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Present Indicative Stem-changing Verbs

When "regular verbs" are conjugated the ending changes and the front part (a.k.a. stem or root) doesn’t change. When "stem-changing verbs" are conjugated the stem changes. Most stem-changing verbs follow a few rules when conjugated, however, there are some verbs that don't follow a consistent rule when they are conjugated, and these are called, "irregular verbs".

Fortunately, most stem-changing verbs follow a few rules when they are conjugated.

1. Change the "e" to "ie" in the stem. However, the subject "nosotros" is conjugated as a regular verb.  For example:

Spanish

Spanish

English

Subject

Infinitive: Pensar

To Think

Yo

pienso

I think

piensas

You think

Usted/él/ella

piensa

You (formal)/He/She thinks

Nosotros

pensamos

We think

Ustedes/Ellos/Ellas

piensan

You (plural)/They think

 

Here is a list of stem-changing verbs that follow this rule:

Spanish

English

Cerrar

To close

Calentar

To warm

Comenzar

To begin

Pensar

To think

Perder

To lose

Gobernar

To govern

Negar

To deny

Quebrar

To break

Querer

To want

Herir

To wound

Entender

To understand

Encender

To turn on

Despertarse (refl)

To wake up

Defender

To defend

Confesar

To confess

Mentir

To lie

Preferir

To prefer

Sentir

To feel

 

2. Change the "o" to "ue" in the stem. However, the subject "nosotros" is conjugated as a regular verb. For example:

Spanish

Spanish

English

Subject

Infinitive: Poder

To be able

Yo

puedo

I am able

puedes

You are able

Usted/él/ella

puede

You (formal)/He/She is able

Nosotros

podemos

We are able

Ustedes/Ellos/Ellas

pueden

You (plural)/They are able

 

Here is a list of stem-changing verbs that follow this rule:

Spanish

English

Contar

To tell

Almorzar

To have breakfast

Devolver

To return

Envolver

To wrap

Volver

To return

Encontrar

To find

Llover

To rain

Morder

To bite

Mover

To move

Oler

To smell

Poder

To be able

Volar

To fly

Probar

To try

Recordar

To recall

Soñar

To dream

Sonar

To sound

Dormir

To sleep

Morir

To die

 

3. Change the "e" to "i" in the stem. However, the subject "nosotros" is conjugated as a regular verb. For example:

Spanish

Spanish

English

Subject

Infinitive: Pedir

To ask

Yo

pido

I ask

pides

You ask

Usted/él/ella

pide

You (formal)/He/She asks

Nosotros

pedimos

We ask

Ustedes/Ellos/Ellas

piden

You (plural)/They ask

 

Here is a list of stem-changing verbs that follow this rule:

Spanish

English

Pedir

To ask

Perseguir

To pursue

Reír

To laugh

Repetir

To repeat

Vestir

To dress

Seguir

To follow/to continue

Servir

To serve

Sonreír

To smile

Construir

To construct

Destruir

To destroy

Concluir

To conclude

Diluir

To dilute

 

4. For verbs that end in "cer" change "c" to "zc" but only for the subject "yo". The other subjects are conjugated as a regular verb. For example:

Spanish

Spanish

English

Subject

Infinitive: Reconocer

To recognize

Yo

reconozco

I recognize

reconoces

You recognize

Usted/él/ella

reconoce

You (formal)/He/She recognize

Nosotros

reconocemos

We recognize

Ustedes/Ellos/Ellas

reconocen

You (plural) speak/They recognize

 

Here is a list of stem-changing verbs that follow this rule:

Spanish

English

Aparecer

To appear

Conducir

To drive

Introducir

To introduce

Ofrecer

To offer

Reconocer

To recognize

Reducir

To reduce

 

5. For verbs that end in "ger" and "gir" change "g" to "j" but only for the subject "yo". The other subjects are conjugated as regular verbs. For example:

Spanish

Spanish

English

Subject

Infinitive: Escoger

To choose

Yo

escojo

I choose

escoges

You choose

Usted/él/ella

escoge

You (formal)/He/She chooses

Nosotros

escogemos

We choose

Ustedes/Ellos/Ellas

escogen

You (plural) speak/They choose

 

Here is a list of stem-changing verbs that follow this rule:

Spanish

English

Escoger

To chose

Exigir

To demand

Dirigir

To direct

 

6. For verbs that end in "eguir" change "egu" to "ig" for the subject "yo" and to "igu" for " ", "usted/él/ella" and "ustedes/ellos/ellas". However, the subject "nosotros" is conjugated as a regular verb.  For example:

Spanish

Spanish

English

Subject

Infinitive: Seguir

To follow

Yo

sigo

I follow

sigues

You follow

Usted/él/ella

sigue

You (formal)/He/She follows

Nosotros

seguimos

We follow

Ustedes/Ellos/Ellas

siguen

You (plural) speak/They follow

 

Here is a list of stem-changing verbs that follow this rule:

Spanish

English

Conseguir

To get

Perseguir

To pursue

Seguir

To follow

7. For verbs that end in "uir" change "u" to "y". However, the subject "nosotros" is conjugated as a regular verb. For example:

Spanish

Spanish

English

Subject

Infinitive: Instruir

To instruct

Yo

instruyo

I instruct

instruyes

You instruct

Usted/él/ella

instruye

You (formal)/He/She instructs

Nosotros

instruimos

We instruct

Ustedes/Ellos/Ellas

instruyen

You (plural) speak/They instruct

 

Here is a list of stem-changing verbs that follow this rule:

Spanish

English

Construir

To build

Destruir

To destroy

Instruir

To instruct