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¡Hola, amigas y amigos de SpanishCompadres.com! laughing Welcome to a new post. On this occasion, we would like to help you out with Spanish irregular verbs. We have come up with an extraordinary article that includes awesome and straight to the point explanations and practice activities that you can easily do while you’re reading.

Spanish irregular verbs are those in which the stem (i.e. the root part of the verb) changes when they are conjugated. For example, in the infinitive form of the verb “cerrar” (to close), the stem is “cerr”, which is followed by the ending “ar”, the conjugated form for the first person singular in the present simple tense is “yo cierro” (I close).  Check out these examples:

Infinitive Conjugated form (stem change) Example English equivalent
empezar empiezas ¡Tú empiezas! You start!
entender ella entiende Ella entiende de finanzas. She understands finance.
mentir ellos mintieron Ellos mintieron en su declaración. They lied in their statement.

 

Table of contents

 

What are Spanish irregular verbs?

In Spanish, all  infinitive forms end in ar, er, or ir. These endings are called conjugations. The part of the verb that comes before the conjugation is called stem. Examples:

 

Infinitive form (stem+conjugation) English equivalent Conjugated form English equivalent
cant + ar = cantar to sing ella cantó she sang
com + er = comer to eat ellos comen they eat
ped + ir = pedir to ask for pides you ask for

  

In the first two examples (cantar, comer), the stem of the verbs remains the same when they are conjugated. Therefore, “cantar” and “comer” are regular verbs. In the third verb, “pedir”, the stem changes when the verb is conjugated. Therefore, the verb “pedir” is an irregular verb, i.e. a verb in which the stem changes when it is conjugated. Each conjugation has its own set of endings that are added to the stem.

 

Note: in the present tense of irregular verbs, the “nosotros” (we) and “vosotros” (you, plural, very formal)  forms are not affected by the stem change. Examples:

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) Conjugated form (same stem) English equivalent
cerr + ar = cerrar nosotros cerramos we close
quer + er = querer vosotros queréis you want or you love

 

How to conjugate spanish irregular verbs 

 

Spanish irregular verbs ar

For Spanish irregular verbs ending in -ar, the stem may change in two ways: 

  1. From e to ie (e.g. cerrar – yo cierro = to close – I close). Examples:

 

Note: endings are the same as those for regular verbs: o, as, a , amos, áis, an

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) cerr + ar = cerrar (to close) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo cierro I close
tú cierras you close
él / ella / usted cierra he /she closes – you close (singular)
nosotros cerramos we close
vosotros cerráis you close
ellos / ellas / ustedes cierran they / you close (plural)

 

IInfinitive (stem + ending) empez + ar = empezar (to start) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo empiezo I start
tú empiezas you start
él / ella / usted empieza he /she / starts – you start (singular)
nosotros empezamos we start
vosotros empezáis you start
ellos / ellas / ustedes empiezan they / you start (plural)

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) pens + ar = pensar (to think) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo pienso I think
tú piensas you think
él / ella / usted piensa he /she / thinks – you think (singular)
nosotros pensamos we think
vosotros pensáis you think
ellos / ellas / ustedes piensan they / you think (plural)

 

 2. From o to ue (eg. almorzar – yo almuerzo = to have lunch – I have lunch)  

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) almorz + ar = almorzar (to have lunch) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo almuerzo I have lunch
tú almuerzas you have lunch
él / ella / usted almuerza he /she / has lunch – you have lunch (singular)
nosotros almorzamos we have lunch
vosotros almorzáis you have lunch
ellos / ellas / ustedes almuerzan they / you have lunch (plural)

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) encontr + ar = encontrar (to find) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo encuentro I find
tú encuentras you find
él / ella / usted encuentra he /she / finds – you find (singular)
nosotros encontramos we find
vosotros encontráis you find
ellos / ellas / ustedes encuentran they / you find (plural)

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) record + ar = almorzar (to remember) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo recuerdo I remember
tú recuerdas you remember
él / ella / usted recuerda he /she / remembers – you remember (singular)
nosotros recordamos we remember
vosotros recordáis you remember
ellos / ellas / ustedes recuerdan they / you remember (plural)

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) jug + ar = jugar (to play) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo juego I play
tú juegas you play
él / ella / usted juega he /she / plays – you play (singular)
nosotros jugamos we play
vosotros jugáis you play
ellos / ellas / ustedes juegan they / you play (plural)

 

Spanish irregular verbs er

For Spanish irregular verbs ending in -er, the stem may change in two ways: 

  1. From e to ie (e.g. entender – yo entiendo = to understand – I understand). Examples:

 

Note: endings are the same as those for regular verbs: o, es, e , emos, éis, en

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) entend + er = entender (to understand) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo entiendo I understand
tú entiendes you understand
él / ella / usted entiende he /she understands – you understand (singular)
nosotros entendemos we understand
vosotros entendéis you understand
ellos / ellas / ustedes entienden they / you understand (plural)

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) perd + er = perder (to lose) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo pierdo I lose
tú pierdes you lose
él / ella / usted pierde he /she / loses – you lose (singular)
nosotros perdemos we lose
vosotros perdéis you lose
ellos / ellas / ustedes pierden they / you lose (plural)

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) quer + er = querer (to want, to love) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo quiero I want, I love
tú quieres you want, you love
él / ella / usted quiere he /she / wants or loves – you want or love (singular)
nosotros queremos we want, we love
vosotros queréis you want, you love
ellos / ellas / ustedes quieren they / you want or love (plural)

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) ten + er = tener (to have) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo tengo I have
tú tienes you have
él / ella / usted tiene he /she / has – you have (singular)
nosotros tenemos we have
vosotros tenéis you have
ellos / ellas / ustedes tienen they / you have (plural)

2. From o to ue (e.g. devolver – yo devuelvo = to return – I return [as in “to return a faulty product”]. Examples:

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) devolv + er = devolver (to return) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo devuelvo I return
tú devuelves you return
él / ella / usted devuelve he /she / returns – you return (singular)
nosotros devolvemos we return
vosotros devolvéis you return
ellos / ellas / ustedes devuelven they / you return (plural)

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) pod + er = poder (to be able, can, may) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo puedo I can
tú puedes you can
él / ella / usted puede he /she / can – you can (singular)
nosotros podemos we can
vosotros podéis you can
ellos / ellas / ustedes pueden they / you can (plural)

 

Note: the verbs hacer (to do, to make), poner (to put), and saber (to know) are irregular only in the YO form.

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) hac + er = hacer (to do, to make) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo hago I make
tú haces you make
él / ella / usted hace he /she / makes – you can (singular)
nosotros hacemos we make
vosotros hacéis you make
ellos / ellas / ustedes hacen they / you make (plural)

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) pon + er = poner (to put) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo pongo I put
tú pones you put
él / ella / usted pone he /she / puts – you put (singular)
nosotros ponemos we put
vosotros ponéis you put
ellos / ellas / ustedes ponen they / you put (plural)

  

Infinitive (stem + ending) sab + er = saber (to know) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo sé I know
tú sabes you know
él / ella / usted sabe he /she / knows – you know (singular)
nosotros sabemos we know
vosotros sabéis you know
ellos / ellas / ustedes saben they / you know (plural)

 

Spanish irregular verbs ir

For Spanish irregular verbs ending in -er, the stem may change in three ways: 

  1. From e to ie (e.g. mentir – yo miento = to lie – I lie). Examples:

 

Note: endings are the same as those for regular verbs: o, es, e , imos, ís, en

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) ment + ir = mentir (to lie) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo miento I lie
tú mientes you lie
él / ella / usted miente he /she / lies – you lie (singular)
nosotros mentimos we lie
vosotros mentís you lie
ellos / ellas / ustedes mienten they / you lie (plural)

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) prefer + ir = preferir (to prefer) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo prefiero I prefer
tú prefieres you prefer
él / ella / usted prefiere he /she / prefers – you prefer (singular)
nosotros preferimos we prefer
vosotros preferís you prefer
ellos / ellas / ustedes prefieren they / you prefer (plural)

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) ven + ir = venir (to come) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo vengo I come
tú vienes you come
él / ella / usted viene he /she / comes – you come (singular)
nosotros venimos we come
vosotros venís you come
ellos / ellas / ustedes vienen they / you come (plural)

 

Note: venir also has only an irregular YO form.

2. From e to i (e.g. pedir – yo pido = to ask for – I ask for). Examples:

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) ped + ir = pedir (to ask for) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo pido I ask for
tú pides you ask for
él / ella / usted pide he /she / asks for – you ask for (singular)
nosotros pedimos we ask for
vosotros pedís you ask for
ellos / ellas / ustedes piden they / you ask for (plural)

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) repet + ir = repetir (to repeat) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo repito I repeat
tú repites you repeat
él / ella / usted repite he /she / repeats – you repeat for (singular)
nosotros repetimos we repeat
vosotros repetís you repeat
ellos / ellas / ustedes repiten they / you repeat (plural)

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) segu + ir = seguir (to follow) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo sigo I follow
tú sigues you follow
él / ella / usted sigue he /she / follows – you follow (singular)
nosotros seguimos we follow
vosotros seguís you follow
ellos / ellas / ustedes siguen they / you follow (plural)

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) serv + ir = servir (to serve) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo sirvo I serve
tú sirves you serve
él / ella / usted sirve he /she / serves – you serve (singular)
nosotros servimos we serve
vosotros servís you serve
ellos / ellas / ustedes sirven they / you serve (plural)

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) sonre + ír = sonreír (to smile) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo sonrío I smile
tú sonríes you smile
él / ella / usted sonríe he /she / smiles – you smile (singular)
nosotros sonreímos we smile
vosotros sonreís you smile
ellos / ellas / ustedes sonríen they / you smile (plural)

3. From o to ue (e.g. dormir – yo duermo = to sleep – I sleep). Examples:

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) dorm + ir = dormir (to sleep) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo duermo I sleep
tú duermes you sleep
él / ella / usted duerme he /she / sleeps for – you sleep (singular)
nosotros dormimos we sleep
vosotros dormís you sleep
ellos / ellas / ustedes duermen they / you sleep (plural)

 

Note: the stem of Spanish verbs oír (to hear) and salir (to leave, to exit, to go out) changes only in the YO form. Examples:

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) o + ír = oír (to hear) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo oigo I hear
tú oyes you hear
él / ella / usted oye he /she / hears for – you hear (singular)
nosotros oímos we hear
vosotros oís you hear
ellos / ellas / ustedes oyen they / you hear (plural)

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) sal + ir = oír (to leave) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo salgo I leave
tú sales you leave
él / ella / usted sales he /she / leaves for – you leave (singular)
nosotros salimos we leave
vosotros salís you leave
ellos / ellas / ustedes salen they / you leave (plural)

 

Spanish irregular verbs exercises

Choose the correct conjugated form to complete the following sentences. The answer key is below question number 10.  

 

  1. Nosotros __________ (salir) a pasear a menudo (We often go for a walk)
  2. salemos
  3. salimos
  4. salirmos

 

  1. Yo __________ (saber) de lo que hablo (I know what I’m talking about)
  2. sabemos
  3. saberé

 

  1. Tú __________ (jugar) con tu consola todos los días (You play with your console every day)
  2. juegas
  3. jugareas
  4. jugas

 

  1. Juan y Diego __________ (oír) voces (Juan and diego hear voices)
  2. oímos
  3. oyen
  4. oye

 

  1. Tu abuela __________ (poner) el pavo en el horno (Your grandma puts the turkey in the oven)
  2. ponemos
  3. pones
  4. pone

 

  1. Tú nunca __________ (recordar) mi cumpleaños (You never remember my birthday)
  2. recuerdas
  3. recordaras
  4. recordas

 

  1. Nosotros __________ (servir) la comida aquí (We serve the food here)
  2. sirvo
  3. servimos
  4. sirvamos

 

  1. Los padres __________ (poder) disciplinar a sus hijos (Parents can discipline their children)
  2. puedes
  3. pueder
  4. pueden

 

  1. Algunas personas __________ (pensar) lo peor sobre ti (Some people think the worst about you)
  2. piensan
  3. piensas
  4. pensan

 

  1. Ellos __________ (tener) mucha suerte (They have a lot of luck)
  2. tienes
  3. tienen
  4. tenemos

 

Answer key

1b 2c 3a 4b 5c 6a 7b 8c 9a 10b

 

Conclusion

Spanish irregular verbs are those in which the stem (i.e. the root part of the verb) changes when they are conjugated. For example, in the infinitive form of the verb “sonreír” (to smile), the stem is “sonre”, which is followed by the ending “ír”, the conjugated form for “yo” (I) in the present simple tense is “yo sonrío” (I smile). Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing whether a verb is regular or irregular just by looking at its infinitive form. Therefore, we suggest practicing by reading the examples and exercises in this article aloud as many times as possible. Remember that in language learning, repetition is key in order to achieve the desired results.

 

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