Los verbos irregulares en el pretérito


  • Understand the irregular preterite verb conjugation

By now we have learned the preterit past tense, including the conjugation of regular verbs, verbs with a spelling change to preserve their pronunciation, and stem-changing verbs. All of those groups of verbs use the same sets of endings (for -AR verbs or for -ER/-IR verbs) in the preterit, but may change a stem vowel or consonant. Now we’ll learn the irregular preterit verbs, which have irregular stems and irregular endings. You’ll note that none of the irregular preterit verbs have accent marks on their endings.

There are a lot of irregular verbs in the preterit, and you’ll need to pay close attention to small details that may change, for example sometimes the 3rd person plural ending is “-eron” instead of “-ieron”. It may help to remember them in sub-groups that have similar (not always identical!) irregularities.

List of irregular preterit verbs:

Stone monument with a flame burning

Monumento a los Caídos por España: “Honor a todos los que dieron su vida por España.”

  • Play AudioAndar (to walk) – anduve, anduviste, anduvo, anduvimos, anduvisteis, anduvieron
  • Play AudioEstar (to be) – estuve, estuviste, estuvo, estuvimos, estuvisteis, estuvieron
  • Play AudioTener (to have) – tuve, tuviste, tuvo, tuvimos, tuvisteis, tuvieron
  • Play AudioConducir (to drive) – conduje, condujiste, condujo, condujimos, condujisteis, condujeron
  • Play AudioDecir (to say, to tell) – dije, dijiste, dijo, dijimos, dijisteis, dijeron
  • Play AudioTraer (to bring) – traje, trajiste, trajo, trajimos, trajisteis, trajeron
  • Play AudioPoder (to be able) – pude, pudiste, pudo, pudimos, pudisteis, pudieron
  • Play AudioPoner (to put) – puse, pusiste, puso, pusimos, pusisteis, pusieron
  • Play AudioSaber (to know) – supe, supiste, supo, supimos, supisteis, supieron
  • Play AudioDar (to give) – di, diste, dio, dimos, disteis, dieron
  • Play AudioHacer (to make, to do) – hice, hiciste, hizo, hicimos, hicisteis, hicieron
  • Play AudioQuerer (to want) – quise, quisiste, quiso, quisimos, quisisteis, quisieron
  • Play AudioVenir (to come) – vine, viniste, vino, vinimos, vinisteis, vinieron
  • Play AudioVer (to see) – vi, viste, vio, vimos, visteis, vieron
  • Play AudioIr (to go) – fui, fuiste, fue, fuimos, fuisteis, fueron
  • Play AudioSer (to be) – fui, fuiste, fue, fuimos, fuisteis, fueron

Did you notice?

  • Which verbs lose the “i” in the third person plural, i.e. which ones have the “-eron” ending instead of -ieron?
  • Which of these irregular verbs is a good example of the spelling change rule, “z changes to c before i and before e”?
  • What’s the difference between the preterit conjugations of “ser” and of “ir”?