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9.3: Irregular Preterite Verbs, Part 1

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    · El pretérito has many irregular verbs. The first group we will see are verbs that end in –CAR, -GAR, or –ZAR (or “CAR-GAR-ZAR’s” for short).

    à These verbs take a spelling change in the yo’ form only.

    à All other forms of the verb are regular (it is the é ending of the yo form that is the reason for these changes).

    · While stem-changes are noted for some verbs below, remember that –AR verbs do not stem-change in the preterite.

    · A helpful memory trick is to remember that “CAR-GAR-ZAR’s get QUÉ-GUÉ-CÉ’s.”

    The yo form of –CAR verbs is “-qué.”

    This is to keep the hard “kuh” sound from the original infinitives, like sacar.

    All other forms of the verb are regular

    Common –CAR verbs:

    Buscar……………….To look for/ to search for

    Practicar……………………..…….To practice

    Sacar……………………….....…….To take out

    Tocar……………..…….To play an instrument

    Explicar……………….….......…….To explain

    Equivocarse…To make a mistake/ to be wrong

    The yo form of –GAR verbs is “-gué.”

    This is to keep the hard “guh” sound from the original infinitives, like pagar.

    All other forms of the verb are regular.

    Common –GAR verbs:

    Pagar……………….….......………..….To pay

    Jugar (u:ue)......…….To play a sport or a game

    Llegar.......…….To arrive/ to “get” somewhere

    Colgar (o:ue) ……….….......……...To hang up

    Castigar……………….….......……...To punish

    Apagar……………….….......…..….To turn off

    The yo form of –ZAR verbs is “-cé.”

    This change happens so we don’t break the spelling rule that doesn’t allow z-e when we put the é ending on the yo form.

    All other forms of the verb are regular.

    Common –ZAR verbs:

    Almorzar (o:ue)..……….......…….To eat lunch

    Empezar (e:ie)………………….To start/ begin

    Cruzar………………………......…….To cross

    Rezar……………………...….......…….To pray

    Alcanzar ………….To reach/ to achieve a goal

    Abrazar…………….......…….To hug/ embrace

    Actividad 15

    Foundations. First, conjugate the verbs sacar, pagar, and almorzar. Then, fill in the blanks to complete the sentences below.

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    1. Yo ________ muchas fotos durante las vacaciones. Mi esposo no ________ ninguna porque no le interesa la fotografía.
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    2. Yo no ________ nada cuando salí a cenar con mi papá. Él ________ la cuenta.
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    3. Yo ________ en la cafetería hace un mes. Mi colega ________ conmigo.

    Actividad 16

    Rellenar el espacio. Using el pretérito, fill in the blank with the correct form of the verbs provided.

    1. Ayer, mi esposo ________ (tocar) la guitarra y yo ________ (tocar) el piano.

    2. El lunes pasado, tres estudiantes ________ (llegar) tarde, pero yo ________ (llegar) a tiempo.

    3. El trimestre pasado, yo ________ (buscar) un libro en la biblioteca y no lo encontré. Después, el bibliotecario lo ________ (buscar) y lo encontró fácilmente.

    4. Ayer, yo ________ (almorzar) un sándwich de jamón y queso y mis amigos ________ (almorzar) pizza.

    5. Anoche, mi novia ________ (pagar) la cuenta en el restaurante porque yo la ________ (pagar) el fin de semana pasado.

    6. Mijo, yo ya te lo ________ (explicar) y tu padre te lo ________ (explicar) también – NO PUEDES TENER UNA RATA COMO MASCOTA.

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    Actividad 17

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    Un juego: Rompe-ladrillos.

    First, pair up with a classmate. Then, you will need a “dado,” a die (or a phone app that will roll dice for you). Each partner should roll the die once to determine who will take the first turn. The person who rolls the highest number will be Jugador A.

    El objetivo:

    Break as many bricks as possible. Extra points are earned for breaking bricks side-to-side and top-to-bottom.

    A jugar:

    Player A starts! The game board is located in the appendix at the back of the book.

    You will roll the die once to discover which verb you need to conjugate. A second roll of the die will tell you which form of the verb you need to use. The corresponding numbers are at the bottom of this sheet.

    In Spanish, say a number in the brick wall, trying to win that brick. If you say the number in English, you lose your turn. Roll the dice and conjugate the verb out loud. Your partner will be the judge of your conjugation, but if there is any doubt, call over your instructor. If you conjugate the verb correctly, you color in that brick. Jugador A and Jugador B should use different colored pens or markers.

    Now it’s Player B’s turn!

    A ganar:

    Once all of the bricks are broken, you get 1 point for each brick that you broke. Then, you get 3 bonus points if you break a set of bricks that connects your side to your opponent’s side, and 5 bonus points if you break a complete top-to-bottom column of 5 bricks.

    Tiro 1:

    1 Buscar

    2 Explicar

    3 Llegar

    4 Pagar

    5 Almorzar

    6 Empezar

    Tiro 2:

    1 Yo

    2 Tú

    3 Usted/ él/ ella

    4 Nosotr@s

    5 Vosotr@s

    6 Ustedes/ ellos/ ellas

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    This page titled 9.3: Irregular Preterite Verbs, Part 1 is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Ana Gómez de Torres and Claudia Díaz via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.