Irregular Verbs in the Present Tense

Irregular Verbs in the Present Tense

Irregular Verbs Basics

  • Irregular verbs in Spanish do not follow the standard conjugation patterns. They have changes in the stem or the endings in the present tense.
  • There are three groups of irregular verbs in Spanish: stem-changing verbs, verbs with irregular first persons and completely irregular verbs.

Stem-Changing Verbs

  • Stem-changing verbs have a vowel change in the stem of the verb in the present tense, but only in certain forms (all forms except nosotros and vosotros). Examples include: querer (e -> ie), poder (o -> ue), pedir (e -> i).

Verbs with Irregular First Persons

  • The verbs with irregular first persons change only in the first person singular (yo form). The rest of the verb forms follow regular conjugation patterns. Examples include: hacer (hago), poner (pongo), salir (salgo).

Completely Irregular Verbs

  • Completely irregular verbs do not follow any pattern and have to be memorized individually. Some examples of completely irregular verbs include: ser, ir, saber, and ver.

Additional Conjugation Rules

  • Verbs ending with -eer, -uir, or -aer have a y in place of the i in the third person singular and plural forms in present indicative tense. E.g. huir - huye/huyen, leer - lee/leen.

Useful Tips

  • Even though conjugated forms may not seem similar to the infinitive, regularly practicing these verbs will aid in remembrance and fluency. Dictionaries or Spanish conjugation apps can be a great resource.
  • In daily speaking and writing, these irregular verbs are frequently employed. Hence, understanding and using them correctly will ensure a good command over the Spanish language.

Practice Regularly

  • Make a habit of practicing the conjugation of these verbs via exercises, flashcards and usage in sentences. This will help embed them in your memory. Learning verb conjugation in the context of sentences or phrases is usually more effective.