Irregular verbs in Spanish

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In past lessons you have practice a lot with the present tense. You have read, listen, written and spoken (if you have Skype lessons) hundreds of sentences in Spanish present tense.

You know how to change the infinitive form of any regular verb into the “right” form demanded by the subject, and you have also learnt some irregular verbs, like “ser” or “tener”.

Now, in this last chapter of the introductory course, you are ready to work with some irregular verbs.

Most irregular verbs just will have a little change in the root of the verb.

Important note: The root of the verb is the part of the verb that remains

untouchable when conjugation the different forms of the verbs

( the infinitive without -AR /-ER/ -IR)

So, you have to conjugate the verb as normal (depending if its infinitive ends in -AR, -ER or -IR), and then make the required change in the root.

Kinds of irregular verbs in Spanish

Let me show you the 4 most usual kinds of irregular verbs:

 1) Changes in the root of the kind O → UE

 Like in Poder ( to can/to be able), Mover (to move) or Dormir ( to sleep)

PODER ( to can / to be able) Examples
Yo → pUEdo Puedo comer una vaca
Tú → pUEdes ¿Puedes ver mi coche?
Él → pUEdes Mi hermano no puede comer porque está enfermo
Nosotros → pOdemos No podemos ir al concierto
Vosotros → pOdéis ¿Podéis venir a casa esta tarde?
Ellos → pUEden Los alemanes pueden beber mucha cerveza


Student note: Well, I had to use the dictionary, but I think I get al the examples...but...I have a doubt!. In the “nosotros” and “vosotros” form, the verb is not irregular!!

 Yes, I forgot to tell you!, the irregular verbs are irregular in the first, second and third person singular, and in the third person plural.

Or, you could also say that the first person plural (Nosotros) and the second person plural (vosotros) have REGULAR VERB FORMS even in the irregular verbs

 2) Changes in the root of the kind U → UE, like in Jugar (to play)


JUGAR (to play) Examples
Yo → jUEgo Juego al fútbol muy bien
Tú → jUEgas ¿Juegas al tenis?
Él → jUEga Obama juega al baloncesto
Nosotros → jUgamos No jugamos mucho al fútbol
Vosotros → jUgáis ¿Jugáis con nosotros?
Ellos → jUEgan Los brasileños juegan muy bien al fútbol


*Important note: Take in account that Jugar means to play, but only in the sense of playing a sport, or other phisical activities (like children playing). For playing an instrument we use the verb “tocar” that is a regular verb ending in -ar .

So, “Juego al fútbol” vs “Toco el violín” 

3) Changes in the root of the kind E → IE

like in Querer ( to want/to love), preferir (to prefer)

QUERER (to want/to love) Examples
Yo → QuIEro Quiero mucho a mi madre*
Tú → QuIEres ¿Quieres este bocadillo?
Él → QuIEre Mi hermano también quiere a mi madre*
Nosotros → QuEremos En España queremos más vacaciones
Vosotros → QuEréis ¿Queréis un coche nuevo?
Ellos → QuIEren Los portugueses quieren más vacaciones

*When “Querer” has the meaning of “to love”, it normally goes with the preposition “a” after the verb, and before the person loved.

Important note: Remember to use the dictionary for the new words! That will help to expand your vocabulary

4) Changes in the root of the kind E → I

Like in Pedir (to ask for / to order)


My brother ask for a lot of things

Mi hermano pide muchas cosas



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Guest Thursday, 17 August 2017

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