorize the root change. This new stem will be maintained in all persons. They will also undergo a change of endings in the first (-é/-í > -e) and third person singular (-ó/-ió > -o).

Conjugación de verbos irregulares en el Pretérito perfecto simple

Let’s take a look at a list of some of these verbs and their change in the stem:

  • Haber = hub-
  • Hacer = hic-
  • Decir = dij-
  • Poder = pud-
  • Estar = estuv-
  • Tener = tuv-
  • Venir = vin-
  • Saber = sup-
  • Traer = traj-
  • Caber = cup-
  • Andar = anduv-

Verbs whose stem ends in -j in the past simple in Spanish have a change in the ending of the third person plural: -ieron>-eron. For example: decir>dijeron, traducir>tradujeron, traer>trajeron.

Let’s look at some irregular verbs in the preterite in context:

El año pasado tuve muchos problemas. Mis jefes hicieron muchos cambios en la empresa y trajeron nuevas ideas. Un día, uno de ellos me dijo: “o trabajas más o estás despedido”.

Verbs with a Vowel Change in the Stem

These verbs keep the regular endings, but suffer a vowel change in their stem in the third person singular and plural. Let’s see these changes:

Conjugación de verbos irregulares con cambios vocálicos en el Pretérito perfecto simple

Other irregular verbs of this kind are:

  • e>i = sentir, divertir, preferir, seguir, mentir…
  • o>u = morir.
  • i>y= caer, oír, construir, creer, incluir…

Here you have some sentences with these verbs:

Ayer mi esposa leyó una novela antes de dormir y me pidió que dejara la luz encendida. Los niños se durmieron, pero yo no dormí nada en toda la noche.

Verbs with consonant spelling change

Although these verbs could be considered regular verbs, we are going to include them as irregular verbs so that students can take them into account. These are some verbs that, for phonetic reasons, undergo a change in some consonant in order to respect spelling rules. Let’s look at some of them:

Conjugación de verbos irregulares con cambios consonánticos en el Pretérito perfecto simple

Other verbs of this type are:

  • -car = sacar, empacar, picar…
  • -zar = cazar, rezar, rizar…
  • -gar = regar, plegar, segar…

Here we can see an example of its use:

En el examen DELE yo saqué una buena nota pero mi amiga sacó un suspenso. Ella empezó a estudiar hace unos meses pero yo empecé el año pasado.

Verbs with other irregularities

To finish with the verbal conjugation in the past simple in Spanish, we must analyze some verbs that do not fall into the previous categories: ser, ir and dar. The first two share forms. Their root is fu– but they alternate regular and irregular endings. On the other hand, dar is a verb of the first conjugation (-ar), but its endings correspond to those of the second conjugation (-er).

Conjugación de otros verbos irregulares especiales en el Pretérito perfecto simple

Here we can see some examples:

El año pasado no fui a la universidad. El examen de acceso fue difícil y no se me dio muy bien. Al final, no me dieron plaza.