Common Irregular Spanish Verbs

Instructor: Yolanda Reinoso Barzallo

Yolanda holds a CELTA Cambridge, a Juris Doctorate, and a Master of Public Administration. She is a published author of fiction in Spanish.

Irregular Spanish verbs follow certain patterns that differ from regular verbs, which is why we study them separately. This lesson lists the most common irregular verbs and includes basic conjugation rules for the simple present tense.

Patterns and Irregular Verbs

Both regular and irregular verbs in Spanish end in '-ar', '-er', or '-ir'. However, irregular verbs do not follow the patterns that a regular verb does for conjugation purposes. When you hear this, you might worry that learning irregular verbs will be hard. Well, great news! While there are some common irregular verbs you must learn to conjugate by heart, some irregular verbs follow specific patterns for the simple present conjugation, which is basic.

The existence of patterns gives you the advantage to quickly learn some of these irregular verbs. We begin this lesson with common irregular verbs you must learn by heart to then learn those that follow a pattern.

Basic Irregular Verbs

The following chart displays the verb in its infinitive form (ending in '-ar', '-er', or '-ir'), its meaning in English, and the simple present conjugation for the singular persons yo, tú, él, ella, and usted ('I', 'you' informal, 'he', 'she' and 'you' formal) and the plural persons nosotros/as, vosotros/as, ellos, ellas, and ustedes ('we' male and female, 'you' informal male and female, 'they' masculine and feminine, and 'you' formal) and an example to illustrate its use.

Verb Meaning Conjugation Singular Conjugation Plural Example
ser to be -for descriptive adjectives soy, eres, es somos, sois, son Yo soy puntual = I am punctual
estar to be -for location and mood estoy, estás, está estamos, estáis, están Ellos están tristes = They are sad
tener to have tengo, tienes, tiene tenemos, tenéis, tienen Nosotros tenemos una casa = We have a house
hacer to do/to make hago, haces, hace hacemos, hacéis, hacen Ella hace los deberes = She does the homework
ir to go voy, vas, va vamos, vais, van Yo voy a la playa = I go to the beach

Stem Changing Verbs

As mentioned before, many irregular verbs do follow a pattern. Their stem changes into a specific pattern when you conjugate them, then follow the same pattern as regular verbs in the present tense form. Let's take a look at how they work:

'E' to 'Ie'

This group of verbs change the 'e' vowel in their stem to 'ie', except for nosotros/as and vosotros/as. This chart displays the most common verbs:

Verb Meaning Conjugation Singular Conjugation Plural Example
pensar to think pienso, piensas, piensa pensamos, pensáis, piensan Ella piensa en él = She thinks of him
comenzar to start comienzo, comienzas, comienza comenzamos, comenzáis, comienzan Yo comienzo a estudiar = I start to study
querer to want quiero, quieres, quiere queremos, queréis, quieren I want an apple = You quiero una manzana
entender to understand entiendo, entiendes, entiende entendemos, entendéis, entienden Nosotros entendemos español = We understand Spanish
preferir to prefer prefiero, prefieres, prefiere preferimos, preferís, prefieren Ellos prefieren descansar = They prefer to rest

'O' to 'Ue'

This group of verbs change the 'o' vowel in their stem to 'ue', except for nosotros/as and vosotros/as. This chart displays the most common verbs:

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support