Verbs Vowel Change

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Verbs with vowel change in the stem

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Many irregular verbs have changes in the stem vowel. These changes include the formation of a double sound (diphtongization), vowel changes and stress changes.

[Diphtongization, vowel change and stress change only affect the stem of a verb. The endings remain unchanged. The stem vowels in the 1st and 2nd person Plural also remain unchanged.]

That the 1st and 2nd person plural have no stem vowel changes is due to the emphasis. Only the stem stressed forms are changed.

Formation of double sounds (diphtongization)
By diphthongization one understands the change from a single vowel (Monophtong) to a double sound (Diphtong).

There are two diphtongizations in Spanish:

  • the change from –o- to –ue- and from –e- to–ie-

Spanish diphtongs, e.g. ie and ue, are pronounced as two single vowels i+e and u+e.


O – ue

Verbs with the stem vowel -o- and their compositions belong to this group.

Soñar Poder
Yo Sueño Puedo
Sueñas Puedes
Él/ella, usted Sueña Puede
Nosotros/-as Soñamos Podamos
Vosotros/-as Soñáis Podéis
Ellos/-as, ustedes Sueñan Pueden

Further verbs are:

Contar, dormir, morir, volar, acostarse, devolver, volver, mover, soler, rogar, encontrar(se), demostrar


E – ie

These include some verbs with the stem vowel –e-

Cerrar sentir
Yo Cierro Siento
Cierras Sientas
Él/ella, usted Cierra Sienta
Nosotros/-as Cerramos Sentimos
Vosotros/-as Cerráis Sentís
Ellos/-as, ustedes Cierran Sienten

Further verbs are:

Pensar, querer, calentar, preferir, defender, comenzar, encender, atravesar, empezar, recomendar, entender


Change of the stem vowel

In some verbs of the –ir conjugation with the stem vowel -e-, the stem vowel is replaced by a -i- . Also here the 1st and 2nd person plural remain unchanged.

E – i

Servir Medir
Yo Sirvo Mido
Sirves Mides
Él/ella, usted Sirve Mide
Nosotros/-as Servimos Medimos
Vosotros/-as Servís Medís
Ellos/-as, ustedes Sirven Miden

Further verbs are:

Pedir, reír, elegir, vestirse, concebir, despedir, impedir, repetir

Changing the end vowel

In addition to the change of the stem vowel, some verbs of the -ir conjugation replace the -i- of the ending with a -y-. However, this only applies to verbs whose stem ends on an unstressed -u- (e.g. constru-ir).

I – y

Destruir Excluir
Yo Destruyo Excluyo
Destruyes Excluyes
Él/ella, usted Destruye Excluye
Nosotros/-as Destruimos Excluimos
Vosotros/-as Destruís Excluís
Ellos/-as, ustedes Destruyen excluyen

Further verbs are:

Constituir, construir, concluir, contribuir, sustituir, influir, disminuir, distribuir, incluir, huir

Change of stress

In a group of verbs that end on – iar and -uar, the emphasis changes from -i- or –u-. In this group there are only verbs of -ar conjugation. The otherwise unstressed vowel -i- or -u- at the end of the verbal stem is emphasized.

i-í

Confiar
Yo Confía
Confías
Él/ella, usted Confía
Nosotros/-as Confiamos
Vosotros/-as Confiáis
Ellos/-as, ustedes Confían

Further verbs are:

Enviar, variar, biografiar, guiar, caligrafiar


U – ú

Actuar
Yo Actúo
Actúas
Él/ella, usted Actúa
Nosotros/-as Actuamos
Vosotros/-as Actuáis
Ellos/-as, ustedes Actúan

Further verbs are:

Continuar, fluctuar, acentuar, situar, puntuar, licuar