It won’t be long until you encounter irregular verbs during your Spanish language learning journey because there are many of them.  Many regular verbs, such as ir (to go), estar (to be), ser (to be), and others, don’t conjugate according to the standard patterns of -ar, -er, and -ir.

In this post, you’ll learn 10 of the most common irregular verbs in Spanish. So, let’s get started!

Master the essentials of Spanish irregular verbs

Exploring 5 most common Spanish irregular verbs

Verbs that deviate from the accepted conjugations of “regular” verbs are called irregular verbs. There are around 250 irregular verbs in Spanish. Though it might seem overwhelming, numerous patterns will assist you in learning most of these irregular verbs by heart.

Ser – To be

Ser follows the norms for the future, conditional, and past participle, but it is especially irregular in the imperative, present, past, and subjunctive tenses. This form of ‘ to be ‘ is utilized when something or someone has a quality, possession, price, or origin.

SubjectPresentPreteriteImperfectFuture Simple
YoSoy  Fui  Era  Seré  
Eres  Fuiste  Eras  Serás  
Él/Ella/UstedEs  Fue  Era  Será  
NosotrosSomos  Fuimos  Éramos  Seremos  
VosotrosSois  Fuisteis  Erais  Seréis  
Ellos/Ellas/UstedesSon  Fueron  Eran  Serán  

For example:

  • ¿De donde eres? (Where are you from?)
  • Fuimos los campeones. (We were the champions.)

Estar – To be

Similar to ser (to be), espar has its own special conjugations, but it is regular in more tenses. In the present, preterite, and future subjunctive, it is irregular.
Evidently, both ser and estar signify “to be,” but estar is more commonly associated with emotions, places, and transitory conditions.

SubjectPresentPreteriteFuture Simple
YoEstoy Estuve Estaré  
Estás Estuviste  Estarás  
Él/Ella/UstedEstá Estuvo  Estará  
NosotrosEstamos Estuvimos  Estaremos  
VosotrosEstáis Estuvisteis  Estaréis  
Ellos/Ellas/UstedesEstán Estuvieron  Estarán  

For example:

  •  Los pingüinos están molestos. (The penguins are angry.)
  • ¿Dónde está el baño? (Where’s the toilet?)

It is essential to learn Spanish grammar to become a fluent Spanish speaker. Grammar helps you structure sentences properly. Explore different Spanish content material to expand your language skills. Learning different forms of verbs, such as reflexive verbs in Spanish, can help you convey your meaning and sound like native speakers.

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Haber – To be

The same as with English, haber is employed as an auxiliary verb. For example, He comido means “I’ve eaten.” You will frequently employ the conjunctions hay (there is/are) and hubo (there were) as conjugations of haber.

SubjectPresentPreteriteFuture Simple
YoHe  Hube  Habré  
Has  Hubiste  Habrás  
Él/Ella/UstedHa, hay  Hubo  Habrá  
NosotrosHemos  Hubimos  Habremos  
VosotrosHabéis  Hubisteis  Habréis  
Ellos/Ellas/UstedesHan  Hubieron  Habrán  

For example:

  • Hay un dragón en la colina. (There’s a dragon on the hill.)
  • Hubo un accidente en la autopista. (There was an accident on the road.)

Tener – To have

The only other irregularity in tener is usually an e-to-ie stem change in the present and subjective forms, and tuv- in the past and subjunctive future.

SubjectPresentPreteriteFuture Simple
YoTengo  Tuve  Tendré  
Tienes  Tuviste  Tendrás  
Él/Ella/UstedTiene  Tuvo  Tendrá  
NosotrosTenemos  Tuvimos  Tendremos  
VosotrosTenéis  Tuvisteis  Tendréis  
Ellos/Ellas/UstedesTienen  Tuvieron  Tendrán  

For example:

  • Tengo que irme ya. (I have to go now.)
  •  Maria tiene dolor de cabeza. (Maria has a headache.)

Hacer – To do, to make

Hacer breaks all the rules in all the tenses, except the present tense—apart from yo. Other verbs that follow exactly the same pattern include: Deshacer (undo) and Satisfacer (satisfy).

SubjectPresentPreteriteFuture Simple
YoHago  Hice  Haré  
Haces  Hiciste  Harás  
Él/Ella/UstedHace  Hizo  Hará  
NosotrosHacemos  Hicimos  Haremos  
VosotrosHacéis  Hicisteis  Haréis  
Ellos/Ellas/UstedesHacen  Hicieron  Harán  

For example:

  • No hago deporte. (I don’t do sports.)
  • Me haces reir. (You make me laugh.)

What are Spanish stem-changing verbs?

Like irregular verbs, stem-changing verbs undergo a slight conjugation, but in addition to the ending changing, the verb’s stem (or initial component) also changes!

Furthermore, although stem-changing and irregular verbs are not the same, many are irregular. Stem-changing verbs fall into three primary categories. These are the following:

  •  i → e verbs
  • o  → ue verbs
  •  e → i verbs

There are also u → ue and i → ie verbs, however only three verbs fall into these categories: jugar (to play), inquirir (to inquire) and adquirir (to acquire).

Let’s look at a common stem-changing verb, dormir (to sleep), which falls under the o → ue category. You’ll notice that when it’s conjugated, the stem changes slightly for several of the subjects:

  • Yo duermo (I sleep)
  • Tú duermes (You sleep)
  •   Él/Ella/Usted duerme (He/she/you sleep)
  • Nosotros dormimos (We sleep)
  •  Vosotros dormís (You, plural sleep)
  •  Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes duermen (They/you, plural sleep)

Other common Spanish stem-changing verbs include poder (to be able to), pensar (to think), costar (to cost) and more. You must explore the best way to learn Spanish for yourself. Finding the learning strategy that suits you can speed up the learning process, bringing the desired outcome.

Make Spanish irregular verbs charts

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Frequently asked questions

What are irregular verbs in Spanish?

Irregular verbs in Spanish are verbs that do not follow the regular conjugation patterns. They often have unique conjugations in certain tenses or with certain pronouns.

How many types of irregular verbs are there in Spanish?

There are several irregular verbs in Spanish, including stem-changing, spelling-change, and completely irregular verbs.

What are stem-changing verbs in Spanish?

Stem-changing verbs in Spanish are where the stem (the part of the verb before the ending) changes in certain conjugations. For example, the verb “querer” (to want) changes to “quiero” in the yo (I) form.


Irregular verbs are an essential aspect of learning Spanish, adding depth and nuance to the language. While they can be challenging to master, you can become proficient in using them correctly with practice and exposure.

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