The Present Simple Tense - irregular verbs
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    Verbs - Ser (to be) Estar (to be)  
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    The past simple tense - regular verbs (I was)  
    The past simple tense - irregular verbs (I was)  
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    'Haber' with the conditional and past subjunctive tenses  
  More About Verbs  
    Reflexive verbs - Part 1  
    Reflexive verbs - Part 2  
    The 'Gerund' (the equivalent of forming 'ing...' verbs)  
    'Gustar' and similar verbs - A different way of using verbs  
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Video Lessons
Summary of Lesson
Looking at common formation patterns of irregular verbs in the present simple tense (o changes to ue / e changes to ie / e changes to i).
A look at some other present simple irregular verbs that are irregular in the first person singular only.
A look at other present simple irregular verbs that follow the formation patterns of both one and two above.
A special look at how the verb ir - (to go) is formed in the present simple.
  What you can learn from this lesson
To recognise potential verb conjugation patterns of irregular verbs in the present simple tense by identifying the structure of the base form and then applying a rule.
To learn the verb conjugations of a selection of important verbs in the present simple tense that are considered more irregular and less defined by rule (ir / tener / hacer / salir).
To appreciate and understand that verb conjugation is as much about memorising verb formations than applying defined rules. To encourage the use of verb tables.
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In the first part of this lesson we will look at common formation patterns that exist with some irregular verbs in the present simple tense.


Radical-changing verbs


This is the term often given to irregular verbs that have specific stem changes when a certain letter is present in the stem and which is stressed when pronounced. There are three types.

Some verbs that have an ‘o’ in the stem change to ‘ue
Some verbs that have a ‘e’ in the stem change to ‘ie
Some verbs that have an ‘e’ in the stem change to ‘i


Look at the following examples. Notice that the nosotros/nosotras and vosotros/vosotras forms of the verbs do not have stem changes.


Where ‘o’ changes to ‘ue


personal pronoun costar poder dormir
  (to cost) (to be able) (to sleep)
yo cuesto puedo duermo
cuestas puedes duermes
él/ella/usted cuesta puede duerme
nosotros/nosotras costamos podemos dormimos
vosotros/vosotras costáis podéis dormís
ellos/ellas/ustedes cuestan pueden duermen

Where ‘e’ changes to ‘ie


personal pronoun calentar perder preferir
  (to heat) (to lose) (to prefer)
yo caliento pierdo prefiero
calientas pierdes prefieres
él/ella/usted calienta pierde prefiere
nosotros/nosotras calentamos perdemos preferimos
vosotros/vosotras calentáis perdéis preferís
ellos/ellas/ustedes calientan pierden prefieren


Where ‘e’ changes to ‘i


personal pronoun pedir seguir
  (to order - food) (to follow / continue)
yo pido sigo
pides sigues
él/ella/usted pide sigue
nosotros/nosotras pedimos seguimos
vosotros/vosotras pedís seguís
ellos/ellas/ustedes piden siguen




The second part of this lesson looks at irregular verbs in the present simple tense where the stem change only occurs in the 1st person singular ( yo )


Two common examples of this type of irregularity occur with the verbs hacer, (to do/to make) and salir (to leave).


Hacer - here a consonant ‘c’ is substituted for another consonant ‘g’


personal pronoun hacer  
  (to do / make)  
yo hago (it is only in the first person singular that the stem changes)
él/ella/usted hace  
nosotros/nosotras hacemos  
vosotros/vosotras hacéis  
ellos/ellas/ustedes hacen  


Yo no hago mucho. = I don’t do much.


Salir - here an additional consonant is inserted ‘g’


personal pronoun salir  
  (to leave )  
yo salgo (it is only in the first person singular that the stem changes)
él/ella/usted sale  
nosotros/nosotras salimos  
vosotros/vosotras salís  
ellos/ellas/ustedes salen  


Yo no salgo mucho = I don’t go out much




The third part of this lesson looks at irregular verbs in the present simple tense that incorporate the irregularities described in both parts one and two of this lesson.


Here both a consonant change occurs in the first person singular ( yo ) and vowel changes occur in the second person singular (), the third person singular (él/ella/usted) and the third person plural (ellos/ellas/ustedes). Two common verbs where these irregularities take place are tener, (to have) and venir, (to come).


Tener (to have)


personal pronoun tener  
  (to have)  
yo tengo (additional consonant ‘g’)
tienes (vowel replacement ‘e’ to ‘ie’)
él/ella/usted tiene (vowel replacement ‘e’ to ‘ie’)
nosotros/nosotras tenemos  
vosotros/vosotras tenéis  
ellos/ellas/ustedes tienen (vowel replacement ‘e’ to ‘ie’)


¿Cuántos años tiene usted? - How old are you?

(Yo) tengo ochenta y cinco años - I’m eighty five years old


Venir (to come)


personal pronoun venir  
  (to come)  
yo vengo (additional consonant ‘g’)
vienes (vowel replacement ‘e’ to ‘ie’)
él/ella/usted viene (vowel replacement ‘e’ to ‘ie’)
nosotros/nosotras venimos  
vosotros/vosotras venís  
ellos/ellas/ustedes vienen (vowel replacement ‘e’ to ‘ie’)


¿(Tú) vienes aquí mucho? - Do you come here much?

Si (yo) vengo dos veces cada semana - Yes I come twice a week.




In this part of the lesson we will look at the verb ir (to go). This verb is a good example of a verb in the present simple tense which is highly irregular. The combination of stems and endings of this verb are unique.


Ir (to go)


personal pronoun ir
  (to go)
yo voy
él/ella/usted va
nosotros/nosotras vamos
vosotros/vosotras váis
ellos/ellas/ustedes van


¿(Tú) vas a la piscina mucho? - Do you go swimming much?

No. (Yo) voy solo una vez cada mes! - No. I go only once a month!


The present simple formation of the verb ir with ‘a’ after it (voy a / va a / vas a etc) is also used when talking about the future. For more information take a look at the separate lesson on the future tense.


'Ir' can also be used reflexively, (irse - meaning to leave). Take a look at the lesson on reflexive verbs for more details.


me voy = I’m going or I’m leaving

voy = used by itself it can mean I’m coming.


Alan, ven acá por favor - Alan come her please.

voy voy - I’m coming I’m coming.


That concludes the lesson on the present simple tense with irregular verbs. If you have not done so already watch the actual video for this lesson and then try one of the associated quizzes to test your understanding.

The Present Simple Tense - irregular verbs
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