Spanish preterite tense irregular verbs

In a previous post, we learned how to conjugate regular verbs in the preterite tense (pretérito indefinido) and in another how to conjugate irregular verbs in the third person. Today we are going to focus on a small group of very irregulars verbs in the preterite tense in Spanish. As I have already said there aren’t many, but we need to focus very much on them because they have very radical changes and they are used all the time.

Verbos SER, IR, VER and DAR in the preterite

Irregular verbs in the preterite

If you look at the chart above you will notice that VER and DAR have both the same ending that the regular verbs ending in -er and -ir, but without the orthographic accents, they look very irregular because they are very short, but they follow nearly the same regular pattern. The next thing that looks really funny is that there is only one conjugation for SER and IR, so FUI can be translated as I went or I was. Keep calm! When you see these couple of verbs in context it is really difficult to mistake them.

Pablo Picasso fue un gran artista (Pablo Picasso was a great artist).

Picasso fue a Paris para trabajar (Javier went to Bogotá last year).

Spanish preterite irregular verbs

The verbs below belong to a small group, but very important, that change their stem dramatically and add a set of endings slightly different to those in regular verbs, actually is something in between those ending in -ar or -er/-ir.

Preterite irregular verbs

Look at the chart and notice that:

1.  in HACER, «C» becomes «Z» before a «O«, this is just to keep the sound:

Juan hizo sus deberes (Juan did his homewors).

2. All the verbs that have a “j” drop the “I” in ellos/ustedes: dijeron, produjeron, trajeron, tradujeron.

Ernesto tradujo el documento. (Ernesto translated the document).

¿Trajiste tú el vino? (Did you bring the wine?)

3. All the verbs ending in « UCIR» are going to be conjugated as PRODUCIR: traducir (translate), introducir (introduce), reducir (reduce)

Tradujimos el documento al inglés (we translated the document into English).

La empresa redujo los gastos (The company reduced the expenses).

Exercises about the irregular verbs in the preterite

This is all about this group of irregular verbs in the past, now is time to practice everything that you have learned with the activity below. Click on the link if you want to see the differences between preterite and imperfect tense, and remember to contact your tutor if you have any questions. Don’t you have a Spanish personal tutor yet?

Click on the link below if you want to continue practicing the preterite with more quizzes and word games!  

4 comentarios en «Spanish preterite tense irregular verbs»

  1. Muchas gracias, Lidia. Estamos preparando los materiales para el nuevo curso y cualquier sugerencia será bienvenida.

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