Preterit Irregulars 1

Preterit Irregulars 1

There are several groups of verbs that have a pattern of irregularity when conjugated in the preterit tense.

1. The first of these are -er and -ir verbs whose stem end in a vowel. Pay careful attention to 3rd person conjugations because that is where the irregularities occur. The “i” in the endings change to a “y”.

Verb Stem New Endings
yo -í nosotros -ímos
tú -íste vosotros -ísteis
él, ella, ud. -yó ellos(as), uds. -yeron


*There are some exceptions. “Traer”, “atraer”, and all verb ending in
“-guir” are not in this group.
Verbs ending in “-uir”, are in this group, but they will not have any accent marks on the endings -uiste, -uimos, and -uisteis. This includes verbs like “huir”, “concluir”, and others.

2. The next group of irregulars are verbs that end in -car, -gar, and -zar. These verbs will have a small spelling change in the yo form of the verb (or when followed by an e or an i. The reason for the change is so that the stem of the verb will maintain the same sounds as the infinitive form.
In -car verbs the “c” will change to a “qu”, in -gar verbs the “g” will change to “gu”, and in -zar verbs the “z” will change to a “c”. A verb like pagar would be “pagué”, sacar would be “saqué”, and gozar would be “gocé”.

3. The last group of irregulars are called sandal verbs. They are -er and -ir verbs that have a stem change in the present tense. These will only have a stem change in the third person singular and plural forms of the verb (él, ella, and usted and ellos, ellas, ustedes). Here are a few examples.

servir – “to serve”
serví servimos
serviste servisteis
sirvió sirvieron


dormir – “to sleep”
dormí dormimos
dormiste dormisteis
durmió durmieron

*If the verb stem ends in “ñ”, then you need to drop the “i” of the 3rd person endings.
(reñir – yo reñí, él riñó, ellos riñeron, etc.)


Facebooktwittergoogle_plusby feather