Many language learners tienden a huir (tend to run away) from irregular verbs… It’s like, wait! I just learned how regular verbs work, and now you’re telling me there are irregular verbs as well??!! What??!! Why??!! Luckily, you won’t be running away after reading this article!
As a language learner myself, I know that irregular verbs seem crazy and random at first… y eso da miedo (and that’s scary), but Spanish irregular verbs are not as hard como parecen (as they might seem). They actually follow certain patterns… and at Spring Spanish we know exactly how to help you learn them… with chunks!
So, if you’re interested in mastering 13 irregular verbs in Spanish and how to do it with chunks, you have to read this!
What is an irregular verb?
Some linguists say that irregular verbs are the remains of grammar rules que ya no se aplican (that are no longer in place). Although they end in -AR, -ER, and -IR, like regular verbs do, irregular verbs in Spanish follow their own rules. They are the rebels of the Spanish language, so to speak.
Otra cosa que debes saber (Another thing you should know) is that irregular verbs are frequently used. Therefore, there’s no way around them.
The good news is that the method that we use at Spring Spanish, which is called Conversation Based Chunking, will allow you to learn these verbs without you having to cram conjugation tables in your brain.
If you want to learn more about this innovative method and how it can help you learn Spanish without words lists and cramming grammar, sign up to our free Spanish chunking training.
Top 4 Irregular Verbs
The most common irregular verbs are ser and estar (to be), tener (to have), and ir (to go). I won’t talk about them in this lesson because we have already created an article and a video for each. So, make sure you check them out when you get the chance!
For now, let’s go over 13 irregular Spanish verbs. I suggest you stick around until the end to learn some chunks with irregular verbs you will certainly need in most conversations!
Verbs ending in -GUIR
Like I said before, en general se piensa (it is generally thought) that irregular verbs are randomly conjugated, but some of them follow certain patterns.
For example, the verbs ending in -GUIR, such as seguir (to follow). If we followed the rules dictated by regular verbs, seguir would be conjugated as sego, but it just sounds wrong.
The proper conjugation in the first person singular, in the present tense is sigo.
- Te sigo en redes sociales. (I follow you on social media.)
Te sigo is an example of a chunk, that is, a word combination that you can learn by heart, as a whole, so that you don’t have to think about grammar rules or conjugation tables on the spot.
Native speakers use chunks all the time. In the example above, we’re talking about social media, but you will also hear native speakers say “te sigo” when playing games or when driving.
By the way, now we’re at it: “en redes sociales” is also a chunk.
Other verbs ending in -GUIR include:
- Conseguir (to get)
Yo te consigo la receta. (I’ll get that recipe for you.)
- Distinguir (to distinguish)
No distingo los colores. (I can’t distinguish between these colors.)
A perfect way to memorize these chunks and conjugations is with flashcards. Like this:
_______ (I don’t distinguish between) los colores.
No distingo los colores.
Verbs ending in -GER and -GIR
The verbs ending in -GER and -GIR, like escoger (to choose) and exigir (to demand) will always end in -JO. Look:
- Yo escojo la película. (I’ll choose the movie.)
- Exijo que me digas la verdad. (I demand that you tell me the truth!)
Verbs ending in -CER
If a verb ends in -CER, the conjugation will almost always be -ZCO. For example:
- Agradecer: Agradezco tu ayuda. (I appreciate your help.)
- Conocer: ¿Te conozco? (Do I know you?)
- Obedecer: Yo obedezco las reglas. (I go by the rules.)
¿Te conozco? is another example of a chunk.
An exception to this rule is the verb hacer, which means to do. Look:
- Yo siempre hago la tarea. (I always do my homework.)
This is the method we use at Spring Spanish: instead of asking you to memorize conjugation tables, we teach words in context, which are easier to remember when having a conversation.
Other useful verbs
Now let’s go over a set of verbs que será útil (that will come in handy) in most, if not all, of your conversations in Spanish:
- Decir (to say)
Yo nunca digo mentiras. (I never tell lies.) —that must be a lie because we have all lied at some point, right?
- Poner (to place or to put on)
Me pongo la camiseta. (Literally, I’m wearing the shirt.) —This is an expression Mexicans use to talk about commitment. If someone says “me pongo la camiseta”, they’re certainly committed to doing something.
- Poder (to be able to)
Yo puedo aprender español. (I can learn Spanish.) —This is something you may say to yourself to keep you motivated in your language learning process.
- Sentir (to feel)
Lo siento. (I’m sorry!) —This is another example of a chunk. This one is really popular with native Spanish speakers. So, learn it by heart and you will always use it correctly.
¡Muy bien! We have covered 13 irregular Spanish verbs in the first-person singular (this means you talking about yourself), in the present. There are many more conjugations depending on the tense and the person who’s performing the action. If you want us to prepare a video for any of these verbs, let me know in the comments!
Additionally, cuéntame en los comentarios (let me know in the comments) which is your favorite irregular verb and try to write a sentence with it as well!
Next up is the article where I teach you chunks to master the conjugation of SER, which is another irregular verb… and a very important one, actually! The verb SER follows its own rules, so to speak, so definitely check out my next article to discover the chunks with SER that will make your life easier!