Spanish Stem-changing Verbs
Stem-changing verbs in Spanish suffer a change in their stem when they are conjugated.
What does that mean? Let me explain…
A verb stem is the root of a verb. For example, in the verb amar, am is the stem, and ar is the ending.
In Spanish, all verbs end in one of three ways:
- verbs that end in -ar
- verbs that end in -er
- verbs that end in -ir
If you eliminate the ending of a verb, all you are left with is its stem.
In Spanish, a verb is considered irregular when there is a change in its stem when it is conjugated.
If the stem of a verb does not change when the verb is conjugated, then, it is considered a regular verb.
Let’s practice a bit!
What’s the stem of the verb querer (to love)?
When conjugated, the verb querer changes to quiero (I love), for example.
Is querer a stem-changing verb in Spanish or not?
Yes, it is! Its stem changes, for the vowel i is added in quer.
Oh! The verbs we are about to study are also called boot verbs.
Have you ever wondered why?
It’s because when they are conjugated and placed in a conjugation table, the only verbs that suffer a stem change form a boot.
That kind of looks like a boot, doesn’t it?
Notice in the chart that the nosotros and vosotros forms are not affected by this stem change in the present tense.