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Did you know there are hundreds of irregular Spanish verbs?
Verb conjugations can be tricky, especially when they don’t follow a standard pattern, which is the case with irregular verbs in Spanish.
In this guide, we’ll explain what the Spanish irregular verbs are and give you a list of 50 that are worth remembering, to help you express yourself in Spanish, and improve your spoken language skills.
What are irregular Spanish verbs?
Irregular Spanish verbs don’t follow a regular Spanish verb conjugation.
Let's think about the English verb “to tell”. In the present tense, you simply write a pronoun before the verb. The only exception is the third-person singular form that has an “s” at the end.
But in Spanish verb conjugation, this happens differently as decir (to tell) is an irregular verb.
|First person singular||I – yo||tell – digo|
|Second person singular||You - tú||tell – dices|
|Third person singular||he/she/it – él, ella||tells – dice|
|First person plural||We – nosotros||tell – decimos|
|Second person plural||You – ustedes||tell – dicen|
|Third person plural||They – ellos/ellas||tell – dicen|
Irregular Spanish verbs don’t respect the stem of the infinitive and, in some verbs, amar (to love), temer (to fear) and partir (to leave), they don’t take the endings either. Irregular Spanish verbs can show differences in the stem, the ending or in both elements of the word, when they’re conjugated in verb tenses.
How does this work?
Let’s conjugate the irregular verb amar (to love) and compare it to the example verb jugar (to play) in the third person singular of the simple past perfect indicative mood (perfect preterite simple). The stem of the verb is in bold.
Irregular vs. regular verb conjugation
|Example verb||Irregular verb|
|Verb in infinitive||amar||jugar|
As you can see, the stem of the verb jugar has changed. This is a stem-changing verb from “u” to “ue.”
But irregular Spanish verbs don’t necessarily change in all tenses and moods.
How many irregular verbs are there in Spanish?
There are more than 250 irregular verbs in Spanish, but they vary in the intensity of their irregularity.
To start with, there are different types of irregularities. Let's take a look at some examples:
Stem changing verbs
Stem changing verb from “u” to “ue”
To fit - caber: yo quepo, tú cabes, él cabe
Stem changing from “e” to “ie”
To understand - entender: yo entiendo, tú entiendes, él entiende
Stem changing from “o” to “ue” and “hue”
To eat lunch - almorzar: yo almuerzo, tú almuerzas, él almuerza
To smell - oler: you huelo, tú hueles, él huele
Note: an “h” in Spanish is always silent so it doesn't have any effect on pronunciation.
Stem changing from “e” to “i”
To say/to tell - decir: yo digo, tú dices, él dice
Spanish verbs with an irregular “yo” form with no stem change
- To fit - caber: yo quepo, tú cabes, él cabe
Spanish verbs with an irregular “yo” form with a stem change
- To say/to tell - decir: yo digo, tú dices, él dice
50 irregular Spanish verbs you need to know
Spanish irregular verbs list
- Acertar – to get it right
- Adquirir – to acquire
- Advertir – to advise, warn
- Agradecer – to thank
- Almorzar – to eat lunch
- Andar – to walk, have (existence),
- Asir – to seize
- Atender – to attend to
- Caber – to fit
- Caer – to fall
- Ceñir – to surround
- Comenzar – to begin, start
- Conducir – to drive
- Construir – to build
- Contar – to count, relate, tell
- Dar – to give
- Decir – to tell, say
- Discernir – to discern, understand
- Dormir – to sleep
- Encontrar – to find
- Entender – to understand
- Erguir – to build, sit or stand up very straight
- Errar – to miss
- Estar – to be (location, health, state)
- Haber – to have (to do something, auxiliary verb)
- Hacer – to do, make
- Ir – to go
- Jugar – to play
- Leer – to read
- Lucir – to shine
- Mover – to move
- Oír – to hear
- Oler – to smell (to smell an object, to emit an odour)
- Pedir – to ask
- Poder – to be able, can
- Poner – to put
- Pudrir / Podrir – to rotten
- Querer – to want
- Roer – to gnaw, bite, chew repeatedly
- Saber – to know (information)
- Salir – to leave, go out
- Sentir – to feel, regret
- Ser – to be (permanent quality)
- Sonreír – to smile
- Tener – to have
- Traer – to bring
- Valer – be worth
- Venir – to come
- Ver – to see
- Yacer – to lay down
Ready to learn more?
Now you know irregular verbs like tell, go, put, be, have and come, you can start putting them into practice to better express yourself in Busuu’s complete Spanish course on our interactive app.
We have courses for all learning levels, so if you’re ready to refresh your grammar skills, or if you just starting out, we can help with a simple placement test as you begin.
Irregular verb conjugation and irregular preterite verbs
Here’s a list of Spanish irregular verb conjugation and irregular preterite verbs.
The pronoun ustedes is used in Latin America, compared to Spain where vosotros is used.
1. Decir – to tell
- Yo digo – I tell
- Tú dices (vos decís)– you tell
- Él/ella/usted dice – he/she tells
- Nosotros decimos – we tell
- Vosotros decís – you (pl.) tell
- Ellos/ellas/ustedes dicen – they tell
Simple past tense (decir preterite): yo dije - I told
2. Ir – to go
- Yo voy – I go
- Tú/vos vas – you go
- Él/ella/usted va – he/she goes
- Nosotros vamos – we go
- Vosotros vais – you (pl.) go
- Ellos/ellas/ustedes van – they go
Simple past tense (ir preterite): yo fui - I went
3. Oler – to smell
- Yo huelo – I smell
- Tú hueles (vos olés) – you smell
- Él/ella/usted huele – he/she smells
- Nosotros olemos – we smell
- Vosotros oléis – you (pl.) smell
- Ellos/ellas/ustedes huelen – they smell
Simple past tense (oler preterite): yo olí - I smelled
4. Poner – to put
- Yo pongo – I put
- Tú pones (vos ponés) – you put
- Él/ella/usted pone – he/she puts
- Nosotros ponemos – we put
- Vosotros ponéis – you (pl.) put
- Ellos/ellas/ustedes ponen – they put
Simple past tense (poner preterite): yo puse - I put
5. Ser – to be
- Yo soy – I am
- Tú eres (vos sos) – you are
- Él/ella/usted es – he/she is
- Nosotros somos – we are
- Vosotros sóis – you (pl.) are
- Ellos/ellas/ustedes son – they are
Simple past tense (ser preterite): yo fui - I was
We highly recommend you to learn these conjugations by heart since the verb “to be” is constantly used in Spanish conversations, reading and writing.
This verb is used to tell the time in Spanish.
- Es la una de la tarde. (It´s one in the afternoon)
- Son las siete de la mañana. (It 's seven in the morning).
6. Tener – to have
- Yo tengo – I have
- Tú tienes (vos tenés) – you have
- Él/ella/usted tiene – he/she has
- Nosotros tenemos – we have
- Vosotros tenéis – you (pl.) have
- Ellos/ellas/ustedes tienen – they have
Simple past tense (tener preterite): yo tuve - I had
7. Venir – to come
- Yo vengo – I come
- Tú vienes (vos venís) – you come
- Él/ella/usted viene – he/she comes
- Nosotros venimos – we come
- Vosotros venís – you (pl.) come
- Ellos/ellas/ustedes vienen – they come
Simple past tense (venir preterite): yo vine - I came
These 50 irregular Spanish verbs are just the beginning, there’s so much more to learn with Busuu
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