Regular and Irregular Verbs in the Past Tense in Spanish - SpanishLearningLab (2023)

In everyday interactions, it is very common to find ourselves talking about past events in Spanish, things that happened recently or a long time ago. In this lesson, we will learn the basic rules to conjugate both regular and irregular verbs in the preterite tense in Spanish properly. As usual, you will find simple explanations, manyexamples of sentences and interactive quizzes to test yourself. Let’s start

The past tense of regular verbs in Spanish

We can refer to the past tense in Spanish as “El pretérito perfecto simple”, “El pretérito indefinido” or simply as “El pasado simple”. Just like in English, the preterite or past tense will be used for actions that happened at some time in the past and have already finished. Verbs in the preterite tense in Spanish will change just the same way verbs in the present tense do, depending on the subject of the sentence. Know that you will also find irregular verbs in the past tense.

As you can see in the chart below, the stem of regular verbs in the past tense in Spanish will not change at all for most verbs, only their ending. Keep two things in mind; first, the endings used for –ER and –IR verbs like COMER and ABRIR are identical, and second, the conjugations for the pronouns YO, ÉL, ELLA and USTED in the preterite tense will always use a tilde over the last vowel for regular verbs.

Regular and Irregular Verbs in the Past Tense in Spanish - SpanishLearningLab (1)

Following the chart above, we just need to know which verbs have regular conjugations in the preterite in Spanish, some of them being: cenar, caminar, trabajar, mirar, comer, correr, vivir, escribir, descansar, levantarse, salir, responder. Just like in the English language, there are specific past time expressions in Spanish that help us to add information about the time an event happened, such as: ayer (yesterday), anteayer/antier (the day before yesterday), anoche (last night), el otro día (the other day), hace un año (a year ago) and so on. Pay attention to the next group of sentences using some verbs with regular past tenses in Spanish and some of these expressions:

(Video) Irregular Verbs in Spanish in the Present Tense: Conjugation and Examples

CAMINAR – Ayer caminé 4 kilómetros alrededor de la ciudad

WALK – Yesterday I walked 4 kilometers around the city

SALIR – Marcelo salió anteayer hacia Europa.

LEAVE – Marcelo left the day before yesterday for Europe.

CORRER – ¿Tú también corriste en el maratón que organizaron recientemente?

RUN – Did you also run in the marathon they recently organized?

VIVIR – Nosotros vivimos en esa casa por tres años. Nos mudamos el año pasado.

LIVE – We lived in that house for three years. We moved last year.

LEVANTARSE – Ellos se levantaron temprano porque el bus sale a las 6:00 am.

GET UP – They got up early because the bus leaves at 6:00 am.

Grammar Quiz: Spanish Regular Verbs in The Past Tense.

It’s time to test if you understood the rules for the past tense of regular verbs in Spanish. This short quiz includes several interesting exercises about this topic. You will get your score at the end of the quiz. Click on “Start Quiz” when you are ready.

Recognizing irregular preterite verbs in Spanish

A lot of the verbs that are considered irregular in the present tense will also be considered irregular in the past tense in Spanish, including verbs like “caber”(to fit), “dar”(to give), “poder” (be able to), “saber” (know) and others.

(Video) How to Conjugate Spanish Regular Verbs in the Present Tense

Verbs with irregular stems and endings in the preterite tense

There is a particular group of verbs that are commonly used in the language, but they have stem changes as well as changes in their ending, that is, they won’t follow the rules presented above. For this group of verbs, you must definitely memorize the first part of the verb, and then remember the new endings that apply only to them and a few other verbs. Take a look at the following chart, notice that the endings are different to those of regular verbs, but stay the same for all this group of irregular verbs:

Regular and Irregular Verbs in the Past Tense in Spanish - SpanishLearningLab (2)

Other irregular preterite verbs in Spanish following the pattern above are: “andar (anduv-), caber (cup-), decir(dij-), haber (hub-), poner (pus-), querer (quis-), saber (sup-), tener (tuv-)”. Listen to and analyze the next group of verbs and their conjugations in the past.

DECIR: Yo dije, Tú dijiste, Él dijo, Nosotros dijimos, Vosotros dijisteis, Ellos dijeron.

ESTAR: Yo estuve, Tú estuviste, Él estuvo, Nosotros estuvimos, Vosotros estuvisteis, Ellos estuvieron.

HACER: Yo hice, tú hiciste, él hizo, nosotros hicimos, vosotros hicisteis, ellos hicieron.

SABER: Yo supe, tú supiste, él supo, nosotros supimos, ellos supieron.

TENER: Yo tuve, tú tuviste, él tuvo, nosotros tuvimos, vosotros tuvisteis, ellos tuvieron.

Identical conjugations for SER and IR

Interestingly, the verbs SER and IR will change radically in the preterite form, but their conjugations in the preterite identical. Here, context plays a very important role when using them in real conversations.

IR: Yo fui, tú fuiste, él fue, nosotros fuimos, vosotros fuisteis, ellos fueron.

SER: Yo fui, tú fuiste, él fue, nosotros fuimos, vosotros fuisteis, ellos fueron.

Other special cases in the preterite in Spanish

There are many other irregular verbs and special cases in the past tense in Spanish besides the above-mentioned.:

  1. Verbs with two vowels in their ending: verbs like “leer, oír, concluir, incluir, constituir, construir, disminuir, fluir, poseer, caer, huir” suffer a spelling change for the pronouns YO, ÉL and ELLOS. For the pronoun “YO”, the -IR part will be replaced by “Í” with tilde as in “Yo concluí”; and for “ÉL” and “ELLOS”, we will add the consonant “y” as in “Él construyó” and “Ellos cayeron”.
  2. Verbs ending in -GAR: when verbs end in -GAR in their infinitive form just like: “abrigar, agregar, ahogar, albergar, apagar, colgar”, the verb will be conjugated differently for the first person (the pronoun YO), so we will replace -GAR for -GUÉ as in the sentences “Yo pagué las cuentas” and “Yo colgué la ropa“.
  3. Verbs ending in -CAR: when verbs end in -CAR just like “buscar, dedicar, educar, enfocar, explicar, sacar, secar“, then we will replace that ending for -QUÉ for the pronoun YO only, as in the sentences “Yo busqué la billetera.”
  4. Verbs ending in -DUCIR: when the verb ends in -DUCIR just like “traducir, conducir, deducir“, then we will replace -DUCIR for -DUJ for all subject pronouns, and add the conjugations in the second picture presented above. This way, we will say “Yo conduje, Él condujo, Ellos condujeron” and so on.

Grammar quiz: The preterite of Spanish irregular verbs

¡Es hora de practicar! This short quiz will test if you can recognize the past tense of some common Spanish irregular verbs in the past tense. Follow the instructions to complete each exercise.

(Video) Los Verbos Irregulares en Español en el Presente: Conjugación y Ejemplos

Talking about past events in Spanish – Los eventos del pasado

It is time to see both regular and irregular in the preterite tense in Spanish in use. We will be using some of the ones presented above and a few new ones. These sentences follow a very basic structure and will use a few useful connectors to link the ideas, and you will see some specific phrases used in the past tense in Spanish such as “ayer” (yesterday), “la semana pasada” (last week) and so on.


No. 1 – Una visita al zoológico

La semana pasada fuimos al zoológico. Vimos varios animales interesantes y aprendimos muchas cosas sobre ellos también. Cuando miramos al gorila, mi amigo trató de tomar una foto, pero el gorila se enojó. Luego, vimos a los leones. También tomamos fotos de los leones. Escuchamos las aves cantar y a los monos aullar. Para finalizar el paseo, miramos los pingüinos. Ellos nadaron muy cerca de nosotros.

(Video) 10 Popular and Very Useful Sayings in Spanish - 10 Dichos en Español

Read translation: A visit to the zoo in Spanish

Last week, we went to the zoo. We saw several interesting animals and learned many things about them too. When we saw a gorilla, my friend tried to take a picture, but the gorilla became angry. Then we saw the lions. We also took pictures of the lions. We heard the birds sing and the monkeys howl. To finish the visit, we watched the penguins. They swam very close to us.

No. 2. – Mi fin de semana

  • Francisco: ¿Qué hiciste (tú) el fin de semana pasado?
  • Jorge: Yo estudié todo el fin de semana. Hoy tenemos un examen. ¿Tú estudiaste?
  • Francisco: Yo no estudié. Ayer fui de paseo con mi familia. Nosotros fuimos a la playa. Mi mamá nadó toda la mañana. Mis hermanos también nadaron bastante. Comí pescado. Estaba delicioso.
  • Jorge: Vaya, tú disfrutaste mucho entonces. Yo salí a tomar un café con Carmen y miramos una película después de estudiar.

Read translation: Our weekend

Francisco: What did you do last weekend?
Jorge: I studied all weekend. Today we have an exam. Did you study?
Francisco: I did not study. Yesterday I went for a walk with my family. We went to the beach. My mom swam all morning. My brothers also swam a lot. I ate fish. It was delicious.
Jorge: Wow, you really enjoyed your weekend then. I went out for coffee with Carmen and watched a movie after studying.

Related Spanish Worksheets:

  • Common Irregular Verbs in Spanish – PDF Worksheet

FAQs

What are the 12 irregular verbs in Spanish? ›

Since the future simple tense is so regular, you'll be happy to know that there are only 12 basic future Spanish irregulars:
  • caber (to fit)
  • decir (to say)
  • haber (to have)
  • hacer (to do)
  • poder (can, to be able to)
  • poner (to put)
  • querer (to want)
  • tener (to have)
19 Feb 2021

What are regular and irregular verbs in Spanish? ›

Regular verbs are those verbs that are always conjugated according to the same rules. For example, all the "yo" forms are changed in the same way, and the same happens with the rest of the pronouns. In contrast, irregular verbs in Spanish are those that do not follow those rules, and change for different reasons.

What are the irregular verbs in past tense in Spanish? ›

Highly Irregular Preterite Spanish Verbs

There are just five highly irregular Spanish that you'll need to memorize: ser (to be), ir (to go), ver (to see), dar (to give), and haber (to have – auxiliary). The good news is that ser and ir have identical conjugation, so you'll just need to learn four.

What are the 100 most used verbs in Spanish? ›

Common Spanish Verbs - Top 100
Ser (to be)Estar (to be)Top 100 Quiz
Haber (to have)Hablar (to speak)Hacer (to make)
Ir (to go)Jugar (to play)
Lavar (to wash)Leer (to read)Limpiar (to clean)
Llamar (to call)Llegar (to arrive)Llenar (to fill)
41 more rows

What are the 40 irregular verbs? ›

In this section, you will learn over 40 irregular verbs.
...
Form of other irregular verbs.
Base formPast formPast participle
bringbroughtbrought
buyboughtbought
choosechosechosen
comecamecome
38 more rows
6 Oct 2018

What are regular and irregular verbs with 20 examples? ›

Verbs are the action words that describe what the subject is doing. Regular verbs and irregular verbs are types of verbs.
...
50 Most Common Irregular Verbs Examples.
PresentSimple PastPast Participle
buyboughtbought
choosechosechosen
comecamecome
cutcutcut
46 more rows

What are the 30 irregular verbs? ›

Irregular Verbs List
V1 Base FormV2 Past SimpleV3 Past Participle
drivedrovedriven
drinkdrankdrunk
eatateeaten
fallfellfallen
89 more rows

What are the 5 irregular Spanish verbs? ›

Irregular verbs like ser, ir, hacer, haber, poder, and tener are actually some of the most commonly used verbs, meaning that Spanish learners gain valuable exposure to their inflected forms often and can usually memorize the irregularities quickly.

What are the 25 irregular verbs? ›

Top 25 irregular verbs
Present SimplePast SimplePast Participle
taketooktaken
telltoldtold
thinkthoughtthought
writewrotewritten
21 more rows

What are the 3 irregular verbs in Spanish? ›

The verbs ser (to be), ir (to go), and ver (to see) are completely irregular in the imperfect tense.

What are the 16 irregular preterite verbs? ›

Terms in this set (16)
  • Ser. To be.
  • Ir. To go.
  • Dar. To give.
  • Ver. To see.
  • Poder. To be able to.
  • Poner. To put/place.
  • Saber. To know.
  • Hacer. To do.

What are the 50 most common verbs in Spanish? ›

The 50 Most Common Spanish Verbs
abrirapagarcantar
fumargastarhablar
hablarintentarjugar
leerllovermirar
nadarnecesitarorganizar
12 more rows
26 Sept 2012

What are the 50 irregular verbs? ›

List of TOP 50 irregular verbs:
InfinitiveSimple PastPast Participle
drinkdrank [dræŋk]drunk [drʌŋk]
eatate [eɪt]eaten [i:tn]
feelfelt [felt]felt [felt]
fightfought [fɔːt]fought [fɔːt]
46 more rows
26 Dec 2020

What are the 100 irregular verbs? ›

100 Examples of Irregular Verbs
V1 – PresentV2 – Past SimpleV3 – Past Participle
bleedbledbled
blowblewblown
breakbrokebroken
breedbredbred
26 more rows

What are the Super 7 Spanish verbs? ›

Teaching the Super 7 Verbs in Spanish
  • 1 está (is at a place / is feeling)
  • 2 hay (there is / there are)
  • 3 tiene (has)
  • 4 es (is)
  • 5 le gusta (likes / is pleasing to)
  • 6 va (goes / is going)
  • 7 quiere (wants)
7 Feb 2019

What are the 12 tenses in Spanish? ›

Simple tenses (tiempos simples)
  • Present (presente)
  • Imperfect (pretérito imperfecto)
  • Preterite (pretérito indefinido)
  • Future (futuro simple or futuro imperfecto)
  • Simple conditional (condicional simple or pospretérito)
  • Present perfect (pretérito perfecto)
  • Past perfect or pluperfect (pretérito pluscuamperfecto)

What are the 200 irregular verb? ›

200 irregular verbs and audio
InfinitivePreteritePast participle
to arisearosearisen
to awakeawokeawoken
to bearboreborne
to beatbeatbeaten
11 more rows

What are the 150 irregular verbs? ›

List of Irregular Verbs, +150 Irregular Vers, V1 V2 V3
V1 – PresentV2 – Past SimpleV3 – Past Participle
bitebitbitten
bleedbledbled
blowblewblown
breakbrokebroken
26 more rows

Which are the top 10 most used irregular verbs? ›

The top 10 irregular verbs in English are: see, say, go, come, know, get, give, become, find, and think.

What are regular and irregular verbs explain with examples? ›

Regular verbs form their past tense and past participle by adding 'ed'. Irregular verbs form their past tense and their past participle in a different way. Eg: Base Form - sit; Past Tense - sat; Past Participle - sat. Base Form - ring; Past Tense - rang; Past Participle - rung.

What are regular and irregular past tense verbs? ›

If you can form the simple past tense and past participle of a verb simply by adding “–ed” or “–d” to it, then it's a regular verb. A verb that doesn't follow these patterns is an irregular verb.

What are the 4 types of irregular verbs? ›

Four categories of irregular verbs
  • Irregular verbs with the same base form, past tense and past participle.
  • Irregular verbs with the same base form and past participle.
  • Irregular verbs with the same past tense and past participle.
  • Irregular verbs with a different base form, past tense and past participle.
10 Nov 2022

What is the rule of irregular verb? ›

What exactly is an irregular verb? The short answer is that a verb is irregular if you can't change it to past tense just by adding “-ed” or “-d” to the end. In order to use these verbs correctly, you have to memorize their past simple and past participle forms, since they don't fit into the usual pattern.

What's the most irregular verb? ›

say said

How many regular and irregular verbs are there? ›

The English language has many irregular verbs, approaching 200 in normal use—and significantly more if prefixed forms are counted. In most cases, the irregularity concerns the past tense (also called preterite) or the past participle.

What are the 8 irregular commands in Spanish? ›

As always, there are a few irregulars in the tú affirmative command form:
  • Venir – ven = Come!
  • Decir – di = Say/Tell!
  • Salir – sal = Leave!
  • Hacer – haz = Do/Make!
  • Tener – ten = Have!
  • Ir – ve = Go!
  • Poner – pon = Put!
  • Ser – sé = Be!

What are the 10 most used verbs in Spanish? ›

The top 12 most common Spanish verbs you'll want to learn are:
  • Estar = To be.
  • Ser = To be.
  • Tener = To have.
  • Haber = To have (auxiliary verb)
  • Hacer = To do or make.
  • Ir = To go.
  • Venir = To come.
  • Decir = To say or tell.

What are the 3 regular verbs in Spanish? ›

There are three types of Spanish regular verbs. You'll easily recognize them by theirs endings: -ar, -er or –ir. Think bromear, comer, and escribir.

How many Spanish irregular verbs are there? ›

Over 72% are irregular. There are 18 verbs that end in -AER and they are all irregular. For example, caer (to fall) and traer (to bring).
...
Hablar (to Speak)
Yohablo
hablas
Él/Ella/Ustedhabla
Nosotroshablamos
2 more rows
5 Apr 2022

How many irregular verbs are? ›

There are about 200 irregular verbs in English. We can divide these into four types: Verbs which have the same base form, past simple and past participle. Verbs which have the same past simple and past participle.

Which are all irregular verbs? ›

Irregular Verbs – Complete List
Base FormPast Simple (V2)Past Participle (V3)
drinkdrankdrunk
drivedrovedriven
eatateeaten
fallfellfallen
135 more rows

What are the 4 types of verbs in Spanish? ›

There are several different verb types in Spanish, including transitive verbs, intransitive verbs, pronominal verbs, reflexive verbs, and reciprocal verbs.

Is Dormir regular or irregular? ›

The verbs partir, sortir, and dormir are irregular in the present tense, that is, they are not conjugated like regular -ir verbs.

What are all the regular verbs in Spanish? ›

There are 3 regular verb endings in Spanish: verbs ending in -ar: amar (to love), cantar (to sing); verbs ending in -er: temer (to fear), beber (to drink); and finally verbs ending in -ir: partir (to leave), recibir (to receive). Ana trabaja en Buenos Aires. Ana works in Buenos Aires.

What are the Sweet 16 Spanish verbs? ›

Terms in this set (16)
  • dar. to give.
  • decir. to say.
  • estar. to be.
  • hacer. to do/ to make.
  • ponder. to be able to.
  • poner. to put.
  • querer. to want/ to love.
  • saber. to know.

What are 5 words commonly used with the preterite? ›

Check out these examples of temporal phrases that can trigger the preterite:
  • una vez (one time)
  • ayer (yesterday)
  • anteayer (the day before yesterday)
  • anoche (last night)
  • la semana pasada (last week)
  • el año pasado (last year)
  • el otro día (the other day)
  • entonces (then)

What are the 100 most common verbs? ›

100 Most Common English Verbs List
No.VerbPast Participle
1to bebeen
2to havehad
3to dodone
4to saysaid
21 more rows

What are 5 easy Spanish words? ›

Basic Spanish Words
  • Hola (Hello)
  • Adios (Goodbye)
  • Gracias (Thank you)
  • Por favor (Please)
  • Si (Yes)
  • Claro (Of course)
  • No (No)
  • Amor (Love)
25 Aug 2021

What is irregular verb give 10 example? ›

The Most Common Irregular Verbs in English
Irregular VerbPast SimplePast Participle
gowentgone
growgrewgrown
havehadhad
hearheardheard
105 more rows

What are the 1000 verbs? ›

1000 English Verbs Forms
S.No.Base FormPast Participle Form
1abashabashed
2abateabated
3abideabode
4absorbabsorbed
78 more rows

What are irregular 1st verbs? ›

An irregular verb is a verb that doesn't follow the regular inflection, or ending to the word, that's expected when putting it into the past tense or past participle.

How do you write irregular verbs in a sentence? ›

I awoke to find that a spider had bitten me. Although the wound didn't bleed, it itched terribly. → In this example, the irregular verb awoke is the past simple form of “awake.” Bitten is past participle form of “bite” and bleed is base form.

What are irregular verbs in Spanish? ›

Irregular verbs like ser, ir, hacer, haber, poder, and tener are actually some of the most commonly used verbs, meaning that Spanish learners gain valuable exposure to their inflected forms often and can usually memorize the irregularities quickly.

What are the 20 examples of irregular verb? ›

Irregular Verbs List
V1 Base FormV2 Past SimpleV3 Past Participle
drivedrovedriven
drinkdrankdrunk
eatateeaten
fallfellfallen
89 more rows

How many irregular verbs are there in Spanish? ›

Over 72% are irregular. There are 18 verbs that end in -AER and they are all irregular. For example, caer (to fall) and traer (to bring).
...
Hablar (to Speak)
Yohablo
hablas
Él/Ella/Ustedhabla
Nosotroshablamos
2 more rows
5 Apr 2022

What are the 7 most used verbs in Spanish? ›

Teaching the Super 7 Verbs in Spanish
  • 1 está (is at a place / is feeling)
  • 2 hay (there is / there are)
  • 3 tiene (has)
  • 4 es (is)
  • 5 le gusta (likes / is pleasing to)
  • 6 va (goes / is going)
  • 7 quiere (wants)
7 Feb 2019

What are the 11 irregular verbs? ›

There are only eleven irregular verbs in Modern Irish: abair, beir, bí, clois, déan, ith, faigh, feic, tabhair, tar, téigh.

What are 50 irregular verbs? ›

List of TOP 50 irregular verbs:
InfinitiveSimple PastPast Participle
drinkdrank [dræŋk]drunk [drʌŋk]
eatate [eɪt]eaten [i:tn]
feelfelt [felt]felt [felt]
fightfought [fɔːt]fought [fɔːt]
46 more rows
26 Dec 2020

What are the 100 regular verbs? ›

100 Examples of Regular Verbs
InfinitivePastParticiple
AgreeAgreedAgreed
AmazeAmazedAmazed
AmuseAmusedAmused
AnswerAnsweredAnswered
26 more rows

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