Studying verbs and their conjugations can be tricky, but learning irregular verbs can become an impossible mission. Before we look at some tips and tricks on how to learn irregular verbs in Spanish, you need to know what they are and how to identify them.
What is an irregular verb in Spanish?
An irregular verb is a verb that has particular conjugations depending on the mood or tense in which it is conjugated. This means that irregular verbs do not conform to the conjugation paradigms of verbs such as amar (love), temer (fear) and partir (split), as they take on different desinences from regular verbs.
Absolutely all verbs are composed of two fundamental parts from a morphological point of view:
- Root. The root of the verb is the part that expresses its meaning.
- Desinence. It is the part of the verb that indicates the grammatical person, number, tense, verb aspect and mood.
For example, in the verb amar, the root is AM and the desinence is AR.
With this in mind, there are two types of verbs: regular verbs with uniform conjugations, with no changes in the roots, and irregular verbs with changes in the root, the desinence or both parts.
How to identify irregular verbs in Spanish?
A trick to recognise whether we are dealing with a regular or irregular verb is to conjugate it according to the verbs amar, temer and partir and in different tenses (present, past perfect simple and future).
If when conjugating it we see that the sound of the root or the desinences changes, we are dealing with an irregular verb. Below, you can see a list of all the irregular verbs in Spanish.
List of all the irregular verbs in Spanish
Tricks for learning irregular verbs in Spanish
If you want to perfectly master the conjugation of irregular verbs in Spanish, follow these tips:
Listen to what is going on around you
To learn a new language, it is very important to listen to it, to listen. Listening to the radio, a podcast, or songs in Spanish will help you to listen and pay attention to the way you conjugate verbs.
Pay attention to what is around you, conversations, television, radio, movies, series, etc. After all, the conjugation of irregular verbs comes naturally in any situation.
This advice is as useful for a child learning another language as it is for a foreigner who wants to learn Spanish.
Read in Spanish
Reading in another language is fundamental to learn it. To learn irregular verbs in Spanish, you will have to read a book or novel in the language you want to learn.
As you read, the conjugations of the irregular verbs will emerge, and little by little you will acquire that knowledge from seeing them so many times.
Paint irregular verbs
You can use painting as a mnemonic rule to learn the conjugations of irregular verbs. Choose to paint the root of the verb in one color and the desinence in another to memorize its conjugations in an easier and more fun way.
Online portals for learning
Some official websites, such as those of the Instituto Cervantes or the Real Academia Española de la lengua (RAE), solve doubts to learn more about Spanish.
In addition, the RAE has a games section where learning Spanish becomes more fun.