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Spanish Preterite. Irregular Verbs (I)


After having reviewed the conjugation of the Preterite Tense for Regular Verbs (See Preterite Tense Conjugation - Regular Verbs.), now it is time to learn how irregular Spanish verbs are conjugated in the Preterite.

  1. There are four Spanish verbs that you should memorize; they are irregular in the preterite tense: (Click and listen)

    DAR
    (TO GIVE)
    HACER
    (TO MAKE, TO DO)
    SER
    (TO BE)
    IR
    (TO GO)
    Yo
    di
    (I gave)
    hice
    (I made, I did)
    fui
    (I was)
    fui
    (I went)
    Tu
    diste
    (You gave)
    hiciste
    (You made, you did)
    fuiste
    (you was)
    fuiste
    (you went)
    El / Ella
    dio
    (he/she gave)
    hizo
    (he/she made, did)
    fue
    (he/she was)
    fue
    (he/she went)
    Nosotros / Nosotras
    dimos
    (we gave)
    hicimos
    (we made, did)
    fuimos
    (we were)
    fuimos
    (we went)
    Vosotros / Vosotras
    disteis
    (you gave)
    hicisteis
    (you made, did)
    fuisteis
    (you were)
    fuisteis
    (you went)
    Ellos / Ellas
    dieron
    (they gave)
    hicieron
    (they made, did)
    fueron
    (they were)
    fueron
    (they went)
    DAR conjugationHACER conjugationSER conjugationIR conjugation

  2. Note: Verbs SER and IR have the same conjugation in the Preterite!

    Some Examples:
    Mis padres nos dieron dos manzanas (My parents gave us two apples)
    Les hice venir (I made them come)
    Yo fui un buen estudiante (I was a good student)
    Ayer fui al mercado (Yesterday I went to the market)

  3. A group of verbs, irregular in the preterite, change their stems when conjugated in this tense, but all of them adopt the same endings:

    (yo) -e
    (tu) -iste
    (el) -o
    (nosotros) -imos
    (vosotros) -isteis
    (ellos / ustedes) -ieron

    For example, the verbestar belongs to this group, as it changes its stem when conjugated in Preterite tense: Infinitive: estar - Preterite Stem Change --> estuv-

    So, its Preterite conjugations is:

    >(yo) estuve
    (tu) estuviste
    (él) estuvo
    (nosotros) estuvimos
    (vosotros) estuvisteis
    (ellos / ustedes) estuvieron


    All the verbs included in this classification and their corresponding Preterite conjugations are:

    Andar
    (To walk)
    Caber
    (To fit in)
    Estar
    (To be)
    Haber
    (To have)
    Preterite
    stem change:
    anduv-cup-estuv-hub-
    Yo
    Tu
    El / Ella
    Nosotros
    Vosotros
    Ellos / Ustedes

    anduve
    anduviste
    anduvo
    anduvimos
    anduvisteis
    anduvieron

    cupe
    cupiste
    cupo
    cupimos
    cupisteis
    cupieron

    estuve
    estuviste
    estuvo
    estuvimos
    estuvisteis
    estuvieron

    hube
    hubiste
    hubo
    hubimos
    hubisteis
    hubieron

    Hacer
    (To make, to do)
    Poder
    (To be able)
    Poner
    (To put)
    Querer
    (To want, to love)
    Preterite
    stem change:
    hic-pud-pus-quis-
    Yo
    Tu
    El / Ella
    Nosotros
    Vosotros
    Ellos / Ustedes

    hice
    hiciste
    hizo
    hicimos
    hicisteis
    hicieron

    pude
    pudiste
    pudo
    pudimos
    pudisteis
    pudieron

    puse
    pusiste
    puso
    pusimos
    pusisteis
    pusieron

    quise
    quisiste
    quiso
    quisimos
    quisisteis
    quisieron

    Saber
    (To know)
    Tener
    (To have)
    Venir
    (To come)
    Preterite
    stem change:
    sup-tuv-vin-
    Yo
    Tu
    El / Ella
    Nosotros
    Vosotros
    Ellos / Ustedes

    supe
    supiste
    supo
    supimos
    supisteis
    supieron

    tuve
    tuviste
    tuvo
    tuvimos
    tuvisteis
    tuvieron

    vine
    viniste
    vino
    vinimos
    vinisteis
    vinieron

There are more grammar points about Irregular verbs and they Preterite conjugation that we'll study soon. Meanwhile, as always, for any question or comment, feel free to e-mail me.

¡Hasta pronto!

Angeles F.


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

andar = to walk

ayer = yesterday

buen = good

caber = to fit in

<dos = two

estar = to be

estudiante = student
haber = to have

hacer= to make, to do

les = them

manzana = apple

mercado = market

mis = my

nos = us
padres = parents

poder = (v) to be able / (n) power

poner = to put

querer = to want, to love

saber = (v) to know

tener = to have

venir = to come



Recommended material:

I write monthly articles for "Think Spanish" ("Piensa en español") since 2002. All "Think Spanish" articles are written in Spanish, and they include a Spanish/English glossary. You'll also have the option to buy this magazine including a CD. Nice way to learn about Spanish language and customs!





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