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Car Gar Zar Verbs in Spanish: Present & Preterite

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  • 0:00 -Car, -Gar, & -Zar:…
  • 2:48 -Car, -Gar, & - Zar: Preterite
  • 6:25 Let's Practice
  • 7:46 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Angelica Roy

Angelica is an educator and a journalist. She has a master's degree in education, a bachelor's degree in linguistics and languages, and a second major in journalism.

The letters -car -gar, and -zar are Spanish verb endings. These verbs change their spelling conjugation in the first person singular 'yo.' In this lesson, you will learn how to conjugate them in the present and preterite forms.

-Car, -Gar, -Zar; Present Tense

Ever notice some similarities in Spanish words? Keep a lookout for them, as they can help you understand patterns in the language. For example, the letters -car, -gar, and -zar are verb endings in Spanish. You'll see them everywhere, and they actually offer a clue as to how they should be conjugated. The conjugation of these verbs in the present tense is like any other regular verb in Spanish. Let's see, then.

The verb sacar means 'to take out.' As as example of a verb ending in '-car,' let's take a look at its conjugation:

Pronoun Present Tense English
yo saco I take out
sacas you take out (informal)
él
ella
usted
saca he takes out
she takes out
you take out (formal)
nosotros (as) sacamos we take out
vosotros (as) sacáis you take out (Spain)
ustedes
ellos
ellas
sacan you take out
they take out (male)
they take out (female)

The verb cargar means 'to carry.' As as example of a verb ending in '-gar,' let's take a look at its conjugation:

Pronoun Present Tense English
yo cargo I carry
cargas you carry (informal)
él
ella
usted
carga he carries
she carries
you carry (formal)
nosotros (as) cargamos we carry
vosotros (as) cargáis you carry (Spain)
ustedes
ellos
ellas
cargan you carry
they carry (male)
they carry (female)

The verb gozar means 'to enjoy.' As as example of a verb ending in '-zar,' let's take a look at its conjugation:

Pronoun Present Tense English
yo gozo I enjoy
gozas you enjoy (informal)
él
ella
usted
goza he enjoys
she enjoys
you enjoy (formal)
nosotros (as) gozamos we enjoy
vosotros (as) gozáis you enjoy (Spain)
ustedes
ellos
ellas
gozan you enjoy
they enjoy (male)
they enjoy (female)

These three verbs have the same endings in the present tense. The spelling of the verbs do not change. However when we're talking about the preterite, the spelling of these three verbs will change.

-Car, -Gar, -Zar; Preterite

When we conjugate these verbs in the preterite, the spelling of the first person singular conjugation changes.

Pronoun Preterite Tense English
yo saqué I took out
sacaste you took out (informal)
él
ella
usted
sacó he took out
she took out
you took out (formal)
nosotros (as) sacamos we took out
vosotros (as) sacásteis you took out (Spain)
ustedes
ellos
ellas
sacaron you took out
they took out (male)
they took out (female)

For the first person singular yo, change the c for the qu for the syllable to sound -qué. This only happens to verbs ending in -car in the preterite tense. For instance:

  • buscar (to look for) = yo busqué
  • clasificar (to classify) = yo clasifiqué
  • empacar (to pack) = yo empaqué
  • practicar (to practice) = yo practiqué
  • tocar = (to touch, to play) = yo toqué

Let's look at -gar in the preterite.

Pronoun Preterite Tense English
yo carg I carried
cargaste you carried (informal)
él
ella
usted
cargó he carried
she carried
you carried (formal)
nosotros (as) cargamos we carried
vosotros (as) cargásteis you carried (Spain)
ustedes
ellos
ellas
cargaron you carried
they carried (male)
they carried (female)

Notice that for the first person singular yo, you change the g for the gu for the syllable to sound -gué. This only happens to verbs ending in -gar in the preterite tense. For instance:

  • jugar (to play) = yo jugué
  • llegar (to arrive) = yo llegué
  • pagar (to pay) = yo pagué
  • rogar (to beg) = yo rogué
  • apagar (to turn off) = yo apagué

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