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20 Must-know Irregular Verbs in Spanish and How To Conjugate Them with Ease

There are lots of irregular verbs in Spanish, so it won’t take long until you run into them on your learning journey.

Some of the most common verbs that you’ll use everyday—like ir (to go), estar (to be), ser (to be) and more—don’t follow the regular -ar, -er and -ir conjugation patterns.

But the good news is Spanish irregular verbs aren’t as baffling as they first appear!

In this post, you’ll learn 20 of the most common irregular verbs in Spanish, how many there are in total, how to conjugate them and more.


How Many Irregular Verbs Are There in Spanish?

Irregular verbs are verbs that do not follow the standard “regular” verb conjugations.

Spanish has over 250 irregular verbs. While this may sound like a lot, don’t worry, there are lots of patterns that will help you memorize a majority of these irregular verbs.

These numbers should put things into perspective when thinking about how many Spanish verbs are irregular:

  • Almost all -ar verbs are regular. Less than 5% are irregular.
  • Almost all -er verbs are irregular. Over 72% are irregular. There are 18 verbs that end in –aer and they are all irregular. For example, caer (to fall) and traer (to bring).
  • Less than half of all -ir verbs are irregular. Over 33% are irregular.

Please note that only ser, ir and ver are irregular in the past imperfect, so we haven’t included the past imperfect conjugation for the rest of the verbs.

Most Common Irregular Verbs in Spanish

1. Ser – To be

Ser is particularly irregular in all of the present, past and subjunctive tenses, as well as the imperative, but it does follow the rules for the future, conditional and past participle.

This form of to be is used when something or someone has a quality, possession, price or origin.

SubjectPresentPreteriteImperfectFuture Simple
YoSoy Fui ErSeré 
Eres Fuiste Eras Serás 
Él/Ella/UstedEs Fue ErSerá 
NosotrosSomos Fuimos Éramos Seremos 
VosotrosSois Fuisteis Erais Seréis 
Ellos/Ellas/UstedesSoFueron Eran Serán 


¿De donde eres? (Where are you from?)

Fuimos los campeones. (We were the champions.)

2. Estar – To be

Estar also has its own unique conjugations, though it’s regular in more tenses than ser (to be).

It’s irregular in the present, preterite and future subjunctive.

As you can see, both ser and estar mean “to be,” but estar is used for feelings, locations and temporary states.

If you haven’t mastered differentiating these two verbs yet, I highly recommend bookmarking our in-depth guide on ser vs. estar here to check out next.

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


Los pingüinos están molestos. (The penguins are angry.)

¿Dónde está el baño? (Where’s the toilet?)

3. Haber – To be

Haber is used as an auxiliary verb in the same way that English uses have. For example, he comido (I’ve eaten).

Conjugations of haber you’ll use often include hay (there is/are) and hubo (there were). For a more in-depth rundown on how to use haber specifically, check out our complete guide here.

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 


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.)

4. Tener – To have

The present and subjective form of tener is completely irregular, but otherwise its irregularities often just involve an e-to-ie stem change, and tuv– for the past and subjunctive future.

Tener can be similar to haber in usage, so consider reading our post on tener vs. haber here if you don’t know the differences.

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


Tengo que irme ya. (I have to go now.)

Maria tiene dolor de cabeza. (Maria has a headache.)

5. Poder – To be able

Poder follows the same model as many irregular verbs, changing o to ue or to u, though be aware that its future form gets a bit complex.

In all irregular verbs, when these changes to ue occur, nosotros is never affected.

SubjectPresentPreteriteFuture Simple
YoPuedo Pude Podré 
Puedes Pudiste Podrás 
Él/Ella/UstedPuede Pudo Podrá 
NosotrosPodemos Pudimos Podremos 
VosotrosPodéis Pudisteis Podréis 
Ellos/Ellas/UstedesPueden Pudieron Podrán 


No puede nadar. (He can’t swim.)

¿Puedo ayudarle? (Can I help you?)

6. 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)
  • Satisfacer (satisfy)
SubjectPresentPreteriteFuture Simple
YoHagHice Haré 
Haces Hiciste Harás 
Él/Ella/UstedHace Hizo Hará 
NosotrosHacemos Hicimos Haremos 
VosotrosHacéis Hicisteis Haréis 
Ellos/Ellas/UstedesHacen Hicieron Harán 


No hago deporte. (I don’t do sports.)

Me haces reir. (You make me laugh.)

7. Ir – To go

Ir is another verb that’s uniquely irregular in all of the tenses.

SubjectPresentPreteriteImperfectFuture Simple
YoVoy Fui Iba Iré 
Vas Fuiste Ibas Irás
Él/Ella/UstedVa Fue Iba Irá 
NosotrosVamos Fuimos Íbamos Iremos 
VosotrosVais Fuisteis Ibais Iréis 
Ellos/Ellas/UstedesVan Fueron Iban Irán 


Voy a Francia. (I’m going to France.)

Ya se fue. (He already left.)

8. Poner – To place, to put

For poner, the stem changes to u in the past tense.

SubjectPresentPreteriteFuture Simple
YoPongPuse Pondré 
Pones Pusiste Pondrás 
Él/Ella/UstedPone Puso Pondrá 
NosotrosPonemos Pusimos Pondremos 
VosotrosPonéis Pusisteis Pondréis 
Ellos/Ellas/UstedesPonen Pusieron Pondrán 


Puse los libros en los estantes. (I put the books on the shelves.)

Ponte los zapatos. (Put on your shoes.)

The last example is conjugated in the imperative mood.

To get familiar with more tenses, it’s important to consume Spanish media so you can solidify your current knowledge and learn new grammar tenses in context.

You can do this with a language learning program like FluentU, which uses authentic Spanish videos (like movie trailers, music videos and commercials) and adds interactive subtitles to them.

These subtitles make it easier to spot verb tenses and new vocabulary in context, and you can click on them to see their definitions, pronunciations, example sentences and add them to a flashcard deck.

9. Decir – To say

Decir is conjugated in the same way as:

  • Bendecir (to bless)
  • Maldecir (to curse or insult)
SubjectPresentPreteriteFuture Simple
YoDigDije Diré 
Dices Dijiste Dirás 
Él/Ella/UstedDice DijDirá 
NosotrosDecimos Dijimos Diremos 
VosotrosDecís Dijisteis Diréis 
Ellos/Ellas/UstedesDicen Dijieron Dirán 


Dice que el mundo está malo. (He says the world is bad.)

Se dice que es mejor comer un buen desayuno. (They say it’s better to eat a big breakfast.)

10. Ver – To see, to watch

Ver is another unique verb that doesn’t share the patterns of any other.

Note that veis, vi and vio aren’t technically “irregular” forms—the deviations from normal conjugation patterns are actually due to accentuation rules!

SubjectPresentPreteriteImperfectFuture Simple
YoVeVi Veía Veré 
Ves Viste Veías Verás 
Él/Ella/UstedVe Vio Veía Verá 
NosotrosVemos Vimos Veíamos Veremos 
VosotrosVeis Visteis Veíais Veréis 
Ellos/Ellas/UstedesVen Vieron Veían Verán 


Te veo el lunes. (I’ll see you on Monday.)

Vio la película el lunes. (She saw the movie on Monday.)

11. Querer – To want, to care about

Querer’s stem changes to i in the past tense, and conjugates the same way as:

  • Bienquerer (to be fond of)
  • Malquerer (to dislike)
SubjectPresentPreteriteFuture Simple
YoQuiero Quise Querré 
Quieres Quisiste Querrás 
Él/Ella/UstedQuiere Quiso Querrá 
NosotrosQueremos Quisimos Querremos 
VosotrosQueréis Quisisteis Querréis 
Ellos/Ellas/UstedesQuieren Quisieron Querrán 


Quiero irme ya. (I want to go now.)

Te quiero mucho. (I care about you a lot.)

12. Saber – To know, to taste

Like many irregular verbs, saber is irregular in the first person present tense and its stem in the preterite tense consistently changes to u.

SubjectPresentPreteriteFuture Simple
YoSé Supe Sabré 
Sabes Supiste Sabrás 
Él/Ella/UstedSabe Supo Sabrá 
NosotrosSabemos Supimos Sabremos 
VosotrosSabéis Supisteis Sabréis 
Ellos/Ellas/UstedesSaben Supieron Sabrán 


Él sabe todas las respuestas. (He knows all the answers.)

Sabe muy bien. (It tastes very good.)

13. Llegar – To arrive

The main way llegar is irregular is that its e changes to ue in the present subjunctive. Otherwise, it’s mostly regular.

SubjectPresentPreteriteFuture Simple
YoLlego Llegué Llegaré 
Llegas Llegaste Llegarás 
Él/Ella/UstedLlega Llegó Llegará 
NosotrosLlegamos Lllegamos Llegaremos 
VosotrosLlegáis Llegasteis Llegaréis 
Ellos/Ellas/UstedesLlegan Llegaron Llegarán 


Llego a Caracas el jueves. (I arrive in Caracas on Thursday.)

Nunca llegó. (He never arrived.)

14. Creer – To think, to believe

Creer shares its conjugation pattern with a number of verbs, including:

  • Desposeer (to dispossess)
  • Desproveer (to deprive)
  • Poseer (to own)
  • Proveer (to provide)
  • Sobreseer (to discontinue)

Its present tense is regular.

SubjectPresentPreteriteFuture Simple
YoCreo Creí Creeré 
Crees Creíste Creerás 
Él/Ella/UstedCree Creyó Creerá 
NosotrosCreemos Creímos Creeremos 
VosotrosCreéis Creísteis Creeréis 
Ellos/Ellas/UstedesCreen Creyeron Creerán 


No te creo. (I don’t believe you.)

No todo el mundo cree en Dios. (Not everyone believes in God.)

15. Encontrar – To find, to meet

Encontrar is another o → ue verb.

SubjectPresentPreteriteFuture Simple
YoEncuentro Encontré Encontraré 
Encuentras Encontraste Encontrarás 
Él/Ella/UstedEncuentra Encontró Encontrará 
NosotrosEncontramos Encontramos Encontraremos 
VosotrosEncontráis Encontrasteis Encontraréis 
Ellos/Ellas/UstedesEncuentran Encontraron Encontrarán 


Encontraron el cuerpo en el pecio. (They found the body in the wreckage of the ship.)

Me encontré a tu amigo en la calle. (I bumped into your friend in the street.)

16. Venir – To come

Venir conjugates in a similar way as tener (to have), with the first person present tense changing to a g, vengo.

SubjectPresentPreteriteFuture Simple
YoVengVine Vendré 
Vienes Viniste Vendrás 
Él/Ella/UstedViene Vino Vendrá 
NosotrosVenimos Vinimos Vendremos 
VosotrosVenís Vinisteis Vendréis 
Ellos/Ellas/UstedesVienen Vinieron Vendrán 


La profe vino tarde. (The teacher came late.)

Vengo de lejos. (I come from far away.)

17. Pensar – To think

Pensar has an e → ie verb change in the present simple and present subjunctive.

A lot of verbs follow this pattern, such as:

  • Alentar (to encourage)
  • Apretar (to squeeze)
  • Calentar (to heat)
  • Cerrar (to close)
  • Confesar (to confess)

Notice they’re all -ar verbs with an e in the second to last syllable.

SubjectPresentPreteriteFuture Simple
YoPienso Pensé Pensaré 
Piensas Pensaste Pensarás 
Él/Ella/UstedPiensa Pensó Pensará 
NosotrosPensamos Pensamos Pensaremos 
VosotrosPensáis Pensasteis Pensaréis 
Ellos/Ellas/UstedesPiensan Pensaron Pensarán 


Pienso mucho en la noche. (I think a lot at night.)

No piensa salir con ella. (He doesn’t plan to go out with her.)

18. Conocer – To know

Conocer shares its conjugation pattern with:

  • Abastecer (to supply)
  • Atardecer (to get dark)
  • Apetecer (to feel like)
  • Aparecer (to appear)
  • Desobedecer (to disobey)
  • Parecer (to seem like)
  • Reconocer (to recognize)

It’s almost entirely regular in the present and past tense, becoming irregular in the present subjunctive.

Also note that there’s a difference between when you use conocer and saber, even though they both mean “to know.” After finishing this post, checkout our post on conocer vs. saber if you aren’t confident in distinguishing them yet.

SubjectPresentPreteriteFuture Simple
YoConozco Conocí Conoceré 
Conoces Conociste Conocerás 
Él/Ella/UstedConoce Conoció Conocerá 
NosotrosConocemos Conocimos Conoceremos 
VosotrosConocéis Conocisteis Conoceréis 
Ellos/Ellas/UstedesConocen Conocieron Conocerán 


Conozco a Pablo desde hace tiempo. (I’ve known Pablo for a while.)

El plomero conoce bien su oficio. (The plumber knows his job well.)

19. Sentir – To feel, to feel sorry

Sentir shares its conjugation with a lot of ir verbs with an e in the second to last syllable, such as:

  • Advertir (to warn)
  • Invertir (to invest)
  • Mentir (to lie)
  • Preferir (to prefer)
  • Hervir (to boil)
  • Herir (to injure)
SubjectPresentPreteriteFuture Simple
YoSiento Sentí Sentiré 
Sientes Sentiste Sentirás 
Él/Ella/UstedSiente Sintió Sentirá 
NosotrosSentimos Sentimos Sentiremos 
VosotrosSentís Sentisteis Sentiréis 
Ellos/Ellas/UstedesSienten Sintieron Sentirán 


Siento mucho la muerte de tu abuela. (I’m really sorry about your grandmother’s death.)

Siente calor. (He feels the heat.)

20. Volver – To return, to do again

Volver is an o → ue verb that shares its conjugation pattern with a range of similar verbs such as:

  • Llover (to rain)
  • Morder (to bite)
  • Resolver (to resolve)
  • Absolver (to absolve/to pardon)
  • Disolver (to dissolve)
SubjectPresentPreteriteFuture Simple
YoVuelvo Volví Volveré 
Vuelves Volviste Volverás 
Él/Ella/UstedVuelve Volvió Volverá 
NosotrosVolvemos Volvimos Volveremos 
VosotrosVolvéis Volvisteis Volveréis 
Ellos/Ellas/UstedesVuelven Volvieron Volverán 


Vuelvo a casa después del trabajo. (I come home after work.)

Volvieron a hacerlo porque hubo errores. (They did it again because there were mistakes.)

What Are Spanish Stem-changing Verbs?

Stem-changing verbs are similar to irregular verbs because they change slightly when conjugated—however it’s not just the ending which changes, the stem (the first part of the verb) changes too!

And while stem-changing verbs aren’t the same as irregular verbs, many do also happen to be irregular.

There are three main types of stem-changing verbs, which you’ve seen in the verbs above. These are:

  • 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 take a 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. 

To top off this study of irregular verbSo while stem-changing verbs aren’t the same as irregular verbs, many are both.teners, I highly recommend diving into stem-changing verbs with the post below!


There you have it—20 of the most essential irregular verbs in Spanish!

Now, you can conjugate some of the most common Spanish verbs—such as ser and estar—in the present tense, preterite tense and future simple tense.

And don’t forget you can download this guide as a PDF, so you can always come back to practice with it!

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