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Lesson
Quiz 1
Quiz 2
Quiz 3

Verbs with u, i, and j stems



Mouse-over Spanish text fragments in red to see English translation
The following verbs are all irregular in the preterite and are grouped in 3 different categories according to the irregularity they share in the stem (front part of the infinitive which precedes the endings -ar, -er, and -ir).
  1. “u”-stem verbs: ALL the persons have the vowel “u” in the stem of the preterite.

  2. “i”-stem verbs: ALL the persons have the vowel “i” in the stem of the preterite.

  3. “j”-stem verbs: ALL the persons have the consonant “j” in the stem of the preterite.

Pay careful attention to their conjugations. Notice the stem in the infinitive (in blue), the spelling change in the stem of the preterite (in red), and the endings (in black). Notice that all these verbs share the same endings: -e, -iste, -o, -imos, -isteis, -ieron; with the only exception in the third person plural of the “j”-stem verbs, which omit the i of -ieron.
Also, notice that no accents whatsoever are required!

I. “u”-stem verbs

estar estuve estuvimos
(to be) estuviste estuvisteis
estuvo estuvieron
andar anduve anduvimos
(to walk) anduviste anduvisteis
anduvo anduvieron
saber supe supimos
(to know) supiste supisteis
supo supieron
poner puse pusimos
(to put, to place) pusiste pusisteis
puso pusieron
poder pude pudimos
(to be able to) pudiste pudisteis
pudo pudieron
tener tuve tuvimos
(to have) tuviste tuvisteis
tuvo tuvieron

II. “i”-stem verbs

hacer hice hicimos
(to do, to make) hiciste hicisteis
hizo hicieron
querer quise quisimos
(to want, to love) quisiste quisisteis
quiso quisieron
vener vine vinimos
(to come) viniste vinisteis
vino vinieron

III. “j”-stem verbs

conducir conduje condujimos
(to drive) condujiste condujisteis
condujo condujeron
producir produje produjimos
(to produce) produjiste produjisteis
produjo produjeron
traducir traduje tradujimos
(to translate) tradujiste tradujisteis
tradujo tradujeron
traer traje trajimos
(to bring) trajiste trajisteis
trajo trajeron
decir dije dijimos
(to say, to tell) dijiste dijisteis
dijo dijeron

Note 1: Notice the spelling change in the third person singular of hacer; it is not “hico” but “hizo, ” to maintain the same sound than the other forms. Remember that before vowels a, o, u, we use “z;” and before vowels i, e, we use “c.” For example: zapato, cereza, ciruela, zorro, zumo.

Note 2:The verb decir has been grouped under the “j”-stem verbs, but notice that this verb also undergoes another spelling change, namely, the “e” in the stem of the infinitive changes to “i” in te stem of the preterite.

Note 3: In Latin America, the verb used for to drive is manejar; conducir is only used in Spain. The preterite of manejar is: manejé, manejaste, manejó, manejamos, manejaron (all its forms are regular).

Examples:

Estuve en coma una semana.
I was in a coma one a week.

No supieron qué decir.
They didn’t know what to say.

¿Pusiste la ropa sucia en la lavadora?
Did you put the dirty clothes in the washer?

No pudimos encontrar el hotel.
We couldn’t find the hotel.

¿Tuvisteis la oportunidad de viajar a Japón?
Did you guys had the opportunity to travel to Japan?

Hizo todo lo que pudo.
He did everything he could.

Todos quisimos mucho a nuestros padres.
We all loved our parents very much.

¿Por qué no vinisteis con nosotros a la playa?
Why you guys didn’t come with us to the beach?

Condujeron toda la noche.
They drove all night.

Sus negocios produjeron muchos beneficios.
His businesses produced a lot of benefits.

¿Quién tradujo este poema?
Who translated this poem?

Vosotros dos no trajisteis nada para comer.
You two brought nothing to eat.

Perdón, ¿qué dijiste?
Excuse me, what did you say?