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Spelling Changes of Simple Past (Preterite) Regular Spanish Verbs

Spelling Changes of Simple Past (Preterite) Regular Spanish Verbs

The simple past or preterite is a verb form in the Spanish language that refers to verbs in the past tense, simple aspect, indicative mood, and active voice. Unlike most regular verbs in the simple past (preterite), some regular verbs experience a slight spelling change. However, the endings of the regular verbs with spelling change are identical to the past tense endings of regular verbs. The following sections explain the formation of the simple past of Spanish verbs with spelling changes.

Spanish -gar, -car, and -zar Verbs

The first category of regular Spanish verbs with slight spelling changes in the simple past (preterite) is the -gar, -car, and -zar verbs. When a -gar, -car, and -zar verb is conjugated into the simple past, the g, c, and z change to a gu, qu, and c in the first person singular form. For example:

-gar (jugar)

  • first person singular – jugué
  • second person singular – jugaste
  • third person singular – jugó
  • first person plural – jugamos
  • second person plural – jugasteis
  • third person plural – jugaron

-car (tocar)

  • first person singular – toqué
  • second person singular – tocaste
  • third person singular – tocó
  • first person plural – tocamos
  • second person plural – tocasteis
  • third person plural – tocaron

-zar (forzar)

  • first person singular – forcé
  • second person singular – forzaste
  • third person singular – forzó
  • first person plural – forzamos
  • second person plural – forzasteis
  • third person plural – forzaron

Other -gar, -car, and -zar verbs include:

  • almorzar
  • aparcar
  • autorizar
  • buscar
  • cazar
  • cegar
  • clarificar
  • clasificar
  • cruzar
  • colgar
  • comenzar
  • destacer
  • empacer
  • empezar
  • forzar
  • jugar
  • justificar
  • llegar
  • organizar
  • pagar
  • plegar
  • practicar
  • regar
  • rogar
  • sacar
  • simbolizar
  • tocar
  • tragar
  • tropezarse
  • vagar

Spanish -aer, -eer, -oer, and -oír Verbs

The second category of regular Spanish verbs with slight spelling changes in the simple past (preterite) is the -aer, -eer, -oer and -oír verbs. When an -aer, -eer, -oer and -oír verb is conjugated into the simple past, the in the third person singular and third person plural endings becomes . All other endings that contain i are written with an accented í. For example:

-aer (caer)

  • first person singular – caí
  • second person singular – caíste
  • third person singular – cayó
  • first person plural – caímos
  • second person plural – caísteis
  • third person plural – cayeron

-eer (leer)

  • first person singular – leí
  • second person singular – leíste
  • third person singular – leyó
  • first person plural – leímos
  • second person plural – leísteis
  • third person plural – leyeron

-oer (roer)

  • first person singular – roí
  • second person singular – roíste
  • third person singular – royó
  • first person plural – roímos
  • second person plural – roísteis
  • third person plural – royeron

-oír (oír)

  • first person singular – oí
  • second person singular – oístes
  • third person singular – oyó
  • first person plural – oímos
  • second person plural – oísteis
  • third person plural –oyeron

The only exceptions to the -aer, -eer, -oer and -oír verb rules are traer, atraer, and distraer. Other -aer, -eer, -oer and -oír verbs include:

  • caer
  • leer
  • oír
  • poseer
  • proveer
  • roer

Spanish -uir Verbs

The third category of regular Spanish verbs with slight spelling changes in the simple past (preterite) is the -uir verbs. When a -uir verb is conjugated into the simple past, the in the third person singular and third person plural endings also becomes . For example:

-uir (fluir)

  • first person singular – fluí
  • second person singular – fluiste
  • third person singular – fluyó
  • first person plural – fluimos
  • second person plural – fluisteis
  • third person plural – fluyeron

Other -uir verbs include:

  • construir
  • contribuir
  • destruir
  • fluir
  • huir
  • incluir
  • influir

Some regular Spanish verbs undergo slight spelling changes in the simple past (preterite). Spanish language students must learn these changes in spelling of the simple past forms of Spanish verbs in order to fully use and understand verbs the Spanish language.

For the conjugations of irregular and stem-changing verbs in the preterite, please refer to The Simple Past (Preterite) of Irregular Spanish Verbs and The Simple Past (Preterite) of Stem-Changing Spanish Verbs.

Note: I have studied Spanish as a foreign language. Please feel free to correct any mistakes that I have made in my Spanish.

References

Ramboz, Ina. 2008. Spanish verbs & essentials of grammar (Verbs and Essentials of Grammar Series), 2nd edn. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Using Prepositional Phrases as Noun Phrase Modifiers

Using Prepositional Phrases as Noun Phrase Modifiers

The Simple Past (Preterite) of Irregular Spanish Verbs

The Simple Past (Preterite) of Irregular Spanish Verbs