How to conjugate irregular verbs in Spanish Preterits.

Updated: Dec 22, 2020

If you already have some experience in learning Spanish, you probably know that recalling the conjugation of the verb requires extra practice. When we study tenses that have a lot of irregular forms we need to focus on memorizing them. This is the case of the Preterit.

We can say that this tense is the most irregular of all. But, what is an irregular form or conjugation?

A verb has two parts: root or stem and ending. Normally, to conjugate a verb it’s enough to change the ending of the infinitive (ar - er - ir) according to tense and person. Verbs that behave this way are called regular verbs:

Infinitive form of Spanish regular verbs.

On the other hand, irregular verbs can have changes that imply different endings, different stems or both. For example:

Infinitive form of Spanish regular verbs.

As can be seen in the examples above, both the stem and the ending varies in different ways. As the verb ‘atacar, we will see many other verbs that, being regular in some tenses, are irregular in others.

Let's go into how to learn irregular verbs?

Irregular verbs don’t follow the same conjugation patterns as regular verbs, but luckily, they do follow patterns that we can identify and study. By classifying them we can identify them easier and we can apply a general concept to broader groups.