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Spanish Preterite. - Irregular Verbs (II)

It is time to go on reviewing the Preterite tense conjugation of Spanish irregular verbs. We have already learned that there are four Spanish verbs, irregular in the preterite, that should be memorized, and also about a group of verbs, irregular in the preterite, that change their stems when conjugated in this tense, but adopting all of them the same endings. (See Spanish Preterite Tense - Conjugation of Irregular Verbs -I-).

So, let’s continue studying how to conjugate more irregular Spanish verbs. ¿Preparados?

  1. There are some First and Second conjugation verbs (-ar, -er) that, although they change their stem in the present tense, when conjugated in the preterite, they don’t change it:


    CERRAR
    (TO CLOSE)
    ENTENDER
    (TO UNDERSTAND)
    PRESENT TENSE PRETERITE TENSE PRESENT TENSE PRETERITE TENSE
    Yo cierro
    (I close) 
    cerré
    (I closed) 
    entiendo
    (I understand) 
    entendí
    (I understood) 
    Tu cierras
    (you close) 
    cerraste
    (you closed) 
    entiendes
    (you understand) 
    entendiste
    (you understood) 
    El / Ella cierra
    (he/she closes) 
    cerró
    (he/she closed) 
    entiende
    (he/she understands) 
    entendió
    (he/she understood) 
    Nosotros / Nosotras cerramos
    (we close) 
    cerramos
    (we closed)
    entendemos
    (we understand) 
    entimos
    (we understood) 
    Vosotros / Vosotras cerráis
    (you close) 
    cerrasteis
    (you closed)
    entendéis
    (you understand) 
    entendisteis
    (you understood) 
    Ellos / Ellas cierran
    (they close) 
    cerraron
    (they closed)
    entienden
    (they understand) 
    entendieron
    (they understood) 
    CERRAR Present conjugation CERRAR Preterite conjugation ENTENDER Present conjugation ENTENDER Preterite conjugation

    And those -ir verbs (Third conjugation) that change their stems in the present, also change them in the preterite, but only with third persons (singular and plural, that’s (él - ella - ellos - ellas), and in a different way: Letter 'e' in the stem changes to 'i', and letter 'o' in the stem changes to 'u'

    VESTIR> (TO CLOTHE)
    ('e' --> 'i')
    MORIR (TO DIE)
    ('o' --> 'u')
    PRESENT TENSE PRETERITE TENSE PRESENT TENSE PRETERITE TENSE

    Yo
    Tu
    Él
    Nosotros
    Vosotros
    Ellos

    visto
    vistes
    viste
    vestimos
    vestís
    visten
    vestí
    vestiste
    vistió
    vestimos
    vestisteis
    vistieron
    muero
    mueres
    muere
    morimos
    morís
    mueren
    morí
    moriste
    murió
    morimos
    moristeis
    murieron

  2. Preterite orthographic changes:

    • Verbs ending in –zar: “z” changes to “c” (before “e”).
      Finalizar: finalicé – finalizaste – finalizó – finalizamos – finalizasteis – finalizaron


    • Verbs ending in –car: “c” changes to “gu” (before “e”).
      Aparcar: aparqué – aparcaste – aparcó – aparcamos – aparcasteis – aparcaron

    • Verbs ending in –gar: “g” changes to “gu” (before “e”)
      Apagar: apagué – apagaste – apagó – apagamos – apagasteis – apagaron

    • Verbs ending in –aer, -eer, -oer, -uir and - oir à “-ió” and “-ieron” become “-yó” and “-yeron” (3rd person singular and plural). The rest (yo – tu – usted – nosotros – vosotros ) gain an accent on letter i. (í):

      Caer: caí – caíste - cayó – caímos – caísteis - cayeron
      Creer: creí – creíste - creyó – creímos – creísteis - creyeron
      Roer: roí – roíste - royó – roímos – roísteis - royeron
      Huir: huí – huiste - huyó – huimos – huisteis – huyeron (*)
      Oír : oí – oíste - oyó – oímos – oísteis – oyeron

      (*) – Verbs ending in –uir: the accent on letter “i” only for first person singular (yo).


    • Verbs ending in –cir have a different conjugation for the preterite tense:
      Conducir
      Yo conduje
      Tu condujiste
      El / Ella condujo
      Nosotros condujimos
      Vosotros condujisteis
      Ellos / Ustedes condujeron


      There are three verbs that, although they do not end in –cir, they also have this irregular conjugation: Traer, Atraer and Distraer.


      As always, for any question or comment, feel free to e-mail me.

      ¡Hasta pronto!

      Angeles F.

      'Click and listen' glossary: (alphabetical order):

      apagar = to turn off

      aparcar = to park

      atraer = to attract

      caer = to fall

      cerrar = to close

      conducir = to drive

      creer = to think, to believe

      distraer = to distract

      entender = to understand
      finalizar = to finish, to end

      huir= to run away, to escape

      oir = to hear

      ¿Preparados? = Ready?

      roer = to gnaw

      traer = to bring

      vestir = to clothe

      morir = to die




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