Spanish Stem Changing Verbs: In the Present Tense

What is a Stem Change?

Remember the two ways in which the verbs venir and tener were irregular? First, their yo form had a ‘g’ before the ‘o,’ and second, they had a stem change in the tú, Ud., and Uds. forms.

This notion of a stem change will become quite familiar to you over time, as many Spanish verbs are stem changing in every form exept nosotros/as and vosotros/as..

Let’s go back and review what a stem is. The stem of a verb is the part of the verb that is left once you take away the –ar, -er, or –ir ending. In regular verbs, the stem does not change no matter what ending you add on to it..

However, in stem changing verbs, the stem will change in every form but two. There are three common types of stem changing verbs: ‘e’ to ‘ie’, ‘e’ to ‘i’, and ‘o’ to ‘ue.’.

Review the following examples:

 
e to ie Comenzar
e to i MEDIR
o to ue DORMIR
 
to begin
to measure
to sleep
Download
Yo
comienzo
mido
duermo
Download
comienzas
mides
duermes
Download
Ud., él, ella
comienza
mide
duerme
Download
Nosotros/as
comenzamos
medimos
dormimos
Download
Vosotros/as
comenzáis
medéis
dormís
Download
Uds., ellos, ellas
comienzan
miden
duermen

Por ejemplo:

Download
Mis primos duermen mucho.
My cousins sleep a lot.
Download
Mido mi altura todas las semanas.
I measure my height every week.
Download
Nosotros comenzamos el juego.
We start the game.

A Rare Stem Change: i to ie

The stem change patterns above are the most common, but you will find a few verbs that make a different stem change: from i to ie.

 
ADQUIRIR
INQUIRIR
 
to acquire
to inquire
Download
yo
adquiero
inquiero
Download
adquieres
inquieres
Download
Ud., él, ella
adquiere
inquiere
Download
nosotros/as
adquirimos
inquirimos
Download
vosotros/as
adquirís
inquirís
Download
Uds., ellos, ellas
adquieren
inquieren

Por ejemplo:

1. Hoy tus padres adquieren una casa nueva.
- Today your parents acquire a new house.

2. Mi hermano inquiere sobre su equipo de fútbol.
- My brother inquires about his football team.

Download
Hoy tus padres adquieren una casa nueva.
Today your parents acquire a new house.
Download
Mi hermano inquiere sobre su equipo de fútbol.
My brother inquires about his football team.

Another Rare Stem Change: u to ue

A verb that you will use often in Spanish is jugar (to play). Jugar is a stem-changing verb with a u to ue stem change.

Download
Yo
juego
Download
juesgas
Download
Ud., él, ella
juega
Download
Nosotros/as
jugamos
Download
Vosotros/as
jugáis
Download
Uds., ellos, ellas
juegan

Por ejemplo:

Download
Los niños juegan en el parque.
The kids play in the park.
Download
Jugamos con ellos.
We play with them.

Please note that jugar does not include the sense of playing music or an instrument. If you want to say that you play the guitar, you will use the verb tocar, as in, “Toco la guitarra.”

The Last and Strangest Stem Change: o to hue

Last of all, you should note that the verb oler (to smell) is also irregular. You’ll need to memorize this stem change if you want to talk of smelling the roses.

Download
Yo
huelo
Download
hueles
Download
Ud., él, ella
huele
Download
Nosotros/as
olemos
Download
Vosotros/as
oléis
Download
Uds., ellos, ellas
huelen

Por ejemplo:

In the next section we’ll work on more Spanish Irregular Verbs: Spanish Irregular Verbs in the "Yo" form.

Download
Huelo el aire del mar.
I smell the air from the sea.

In the next section we’ll work on more Spanish Irregular Verbs: Spanish Irregular Verbs in the "Yo" form.

Testing!

Test yourself with the Rocket Spanish testing tools! Improve your knowledge of Spanish and earn points for your badges along the way!

Note that the tests below are listed from easiest to hardest. Also, when a test is successfully rated the rating icon will at the top right of this page will show that rating.

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?


Yogesh Patel - Saint Charles/IL, USA - Rocket Spanish

"Rocket Spanish is great. It helped me significantly on my trip to Spain. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wishes to travel to a Spanish speaking country or just wishes to improve..."

Read More

Yogesh Patel

Saint Charles/IL, USA

"Rocket Spanish is great. It helped me significantly on my trip to Spain. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wishes to travel to a Spanish speaking country or just wishes to improve..."

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 great. It helped me significantly on my trip to Spain. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wishes to travel to a Spanish speaking country or just wishes to improve conversational skills. Easy to use.


Debi Williams - United States - Rocket Spanish

"This is fun! It is not like school work instead it is like playing games. The best part is listening to the speakers speak the language so you can 'get' the ear!"

Read More

Debi Williams

United States

"This is fun! It is not like school work instead it is like playing games. The best part is listening to the speakers speak the language so you can 'get' the ear!"

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 fun! It is not like school work instead it is like playing games. The best part is listening to the speakers speak the language so you can 'get' the ear! I am spending thirty minutes on Rocket Spanish five times a week and it is paying off!


Jim Sobraske - Crystal, Minnesota, United States - Rocket Spanish

"The mobile app for the iphone is very useful for me. I'm able to use it during the day, and in the car on my way home from work. Most of the time I am not able to sit at my computer until late..."

Read More

Jim Sobraske

Crystal, Minnesota, United States

"The mobile app for the iphone is very useful for me. I'm able to use it during the day, and in the car on my way home from work. Most of the time I am not able to sit at my computer until late..."

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?

The mobile app for the iphone is very useful for me. I'm able to use it during the day, and in the car on my way home from work. Most of the time I am not able to sit at my computer until late in the evening, and by that time I'm too tired to concentrate on my Spanish learning. The iphone app makes all the difference for me.


Barbara Myerson - Massachusetts, USA - Rocket Spanish

"Rocket Spanish is a great way to learn and I have no regrets at all purchasing it."

Read More

Barbara Myerson

Massachusetts, USA

"Rocket Spanish is a great way to learn and I have no regrets at all purchasing it."

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!

I am enjoying my Spanish lessons I copied from Rocket Spanish on CD. As of now, I commute to work around 45 minutes everyday one way. It's great to just play a CD again and again until I feel comfortable moving to the next step. Plus, I have a commuter who was not at all interested in learning Spanish, but found himself picking the language up while I play the CD's for myself.

I work with a lot of Spanish speaking people and they are very supportive and helpful if I happen to have a question. Rocket Spanish is a great way to learn and I have no regrets at all purchasing it. It's is so much fun learning this fun language and now I found myself trying to listen in on others talking to see how I am coming along. Thank you very much!


Lisa Toothman - Talent, USA - Rocket Spanish

"It seems like such a great program to work on even more Spanish. I live in Mexico so I want to learn as much as I can learn! I like how organized this program is and it looks like it will work for me"

Read More

Lisa Toothman

Talent, USA

"It seems like such a great program to work on even more Spanish. I live in Mexico so I want to learn as much as I can learn! I like how organized this program is and it looks like it will work for me"

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?

It seems like such a great program to work on even more Spanish. I live in Mexico so I want to learn as much as I can learn! I like how organized this program is and it looks like it will work for me better than Rosetta stone.


FREE TRIAL