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20 Must-know Irregular Verbs in Spanish

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.

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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
Yo Soy  Fui  Er Seré 
Eres  Fuiste  Eras  Serás 
Él/Ella/Usted Es  Fue  Er Será 
Nosotros Somos  Fuimos  Éramos  Seremos 
Vosotros Sois  Fuisteis  Erais  Seréis 
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes So Fueron  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.

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SubjectPresentPreteriteFuture Simple
Yo Estoy Estuve Estaré 
Estás Estuviste  Estarás 
Él/Ella/Usted Está Estuvo  Estará 
Nosotros Estamos Estuvimos  Estaremos 
Vosotros Estáis Estuvisteis  Estaréis 
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes Están 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
Yo He  Hube  Habré 
Has  Hubiste  Habrás 
Él/Ella/Usted Ha, hay  Hubo  Habrá 
Nosotros Hemos  Hubimos  Habremos 
Vosotros Habéis  Hubisteis  Habréis 
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes Han  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.

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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
Yo Teng Tuve  Tendré 
Tienes  Tuviste  Tendrás 
Él/Ella/Usted Tiene  Tuvo  Tendrá 
Nosotros Tenemos  Tuvimos  Tendremos 
Vosotros Tenéis  Tuvisteis  Tendréis 
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes Tienen  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
Yo Puedo  Pude  Podré 
Puedes  Pudiste  Podrás 
Él/Ella/Usted Puede  Pudo  Podrá 
Nosotros Podemos  Pudimos  Podremos 
Vosotros Podéis  Pudisteis  Podréis 
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes Pueden  Pudieron  Podrán 


No puede nadar. (He can’t swim.)

¿Puedo ayudarle? (Can I help you?)

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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
Yo Hag Hice  Haré 
Haces  Hiciste  Harás 
Él/Ella/Usted Hace  Hizo  Hará 
Nosotros Hacemos  Hicimos  Haremos 
Vosotros Hacéis  Hicisteis  Haréis 
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes Hacen  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
Yo Voy  Fui  Iba  Iré 
Vas  Fuiste  Ibas  Irás
Él/Ella/Usted Va  Fue  Iba  Irá 
Nosotros Vamos  Fuimos  Íbamos  Iremos 
Vosotros Vais  Fuisteis  Ibais  Iréis 
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes Van  Fueron  Iban  Irán 


Voy a Francia. (I’m going to France.)

Ya se fue. (He already left.)

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8. Poner – To place, to put

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

SubjectPresentPreteriteFuture Simple
Yo Pong Puse  Pondré 
Pones  Pusiste  Pondrás 
Él/Ella/Usted Pone  Puso  Pondrá 
Nosotros Ponemos  Pusimos  Pondremos 
Vosotros Ponéis  Pusisteis  Pondréis 
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes Ponen  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.

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9. Decir – To say

Decir is conjugated in the same way as:

  • Bendecir (to bless)
  • Maldecir (to curse or insult)
SubjectPresentPreteriteFuture Simple
Yo Dig Dije  Diré 
Dices  Dijiste  Dirás 
Él/Ella/Usted Dice  Dij Dirá 
Nosotros Decimos  Dijimos  Diremos 
Vosotros Decís  Dijisteis  Diréis 
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes Dicen  Dijieron  Dirán 


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

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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
Yo Ve Vi  Veía  Veré 
Ves  Viste  Veías  Verás 
Él/Ella/Usted Ve  Vio  Veía  Verá 
Nosotros Vemos  Vimos  Veíamos  Veremos 
Vosotros Veis  Visteis  Veíais  Veréis 
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes Ven  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
Yo Quiero  Quise  Querré 
Quieres  Quisiste  Querrás 
Él/Ella/Usted Quiere  Quiso  Querrá 
Nosotros Queremos  Quisimos  Querremos 
Vosotros Queréis  Quisisteis  Querréis 
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes Quieren  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
Yo Sé  Supe  Sabré 
Sabes  Supiste  Sabrás 
Él/Ella/Usted Sabe  Supo  Sabrá 
Nosotros Sabemos  Supimos  Sabremos 
Vosotros Sabéis  Supisteis  Sabréis 
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes Saben  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
Yo Llego  Llegué  Llegaré 
Llegas  Llegaste  Llegarás 
Él/Ella/Usted Llega  Llegó  Llegará 
Nosotros Llegamos  Lllegamos  Llegaremos 
Vosotros Llegáis  Llegasteis  Llegaréis 
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes Llegan  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
Yo Creo  Creí  Creeré 
Crees  Creíste  Creerás 
Él/Ella/Usted Cree  Creyó  Creerá 
Nosotros Creemos  Creímos  Creeremos 
Vosotros Creéis  Creísteis  Creeréis 
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes Creen  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
Yo Encuentro  Encontré  Encontraré 
Encuentras  Encontraste  Encontrarás 
Él/Ella/Usted Encuentra  Encontró  Encontrará 
Nosotros Encontramos  Encontramos  Encontraremos 
Vosotros Encontráis  Encontrasteis  Encontraréis 
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes Encuentran  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
Yo Veng Vine  Vendré 
Vienes  Viniste  Vendrás 
Él/Ella/Usted Viene  Vino  Vendrá 
Nosotros Venimos Vinimos  Vendremos 
Vosotros Venís  Vinisteis  Vendréis 
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes Vienen  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
Yo Pienso  Pensé  Pensaré 
Piensas  Pensaste  Pensarás 
Él/Ella/Usted Piensa  Pensó  Pensará 
Nosotros Pensamos  Pensamos  Pensaremos 
Vosotros Pensáis  Pensasteis  Pensaréis 
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes Piensan  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
Yo Conozco  Conocí  Conoceré 
Conoces  Conociste  Conocerás 
Él/Ella/Usted Conoce  Conoció  Conocerá 
Nosotros Conocemos  Conocimos  Conoceremos 
Vosotros Conocéis  Conocisteis  Conoceréis 
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes Conocen  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
Yo Siento  Sentí  Sentiré 
Sientes  Sentiste  Sentirás 
Él/Ella/Usted Siente  Sintió  Sentirá 
Nosotros Sentimos  Sentimos  Sentiremos 
Vosotros Sentís  Sentisteis  Sentiréis 
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes Sienten  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
Yo Vuelvo  Volví  Volveré 
Vuelves  Volviste  Volverás 
Él/Ella/Usted Vuelve  Volvió  Volverá 
Nosotros Volvemos  Volvimos  Volveremos 
Vosotros Volvéis  Volvisteis  Volveréis 
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes Vuelven  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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