Spanish Irregular Past Tense Verbs
The Spanish preterit 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.
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.
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)
VER (to see)
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 –cé in the YO FORM ONLY (comenzar –> yo comencé)
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Common European Framework of Reference for Languages
The CEFR is an international standard used to describe language ability. Here are specific details of the CEFR for this topic.