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Is there a way to know which verbs are stem changing?


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Old July 14, 2018, 09:46 AM
hellokitty hellokitty is offline
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Is there a way to know which verbs are stem changing?

I wanted to know is there a way to tell which verbs are stem changing. Im currently learning about the preterit and conjugating for past tense.
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Old July 14, 2018, 01:49 PM
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Rusty Rusty is offline
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What you're really asking about is irregular verbs. These, unfortunately, can only be memorized. The good thing is that there are fewer patterns to learn in the present tense than there are verbs that follow those patterns.

Let me point you to a website that may prove helpful. Use it to look up the conjugations for all Spanish verbs, especially those I will list as examples below!

In the present indicative (and, formed from the first-person, the present subjunctive), there are irregular first-person-singular verbs, like dar, saber, ver and salir.
There are spelling changes for only the first person, like hacer, conocer and escoger.
In the present indicative and the present subjunctive, there are stem-changing verbs, divided into 3 categories (e>ie, o>ue, e>i).
(These are also known as boot verbs, because the stem only changes in the first-, second- and third-person singular forms and in the third-person plural form. If a conjugated verb is listed in two columns, representing singular and plural forms, and three rows, for first-, second- and third-person forms, and if you draw a line around the four forms that change their stems, you will have a shape of a boot.)
In the first category (e>ie) are verbs like pensar, querer and sentir.
In the second category (o>ue) are verbs like costar, poder and dormir. Note that while the verb oler fits in this category, it also has a spelling change (o>hue).
In the third category (e>i) are verbs like repetir, pedir and servir.
Note that the verb seguir fits in this category, but there is also a spelling change for the first person only.
Also note that the imperative, which doesn't have a first person, also has stem-changing verbs that fall into the above-mentioned categories.

There are irregular present indicative verbs.
Have a look at estar and ser.

In the preterit tense, there are irregular verbs that don't fit the categories already described. These are also learned by memorization.

However, there are -ir verbs in the preterit tense that do use a stem-changing pattern, but only for the third person, both singular and plural. Instead of e>ie (described above), it is simply e>i. And instead of o>ue, it is simply o>u. See preferir, as an example of the first category, and dormir, as an example of the second category.

And there are some verbs in the preterit tense that have spelling changes in the first person singular. Verbs that end in -gar, like jugar, change the 'g' to 'gu'. Verbs that end in -car, like buscar, change the 'c' to 'qu'. Verbs that end in -zar, like almorzar, change the 'z' to 'c'.

Many other verbs in the preterit tense have different stems and some can be considered very irregular. See traducir, traer, poner, poder, tener, hacer and, for the most radical of the radical changers, dar, ver, ser and ir.

Suffice it to say, Spanish irregular verbs are plentiful and patterns must be memorized.

Last edited by Rusty; July 14, 2018 at 06:18 PM.
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Old July 14, 2018, 02:47 PM
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pjt33 pjt33 is offline
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Originally Posted by hellokitty View Post
I wanted to know is there a way to tell which verbs are stem changing. Im currently learning about the preterit and conjugating for past tense.
Knowing whether the vowel was short or long in Latin helps...
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Old July 14, 2018, 05:21 PM
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AngelicaDeAlquezar AngelicaDeAlquezar is offline
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@Hellokitty: Try using a conjugation manual like Larousse's Conjugación Lengua Española. It has models for conjugating all the verbs, so you don't have to memorize every single verb, but understand the logic to do it.
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