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Preterite Very Irregular Verbs — Spanish Verb Conjugation

The “Very Irregular Spine Verb” Spanish lesson is the last set of irregular Spine verbs left to cover. These irregular spine verbs are very different from any of the other irregulars. They have both irregular endings as well as stem changes. This is a great step in learning a foreign language!

Spanish Mini Course - Preterite Very Irregular Verbs



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First, let’s take a look at the stem changes, then we’ll look at the new endings. I recommend going over this section a few times until you feel comfortable with these verbs and they start to sound natural to you. The good thing is that each of the verbs keeps the same stem through all of the conjugations (yo, tu, el, ella ud. and so forth)Let’s take a look at each Spanish verb and its irregular stem. Are you ready?

venir becomes             vin-
hacer becomes             hic-
estar becomes              estuv- 
poder becomes            pud-
poner becomes            pus-
tener becomes             tuv-
saber becomes             sup-
querer becomes           quis-

Now let’s look at the endings that go along with these verbs:






vosotros (used only in Spain)


él, ella, usted


and finally, ellos, ellas, ustedes


Now watch and see how it works. If I wanted to say “I came.” I would say “vine”

The phrase “She came” would be “vino”

 “We came” would be “vinimos”.

This works the same for every verb, but I’ll show you a few examples to help you better retain the concept.

In Spanish, the phrase “They put” would be “pusieron”, and “Juana, you put” would be “pusiste”.

Now, we’ll look at four more Spanish verbs that have a slight variation. They are the verbs “traer”, “decir”, “conducir” and “traducir” which means “to translate”.

The stems of these words are: traduj-, traj-, dij-, and conduj-.  The variation I was talking about with these verbs is for “ellos, ellas, and uds.” instead of the “i-e-r-o-n” ending, it’s simply “e-r-o-n” or “eron”.

Let’s try a few. The phrase “I said” would be “dije”. The phrase “they said” would be “dijeron”.

To say “I translated” would be “traduje”  and “they, or all of you translated” would be “tradujeron”.

Now, let’s run through the irregular stems one more time and the endings. As we go over them, try to memorize them.

venir becomes            


Hacer becomes           


Estar becomes            


Poder becomes           


poner becomes           


tener becomes            


saber becomes            


querer becomes          


traer becomes             


decir becomes            


conducir becomes      


traducir becomes        


Now let’s take another look at the endings.






vosotros (used only in Spain)


él, ella, usted


ellos, ellas, ustedes


Now, before we go to the practice session, we need to learn two more verbs that don’t fit into any category. They are the preterite, or “spine” form of the verbs “ir” and “ser”. Remember that “ir” means “to go” and “ser” means “to be”. The great thing is that the spine, or preterite conjugation of these verbs is the same. The only way to tell them apart is by the context in which they’re used.

Let’s take a look:

I was / I went is:



We were /
We went is:



(Juana) You were / You went is:



You were / You went (used only in Spain) is:



He, she or you were / went is:

(él, ella, usted)


They / All of you were or went is:

(ellos, ellas, ustedes)


As you just saw, the verb “fui” means either “I went” or “I was” depending on the context. Take one more look at these verbs and continue when you’re ready,

Moving on now, you can continue to the practice session. Otherwise, you can continue to review this section until you feel like you have a good grasp on it. Before we begin our practice session, there are a few new words that you need to learn.

The first one is

late,                             tarde
early                           temprano
earlier                         más temprano
on time                        a tiempo
far                                lejos
fast                              rápido

As you continue on to the practice session, see if you can remember these very irregular verbs and their endings.

Spansih Spine Practice Session

This practice session will review the irregular verbs you learned in the previous lesson. Since these verbs are so irregular, I highly recommend going over this lesson 3 to 4 times until the verbs start to sound natural to you. Are you ready?

I came yesterday

Vine ayer

(Marta) You did it well

Lo hiciste bien

He was at the store

Estuvo en la tienda

She couldn’t finish it

No pudo terminarlo

(Sra. Rodríguez) You didn’t put it here.

No lo puso aquí

We had to go

Tuvimos que ir

They wanted to eat on time

Quisieron comer a tiempo

All of you brought it

Lo trajeron

I said it.

Lo dije

(Pepe) You drove (starts with ‘c’) far

Condujiste lejos

He translated it earlier

Lo tradujo más temprano

She came early

Vino temprano

(Sr. Mendes) You didn’t do it

No lo hiciste

We were there last night

Estuvimos allí anoche

They couldn’t eat

No pudieron comer

All of you put it here

Lo pusieron aquí

I had to leave earlier

Tuve que salir más temprano

(Marta) You wanted to eat

Quisiste comer

He brought it yesterday

Lo trajo ayer

She didn’t say it.

No lo dijo

(Sra. Rodríguez) You drove yesterday

Condujiste ayer

We translated it

Lo tradujimos

They came fast

Vinieron rápido

All of you did it. Right?

Lo hicieron. ¿No?

I wasn’t there.

No estuve allí

(Pepe) You couldn’t go. Right?

No pusiste ir. ¿No?

He put it here.

Lo puso aquí

She had to rest.

Tuvo que descansar

(Sr. Mendes) You wanted to read. Didn’t you?

Quiso leer. ¿No?

We brought it yesterday

Lo trajimos ayer.

They didn’t tell.

No dijeron.

All of you drove. Didn’t you.

Condujeron. ¿No?

I translated it on time

Lo traduje a tiempo

How did you do with those lessons? If you didn’t do as well as you would’ve liked, I recommend reviewing this section until you start to develop an ear for it.

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