Spanish 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

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:

yo -e nosotros -imos
-iste vosotros (used only in Spain) -isteis
él, ella, usted -o and finally, ellos, ellas, ustedes -ieron

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  vin
Hacer becomes hic
Estar becomes  estuv
Poder becomes pud
poner becomes pus
tener becomes tuv
saber becomes sup
querer becomes quis
traer becomes traj
decir becomes dij
conducir becomes  conduj
traducir becomes traduj

Now let’s take another look at the endings.

yo -e nosotros -imos
-iste vosotros (used only in Spain) -isteis
él, ella, usted -o ellos, ellas, ustedes -ieron

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: (yo) fui We were /
We went is:
(nosotros) fuimos
(Juana) You were / You went is: (tú) fuiste You were / You went (used only in Spain) is: (vosotros) fuisteis
He, she or you were / went is: (él, ella, usted) fue They / All of you were or went is: (ellos, ellas, ustedes) fueron

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.