Spanish Preterite Verbs: Leer, Saber & Traer

You will find so many irregular verbs in the preterite tense that it’s not even funny. This is one reason why you weren’t introduced to the past tense until the intermediate book: you have to be pretty dedicated to Spanish to make it this far!

If you ARE truly dedicated to learning Spanish, you’ll put in the time necessary to memorize the handful of irregular patterns that occur. The best advice I can offer you is to sound out every verb that you conjugate. The more you hear Spanish aloud, the more you’ll begin to realize when an incorrect word “sounds funny.”

The verbs below DO sound funny if you try to conjugate them in the normal way.

For example, try to say, “He read the book yesterday,” in Spanish. Did you say, “Él leió el libro ayer”? What a mouthful! The word leió does not exist in Spanish, because there’s a much, much easier alternative: leyó.

Now, try the sentence, “You brought it.” This sentence is almost impossible to say if translated as, “Usted lo traió.” Again, there is an easier alternative: Usted lo trajo.

Examine the list of irregular verbs below.

 

LEER
(to read)

SABER
(to know , to know how)

TRAER
(to bring)

yo

leí

supe

traje

leíste

supiste

trajiste

Ud., él, ella,

leyó

supo

trajo

nosotros/as

leímos

supimos

trajimos

vosotros/as

leísteis

supisteis

trajisteis

Uds., ellos, ellas

leyeron

supieron

trajeron

Understanding LEER

When there are two vowel sounds in a row, you will often have to change the spelling in order to preserve the pronunciation.

The pattern is as follows:

- The ‘i’ is replaced with a ‘y’ in the third person singular and plural forms.
- The initial ‘i’ of the verb ending is accented in all forms.

Verbs that follow the same pattern as leer include caer (to fall) and oír (to hear).

- caer: caí, caíste, cayó, caímos, caísteis, cayeron
- oír: oí, oíste, oyó, oímos, oísteis, oyeron

Por ejemplo:

Understanding SABER

This is a very strange stem change in which a vowel (whether an ‘a,’ ‘e,’ or ‘o’) changes to a ‘u’. It has no rhyme or reason.

The pattern is as follows:

A vowel is replaced with ‘u.’
The first and third person singular forms follow the –AR verb endings.
The second person singular and all plural forms follow the –ER/–IR verb endings.
There are no accent marks.

You’ll see this stem change in tener (to have), estar (to be), andar (to walk), poder (to be able to, can), and poner (to put).

tener: tuve, tuviste, tuvo, tuvimos, tuvisteis, tuvieron
estar: estuve, estuviste, estuvo, estuvimos, estuvisteis, estuvieron
andar: anduve, anduviste, anduvo, anduvimos, anduvisteis, anduvieron
poder: pude, pusiste, pudo, pudimos, pudisteis, pudieron
poner: puse, pusiste, puso, pusimos, pusisteis, pusieron

Por ejemplo:

Understanding TRAER

Remember how I mentioned earlier that decir had an additional irregularity, aside from the –e to –i stem change? Here it is: the ‘c’ in decir changes to a ‘j’ in order to preserve the hard consonant sound. For example, try to say the sentence, “She said.” If you answered, “Ella dició,” you’d be wrong. Spanish has a much simpler alternative: Ella dijo.

In addition, the endings follow the same patterns as the group of verbs above (-e, -iste, -o, -imos, -isteis, -ieron).

The pattern is as follows:

The ‘c’ (or ‘e’ in the case of traer) is changed to ‘j.’
The first and third person singular forms follow the –AR verb endings.
The second person singular and all plural forms follow the –ER/–IR verb endings.
There are no accent marks.

Verbs that follow this pattern are conducir (to drive) and producir (to produce).

conducir: conduje, condujiste, condujo, condujimos, condujisteis, condujeron producir: produje, produjiste, produjo, produjimos, produjisteis, produjeron decir: dije, dijiste, dijo, dijimos, dijisteis, dijeron

Por ejemplo:

A Few More Irregulars: HACER, VENIR, QUERER

By now you may be noticing a pattern. There are many irregular verbs in the preterite that follow the pattern of endings: -e, -iste, -o, -imos, -isteis, -ieron, with all forms being unstressed (e.g., without an accent mark). Three more of those verbs are hacer, venir, and querer.

 

HACER
(to make, to do)

QUERER
(to want, to love)

VENIR
(to come)

yo

hice

quise

vine

hiciste

quisiste

viniste

Ud., él, ella,

hizo

quiso

vino

nosotros/as

hicimos

quisimos

vinimos

vosotros/as

hicisteis

quisisteis

vinisteis

Uds., ellos, ellas

hicieron

quisieron

vinieron

Notice that both querer and venir are –e to –i stem changing verbs, while hacer makes a very strange stem change from –a to –i.

You will use these verbs so frequently that it is a good idea to put in the time to memorize their forms.

In the next section the confustion begins when you'll learn about Spanish Preterite Short Verbs: DAR, VER, IR and SER

Hola, my name’s Mauricio Evlampieff, I’m the host of Rocket Spanish.

I come from the beautiful country of Chile, which means Spanish is my native language. But I know how hard it can be to learn a new language, because I’ve been there.

Together with my English speaking colleague, Amy, I want to help you to speak and understand Spanish while cutting your learning time in half with my Rocket Spanish online course.

I've travelled the world over, and have found that languages are a great way to meet people and discover new things. I really want to make your Spanish learning experience rewarding and fun!

Speak Spanish...
  • With over 30 fully downloadable Interactive Audio Lessons. Based on actual everyday Spanish conversations, these lessons average over 25 minutes each, giving you more than 12 hours of real Spanish conversation!

Try one for yourself today! Here is the very first Interactive Audio Lesson from Rocket Spanish

Listen to the FULL Audio

Understand Spanish...

There are just 3 steps to dramatically improving your understanding of Spanish!

  • Learn to understand exactly how Spanish works by exploring over 30 Language & Culture Lessons
  • Train your ear with Hear It Say It !, the self-testing tool that perfects your pronunciation by harnessing the power of our Rocket Record voice comparison technology.
  • Put yourself on the spot by testing how accurately you can translate randomly selected phrases using Rocket Record and the Know It! self-testing tool.
Cut your learning time in half...
  • By checking out our Advanced Learning Techniques; making the most of My Forum, our 24/7 online learners space, and making learning fun with the Language Master Games.
  • Plus you can see just how quickly you language skills are growing with My Level, our self-testing tool.

And that’s not all!

So, if you’re ready to speak and understand Spanish while cutting your learning time in half, then Rocket Spanish is just what you need...!

Like This Resource? Please Share!

Like Our Site? Follow Us!

Click here to
improve your Spanish,
get a free trial, a
free report and more...
Rocket Spanish Host - Mauricio Evlampieff
PC Mag PC mag editor rating

“Rocket Languages is our Editors’ Choice for language-learning.”

Bessie Awards

More Learn Spanish resources

Rocket Spanish Premium

This beginner level course for new learners contains some amazing features that will really get your Spanish language skills moving.

Click Here to Learn More


Click here to take a tour of Rocket Spanish Premium


Rocket Spanish Premium Plus

-Intermediate Course

This course is perfect if you have some Spanish skills already and you're ready to step up to the next level

Click Here to Learn More


Rocket Spanish Platinum

-Advanced Course

If you're ready to become a fluent, natural, confident Spanish speaker then this advanced level course is for you.

Click Here to Learn More


Learn Spanish Forum

This Spanish language forum is where you go to get feedback and to connect with other learners. Interacting with teachers and peers will really help develop your understanding!

Click Here to Learn More


Learn Spanish Blog

Rocket Languages
Reviews

How satisfied are you with your Rocket Languages experience?

How likely are you to buy again?

Are you happy with the price?

Would you recommend to a friend?

How was the Customer Service?


Steve L. Bemis - Texas, USA - Rocket Spanish

"While a co-worker who bought a *competitors* series is still at square one, my Spanish has progressed to the point that I became the translator for our construction team..."

Read More

Steve L. Bemis

Texas, USA

"While a co-worker who bought a *competitors* series is still at square one, my Spanish has progressed to the point that I became the translator for our construction team..."

Overall
How satisfied are you with your Rocket Languages experience?
How likely are you to buy again?
Are you happy with the price?
Would you recommend to a friend?
How was the Customer Service?

Hola Mauricio. When our company began to do business in Chile, it became necessary for me to get serious about learning Spanish. I'd tried various courses and books in the past without getting very far. I researched all of the computer based teaching programs including all of the well known and more expensive and chose Rocket Spanish specifically because of the interactive conversational part of the course. The online/downloadable version is a great value.

While a co-worker who bought a *competitors* series is still at square one, my Spanish has progressed to the point that I became the translator for our construction team on a recent mission trip to Mexico. On that trip, I became friends with a Venezuelan man and was able (with a little help) to have a 45 minute conversation about our countries, homes and families. All this is before I have tackled the advanced part of the course.

The course is well designed and moves at a fast enough pace to hold the attention of a quick learner but allows as much time and as many repetitions as needed to allow anyone to understand each part. The written materials are a great support and cover the details and "dry" stuff while requiring a minimum of memorization. It still takes work to learn, but Rocket Spanish is far more interesting and user friendly than any other approach I've seen.

Especially helpful is the combination of South American pronunciation by Mauricio and English explanation by Amy. They do a great job of helping you understand the details of the conversation without getting unnecessarily bogged down in the grammar. The humor they add to the conversations really helps to keep the interest level high and the stress level low. The result is a lot more natural, like the way I learned English before the teachers got a hold of me.


S.Shankar Bellam - Houston, USA - Rocket Spanish

"Rocket Spanish is a really good way to learn a new language. I have tries other major players in this market and have not been as satisfied as I am with Rocket Spanish."

Read More

S.Shankar Bellam

Houston, USA

"Rocket Spanish is a really good way to learn a new language. I have tries other major players in this market and have not been as satisfied as I am with Rocket Spanish."

Overall
How satisfied are you with your Rocket Languages experience?
How likely are you to buy again?
Are you happy with the price?
Would you recommend to a friend?
How was the Customer Service?

Rocket Spanish is a really good way to learn a new language. I have tries other major players in this market and have not been as satisfied as I am with Rocket Spanish. I have just begun and hope to fulfill my wish to speak Spanish fluently and am sure that this new skill set will give me an edge over other candidates when am interviewing for an employer.


Erin Diaz - Makawao, USA - Rocket Spanish

"this has been the most effective use of time and energy so far in my experience. Rocket Language Spanish allows me to try the areas I am most likely to succeed in at a fast rate..."

Read More

Erin Diaz

Makawao, USA

"this has been the most effective use of time and energy so far in my experience. Rocket Language Spanish allows me to try the areas I am most likely to succeed in at a fast rate..."

Overall
How satisfied are you with your Rocket Languages experience?
How likely are you to buy again?
Are you happy with the price?
Would you recommend to a friend?
How was the Customer Service?

There have been other trials -yet, this has been the most effective use of time and energy so far in my experience. Rocket Language Spanish allows me to try the areas I am most likely to succeed in at a fast rate, or just at my own pace.
Gracias!


gina frierman-hunt - USA - Rocket Spanish

"A good way to learn Spanish, I definitely think I am improving. It is nice that I could test out on some lessons that I already knew. I like to listen to the conversations on my phone..."

Read More

gina frierman-hunt

USA

"A good way to learn Spanish, I definitely think I am improving. It is nice that I could test out on some lessons that I already knew. I like to listen to the conversations on my phone..."

Overall
How satisfied are you with your Rocket Languages experience?
How likely are you to buy again?
Are you happy with the price?
Would you recommend to a friend?
How was the Customer Service?

A good way to learn Spanish, I definitely think I am improving. It is nice that I could test out on some lessons that I already knew. I like to listen to the conversations on my phone while I am at the gym doing boring cardio workouts.


Becky Byrne - Martin, SD, United States - Rocket Spanish

"This is a fun way to learn Spanish. The question and answers segments show me which words and phrases I need to practice on. The conversations seem to be the ones I will most commonly use..."

Read More

Becky Byrne

Martin, SD, United States

"This is a fun way to learn Spanish. The question and answers segments show me which words and phrases I need to practice on. The conversations seem to be the ones I will most commonly use..."

Overall
How satisfied are you with your Rocket Languages experience?
How likely are you to buy again?
Are you happy with the price?
Would you recommend to a friend?
How was the Customer Service?

This is a fun way to learn Spanish. The question and answers segments show me which words and phrases I need to practice on. The conversations seem to be the ones I will most commonly use when I get to Mexico.


FREE TRIAL