Study tip: learning irregular verbs in the past Posted by on Oct 26, 2009 in Spanish Grammar

Irregular verbs are named that way because they are conjugated in unexpected ways. As a result, they are more difficult to learn and remember. They come in several present, past, and future tenses and there’s no magic way to learn them, but I devised a scheme here that might help you learn some verbs in the past. The verbs are tener (to have), estar (to be), venir (to come), poder (to be able to), poner (to put), querer (to want), saber (to know), caber (to fit), decir (to say) and traer (to bring).

Here’s the deal: I’ll give you the first verb form of tener (to have). See how I separared the root of the past tense and the ending. Now, if you remember just that form, and then add the same personal endings, you will be able to use all forms correctly for this tense

Yo                           tuve
Tú                           tuviste
Él/ella/usted           tuvo
Nosotros(as)            tuvimos
Vosotros(as)            tuvisteis
Ellos/ellas/ustedes tuvieron

The same happens with these verbs:

Estar = estuv (estuve, estuviste)
Venir = vin (vin-e, vin-iste, etc.)
Poder = pud (pud-e, pud-iste)
Poner = pus (pus-e, pus-iste)
Querer = quis (quis-e, quis-iste)
Saber = sup (sup-e, sup-iste)
Caber = cup (cup-e, cup-iste)
Decir = dij (dij-e, dij-iste)
Traer = traj (traj-e, traj-iste)

Like the tip? Leave a comment and, if you have any other tips to learn Spanish verbs, tell us!

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About the Author: Adir

English / Spanish teacher and translator for over 20 years. I have been blogging since 2007 and I am also a professional singer in my spare time.


  1. Henny Houston:

    I like that tip about the past tenses of the irregular verbs, makes it much easier to remember. I always like your tips.
    muchas gracias.

  2. Shawn:

    Muchas gracias, tambien. No se olviden que “hacer” se pone hice, hiciste, hizo, etc.