Spanish Irregular Past Tense Verbs

Beginner Spanish - Level A1

Overview

The Spanish preterite tense is used to describe actions completed at a specific point in the past; whereas the imperfect is used to describe habitual or continuous actions in the past with no specific beginning or end.  Some verbs require small changes when being conjugated in this tense.

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Spanish A1

 

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Irregular Spanish Verbs in the Preterit Tense

Now that we have a good grasp on Regular Verbs in the Preterit Tense, it’s time to venture into the world of irregular verbs! Because some of the most common Spanish verbs actually have irregular conjugations in the Preterit Tense, it’s important that we become familiar with their rules and changes. Repetition and memorization are your tools for success with these verbs!

First, let’s take a look at the common IRREGULAR PRETERIT TENSE ENDINGS. All of these endings are used with the verbs in this first section of irregular Preterit verbs and none of them carry accents.

NOTE: We will see a few different endings in section 2.

-e

-imos

-iste

-isteis

-o

-ieron

 

SECTION 1 – Irregular Stem Verbs

The following irregular Preterit verbs use the irregular Preterit endings from the chart above. Beside each verb is its irregular stem:

I Stem Verbs” – notice that these verbs have changed to having an “i” in the stem.

Hacer – Hic (note: él/ella/usted hizo)

Venir - Vin

Querer - Quis

 

U Stem Verbs” – notice that these verbs have changed to having an “u” in the stem.

Andar - Anduv

Caber - Cup

Estar - Estuv

Poder - Pud

Poner - Pus

Saber - Sup

Tener - Tuv

 

J Stem Verbs” – notice that these verbs have changed to having an “j” in the stem.

Conducir – Conduj

Decir – Dij

Producir – Produj

Traducir – Traduj

Traer – Traj

 

SECTION 2 – SER and IR

There are two verbs in the Preterit Tense that are extra irregular – SER (to be) and IR (to go). However, great news! These two verbs are conjugated the exact same way in the Preterit Tense. But, how will you know the difference if they look and sound exactly the same you ask? We will know which verb is being used based on context. Let’s take a look at their conjugation below:

Fui – I went/I was

Fuimos – We went/We were

Fuiste – You (informal) went/You (informal) were

Fuisteis – You all went/were

Fue – He went/He was

She went/She was

You (formal) went/You were

Fueron – They went/They were

You all went/You all were

 

SECTION 3 – DAR and VER

Our two final irregular verbs in the Preterit Tense are VER and DAR. We are learning these two together because as you will see, their conjugations are almost identical. Let’s check them out below:

DAR (to give)

Di

Dimos

Diste

Disteis

Dio

Dieron

 

VER (to see)

Vi

Vimos

Viste

Visteis

Vio

Vieron

 

SECTION 4- -CAR, -GAR, -ZAR Verbs

We’ve reached our final section about irregular verbs in the Preterit Tense! Our last section is all about verbs that end in either -car, -gar, or -zar. These verbs require a spell change when they are used ONLY IN THE YO form. Let’s check out these ending spell changes below:

-CAR verbs will change to -qué in the YO FORM ONLY (tocar --> yo toqué)

-GAR verbs will change to -gué in the YO FORM ONLY (pagar --> yo pagué)

-ZAR verbs will change to - in the YO FORM ONLY (comenzar --> yo comencé)

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Let’s practice!

Conjugate the following verbs in the Preterit Tense based on the subjects of the sentences below. Be sure to click READ MORE below to see the answer key once you are finished!

  1. Mi profesora ________ (venir) a clase un poco tarde.
  2. Mis amigos y yo ________ (hacer) unos sándwiches después de la reunión.
  3. Yo le ________ (decir) <¡Hola!> a mi jefe.
  4. Mi cliente no ________ (estar) contento con su experiencia con la otra empresa.
  5. El chef no ________ (poner) cebollas en la sopa.
  6. ¿Cuándo ________ (saber) tú que Papa Noél no es real?
  7. La semana pasada ustedes ________ (tener) más dinero que hoy.
  8. Yo no ________ (pagar) más que $5 cuando fui a ese restaurante.
  9. ¿Tú ________ (ver) el ladrón?
  10. ¿Qué ________ (traer) ustedes a la fiesta?

 

 

Answer key: 1. Vino, 2. Hicimos, 3. Dije, 4. Estuvo, 5. Puso, 6. Supiste, 7. Tuvieron, 8. Pagué, 9. Viste, 10. Trajeron

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