Irregular verbs Spanish Present Tense


Regular verbs and Irregular verbs in the present tense

In this post we are going to focus on the irregular verbs of the Spanish Present Tense. .

Regular verbs are the ones that follow a pattern in certain tense. Therefore, irregular verbs do not follow the pattern. You can read more about type of verbs in our post about Types of Spanish Verbs (click here) and more about the regular present tense in our post about the present tense (click here).

Types of irregular present tense verbs

Unfortunatelly, there are a lot of irregular verbs in the present Spanish tense. In order to make it simple, we can study them in different groups, as follows:

types-irregular-verbs-present-tense-tipos-de-verbos-irregulares-en-el-presente-de-indicativo
Exhibit: Types of Irregular Present Tense Verbs
  • Type 1: They behave as regular verbs, but all the persons excepting “nosotros” and “vosotros” change one of the vowels when they conjugate. There are 4 different tipical changes as stated in the exhibit.
  • Type 2: They behave as regular verbs, but the first person is irregular.
  • Type 3: They behave as regular verbs, but all the persons excepting “nosotros” and “vosotros” change one of the vowels when they conjugate. There are 4 different tipical changes. The first person is also irregular.
  • Type 4: They are totally irregular.

Type One: Change of vowels of the stem

irregulars-present-tense-change-vowel-stem-presente-de-indicativo-irregulares-cambio-vocálico-querer-pedir-poder-jugar-to want-to order-to can- pto play
Exhibit: Irregular Present Verbs Type 1: Stem changing verbs

As you can see, type 1 irregular verbs behave as regular verbs, but all the persons excepting “nosotros” and “vosotros” change one of the vowels when they conjugate. There are 4 different tipical changes as stated in the exhibit.

The verbs in the exhibit are examples, there is a group of verbs that behave like them. You can see the list of verbs and related exibits in a post coming soon or in our book, where you can find plenty of exercises, charts already printed and flashcards to practice all about the present tense. It is like a workbook covering A1 level (check the book and price here in amazon).

Type 2: Only the first person is irregular

irregular-present-verb-verbos-irregulares-presente-first-person-irregular-primera-persona-irregular
Exhibit: Irregular Present Verbs Type 2: Only first person is irregular

These verbs behave as regular verbs, only the first person is irregular.

For example, in order to conjugate the verb “salir” (to go out), we would work it out as follows: yo salgo, tú sales, él sale, nosotros salimos, vosotros salís y ellos salen.

Type 3: They change the stem and the first person is irregular (type 3 = type 1 + type 2)

irregular-type-3-tres-three-venir-decir-tener-to come-to say-to have-present-tense-grammar-gramática-española-irregulares
Exhibit: Irregular Present Verbs Type 3: Type 1 plus Type 2: venir, decir, tener.

These verbs are affected by irregularity type 1 plus irregularity type 2. Their stem changes but also their first person is irregular.

These verbs are only venir (to come), decir (to say) and tener (to have).

Type 4: Completely irregular verbs

completely-irregulars-present-tense-ser-estar-tener-to be-tobe-to have-verbos-completamente-irregulares-presente-de-indicativo
Exhibit: Irregular Present Verbs Type 4: completely irregular present verbs: ser, estar, tener.

These three verbs are completely irregular. As you know “to be” is also very difficult to learn for an english speaker because in Spanish we use two verbs “ser” and “estar” whereas in English we only use the verb “to be: am, is, are”.

amsoyestoy
isesestá
areeresestás
somosestamos
soisestáis
sonestán

In this sense, in English we only use “am, is, are” where as in Spanish “am” may be “soy” or “estoy”, is may be “es” or “está” and “are” may be, depending on the person. To make things even more complecated, sometimes in Spanish “I am”, for example, can be “tengo”, as when we are cold we do not say “soy frío” but “tengo frío”.

There are may exercises, summary charts and flashcards about ser, estar and tener verbs and the present tense in general in our book, which you can order through amazon here (paperback) or here (online version). It is very affordable in order to offer a good resource to practice already printed and organised.

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