Spanish Grammar: Stem-Changing Verbs in the Preterite

Spanish Grammar: Stem-Changing Irregular Verbs in the Preterite

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Spanish Grammar: Stem-Changing Irregular Verbs in the Preterite
la gramática española: verbos irregulares con cambios en el raíz en el pretérito pasado

  • Express singular or completed actions with irregular verbs.
  • Discuss actions that occurred in the past.


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[-IR] verbs that have root or stem changes in the present tense also have changes in the preterite past tense!

Specifically, the third person singular and plural forms can change from [E] -> [I] and from [O] -> [U].

Here’s an example of common preterite stem-changing verbs.

PEDIR : to ask / order

yo pedí
tú pediste
él/ella/usted PIDIÓ
nosotros pedimos
vosotros pedisteis
ellos/ellas/ustedes PIDIERON

MORIR : to die

yo morí
tú moriste
él/ella/usted MURIÓ
nosotros morimos
vosotros moristeis
ellos/ellas/ustedes MURIERON

Remember, there is no pattern to the meaning of these verbs. The only thing they have in common is the way they are spelled!

DORMIR : to sleep
CONSEGUIR : to get/acquire
DIVERTIRSE : to have fun
PREFERIR: to prefer
REPETIR : to repeat
SEGUIR : to follow
SERVIR : to serve
VESTIRSE : to dress oneself


¿Qué pidió él?
What did he order?

¿Qué prefirió ella?
What did she prefer?

¿A dónde se divirtió ella?
Where did she have fun?

¿Quién consiguió el dinero?
Who acquired the money?

¿Cómo sirvió él la comida?
How did he serve the food?

¿Cuándo durmieron ellos?
When did they fall asleep?

¿Por qué repitió tanto?
Why did you repeat so much?

¿Cuántos le siguieron?
How many followed him?


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