Skip to main content
Humanities LibreTexts

9.4: Irregular Preterite Verbs, Part 2

  • Page ID
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \)

    \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    ( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\)

    \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\)

    \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\)

    \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\)

    \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\)

    \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorA}[1]{\vec{#1}}      % arrow\)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorAt}[1]{\vec{\text{#1}}}      % arrow\)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorB}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorC}[1]{\textbf{#1}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorD}[1]{\overrightarrow{#1}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorDt}[1]{\overrightarrow{\text{#1}}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectE}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash{\mathbf {#1}}}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \)

    \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)

    \(\newcommand{\avec}{\mathbf a}\) \(\newcommand{\bvec}{\mathbf b}\) \(\newcommand{\cvec}{\mathbf c}\) \(\newcommand{\dvec}{\mathbf d}\) \(\newcommand{\dtil}{\widetilde{\mathbf d}}\) \(\newcommand{\evec}{\mathbf e}\) \(\newcommand{\fvec}{\mathbf f}\) \(\newcommand{\nvec}{\mathbf n}\) \(\newcommand{\pvec}{\mathbf p}\) \(\newcommand{\qvec}{\mathbf q}\) \(\newcommand{\svec}{\mathbf s}\) \(\newcommand{\tvec}{\mathbf t}\) \(\newcommand{\uvec}{\mathbf u}\) \(\newcommand{\vvec}{\mathbf v}\) \(\newcommand{\wvec}{\mathbf w}\) \(\newcommand{\xvec}{\mathbf x}\) \(\newcommand{\yvec}{\mathbf y}\) \(\newcommand{\zvec}{\mathbf z}\) \(\newcommand{\rvec}{\mathbf r}\) \(\newcommand{\mvec}{\mathbf m}\) \(\newcommand{\zerovec}{\mathbf 0}\) \(\newcommand{\onevec}{\mathbf 1}\) \(\newcommand{\real}{\mathbb R}\) \(\newcommand{\twovec}[2]{\left[\begin{array}{r}#1 \\ #2 \end{array}\right]}\) \(\newcommand{\ctwovec}[2]{\left[\begin{array}{c}#1 \\ #2 \end{array}\right]}\) \(\newcommand{\threevec}[3]{\left[\begin{array}{r}#1 \\ #2 \\ #3 \end{array}\right]}\) \(\newcommand{\cthreevec}[3]{\left[\begin{array}{c}#1 \\ #2 \\ #3 \end{array}\right]}\) \(\newcommand{\fourvec}[4]{\left[\begin{array}{r}#1 \\ #2 \\ #3 \\ #4 \end{array}\right]}\) \(\newcommand{\cfourvec}[4]{\left[\begin{array}{c}#1 \\ #2 \\ #3 \\ #4 \end{array}\right]}\) \(\newcommand{\fivevec}[5]{\left[\begin{array}{r}#1 \\ #2 \\ #3 \\ #4 \\ #5 \\ \end{array}\right]}\) \(\newcommand{\cfivevec}[5]{\left[\begin{array}{c}#1 \\ #2 \\ #3 \\ #4 \\ #5 \\ \end{array}\right]}\) \(\newcommand{\mattwo}[4]{\left[\begin{array}{rr}#1 \amp #2 \\ #3 \amp #4 \\ \end{array}\right]}\) \(\newcommand{\laspan}[1]{\text{Span}\{#1\}}\) \(\newcommand{\bcal}{\cal B}\) \(\newcommand{\ccal}{\cal C}\) \(\newcommand{\scal}{\cal S}\) \(\newcommand{\wcal}{\cal W}\) \(\newcommand{\ecal}{\cal E}\) \(\newcommand{\coords}[2]{\left\{#1\right\}_{#2}}\) \(\newcommand{\gray}[1]{\color{gray}{#1}}\) \(\newcommand{\lgray}[1]{\color{lightgray}{#1}}\) \(\newcommand{\rank}{\operatorname{rank}}\) \(\newcommand{\row}{\text{Row}}\) \(\newcommand{\col}{\text{Col}}\) \(\renewcommand{\row}{\text{Row}}\) \(\newcommand{\nul}{\text{Nul}}\) \(\newcommand{\var}{\text{Var}}\) \(\newcommand{\corr}{\text{corr}}\) \(\newcommand{\len}[1]{\left|#1\right|}\) \(\newcommand{\bbar}{\overline{\bvec}}\) \(\newcommand{\bhat}{\widehat{\bvec}}\) \(\newcommand{\bperp}{\bvec^\perp}\) \(\newcommand{\xhat}{\widehat{\xvec}}\) \(\newcommand{\vhat}{\widehat{\vvec}}\) \(\newcommand{\uhat}{\widehat{\uvec}}\) \(\newcommand{\what}{\widehat{\wvec}}\) \(\newcommand{\Sighat}{\widehat{\Sigma}}\) \(\newcommand{\lt}{<}\) \(\newcommand{\gt}{>}\) \(\newcommand{\amp}{&}\) \(\definecolor{fillinmathshade}{gray}{0.9}\)

    The next group of irregular verbs in el pretérito takes a spelling change in the third person singular and the third-person plural forms. These are also known as the “usted/él/ella” and “ustedes/ellos/ellas” forms.

    You might think of this group of irregulars as “flip-flop verbs” because they only take spelling changes at the bottom of our conjugation tables. If we draw a circle around them, we can imagine a sandal (instead of a boot, like we saw with present tense stem-changers).

    There are two kinds of verbs that behave in this way: -IR stem-changers and –ER and –IR verbs that have a stem that ends in a vowel.


    Group 1: -IR stem-changers

    If a verb is an –IR stem-changer in the present tense, it is going to be a bit irregular in el pretérito.

    First: it only stem-changes in the third-person forms.

    Second: it can only change from e to i -or- o to u.


    Group 2: -ER and –IR verbs that have a stem that ends in a vowel

    If an -ER or –IR verb has a stem that ends in a vowel, we have to do a spelling change down in the “flip flop” in order to avoid having three vowels back-to-back-to-back. It’s all about the sound and flow of these verbs, so we change the “i” in -ió and –ieron to a “y.”

    Also, unless the stem ends in a “u,” you’ll see that there are accents in more of the forms than usual. This is because of the way certain vowels interact with each other, but the reasons why this happens are not something we are focusing on in this lesson.

    Actividad 18

    Foundations. Conjugate the –ir stem-changers below in the preterite tense. Then, fill in the blanks to complete the sentences below.

    1. ¿Qué________ tú la última vez que saliste a cenar?
    2. Mi hija apenas ________ anoche, así que yo no ________ nada tampoco.
    3. Yo probé tres sabores de helado en la heladería, y ________ la fresa. Mi esposo ________ el helado de menta.

    Other common –IR stem-changers include:

    repetir (e:i), seguir (e:i), conseguir (e:i), sentir(se) (e:ie, i), servir (e:i), mentir (e:ie, i), convertir(se) (e:ie i), morir(se) (o:ue, u): to die; using the reflexive makes it more emotional

    Actividad 19

    Sopa de palabras. Use the scattered words below to construct five complete sentences. The subjects and infinitives will be provided. Conjugate, then finish the sentence creatively.


    1. ________

    2. ________

    3. ________


    5. ________

    Por ejemplo:

    Manuel le mintió a su esposa porque no quiere arruinar la sorpresa.

    Actividad 20

    Foundations. Conjugate the “y changers” below in the preterite tense. Then, fill in the blanks to complete the sentences below.

    1. Mi abuelo ________ esta casa en el año 1938.
    2. Jorgito y su hermano Carlos ________ toda la noche juntos.
    3. Daniel ___ ________ y se le rompió el brazo, por eso tiene un yeso.

    Other common –ER and –IR stem-changers verbs that have stems that end in a vowel are: creer: to believe, destruir: to destroy, incluir: to include, concluir: to conclude & oír: to hear

    Exceptions: seguir and conseguir don’t belong to this group because the u is not pronounced.

    Actividad 21

    Rellenar el espacio. Using –ER and –IR verbs that have a stem that ends in a vowel, fill in the blank with the appropriate form of the verbs provided in el pretérito.

    1. La reunión ________ sin un acuerdo* mutuo. (concluir) *an agreement

    2. Todos mis parientes son muy trabajadores y talentosos. Mi papá y mi tío ________ nuestra casa hace 15 años, y mi abuelo ________ su casa en el año 1953 después de un incendio que ________ la casa en que vivían antes. (construir, construir, destruir)

    3. Esta mañana, yo ________ el periódico. Mi esposo se despertó tarde, y por eso no lo ________. (leer, leer)

    4. Yo les dije la verdad a mis padres, pero ellos no me ________. (creer)

    5. Jorgito y Carlitos ________ sus libros favoritos antes de acostarse. (leer)

    6. La silla que compré en Amazon llegó ayer, pero no ________ instrucciones de esamblaje*. (incluir) *assembly

    7. Yo ________ en Papá Noel hasta los doce años. (creer)

    8. ¿________ tú ese sonido*? (oír) *sound


    Actividad 22

    Submarino. The object of this game is to find the location of you classmate’s submarinos. First, draw four submarinos on your grid and keep them a secret from your partner. To guess a square on your partner’s grid, conjugate the verbs from the top row based on a subject given in the left-hand column. If there is a submarino in that square, your partner will say, “Lo acertaste” (you hit it). If there is no submarino, your partner will respond, “Fallaste” (You missed). Take turns, and keep track of hits and misses on your grid. The first person to locate all four submarinos wins!













    Tu mejor





    This page titled 9.4: Irregular Preterite Verbs, Part 2 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.