Talking about Regular and Irregular Verbs in Spanish

Regular and Irregular Verbs.

As in English, in Spanish there is also the definition of regular and irregular verbs. The difference between the two concepts is given in that for English, regular verbs are those in which the variation of time simple past and past participle with respect to the simple present, only is given by the inclusion of the “ed” ending. In the case of irregular verbs simple past and past participle differ markedly from the simple present and there is not a definite rule that can be applied to identify them.

We will illustrate these concepts with the following tables:

Regular Verbs

Infinitive Simple Present Simple Past Past Participle Present Participle

to laugh





to start





to wash





to wink






and for the irregular Verbs:


Irregular Verbs


Simple Present

Simple Past

Past Participle

Present Participle

to drive





to feel





to swim






As we can see, the modifications suffered by the verbs of the simple present to the past simple tense and participle, it makes them totally different and without any rule that will help us to “build” the tenses. In the case of English, we are obliged to learn the long list of irregular verbs and their conjugations in different tenses.

In Spanish, the rule that describes the difference between regular and irregular verbs is also well defined and is associated with the definition of the word Root. Cooling that concept, which we discussed in our previous Post, we can mention that the Root of a verb, is the part of the word that remains after removing the verbal termination (“ar”, “er” or “ir”). And that is precisely the definition of regular verbs:

A Regular verb is that verb that conjugates in a fully uniform manner, without modifying its root, using the endings for each mode and time of conjugation they belong.

To clarify this better, let’s look at an example. Let’s take two verbs, “Caminar” (to walk) y “Decir” (to say).

The conjugation of the verb “Caminar” to the Simple present is as follows:

Simple Present Verb Caminar

Yo camino

Nosotros caminamos

Tu caminas

Ustedes caminan

Él/Ella camina

Ellos/Ellas caminan


The root of verb Caminar (ending “ar”) is “camin” and is indicated in red on the conjugates of the table. As you can see, there are no changes at the root of the displayed verb conjugations. As far as we can see, the verb “Caminar” is Regular.

We are going to conjugate the verb “Decir”, whose root is “dec” and the ending is “ir”:

Simple Present Verb Decir

Yo digo

Nosotros decimos

Tú dices

Ustedes dicen

Él/Ella dice

Ellos/Ellas dicen


As we can see, only a conjugation is the same root, so we can say that the verb “Decir” is irregular.

Both examples are easy to understand, but there are cases that have greater difficulty and in which applied a series of rules that are difficult to manage even for many of the Spanish-speaking natives.

In the following Post we will continue talking about these rules, but we want to remind to the reader that must have some of the basic tools for verbs that exist in Online sales, since our Web site is designed to help you with learning Tips and not to cover content that have those tools or courses that are on the market. Remember, the best way to learn the Regular and Irregular Verbs in Spanish is Listening, Reading and Repeating them.

Now, once at this point, we want to clarify, once again, some criteria which we believe are of interest to visitors to our Web site.

We have seen many sites Online that “preach” teaching Spanish in a fast and easy way. Learning a new language is never an easy task. And when our native language is English, a language practical and simplified, and we want to learn Spanish, which is a language excessively adorned and with a great grammatical complexity, the task is even more difficult.

Although our website is not, nor is intended to be, a Spanish course, our commitment to our readers is to help them to “climb the steep slope” of language learning, so we always insist that the reader learn and measure the difficulty, so thus it does not suffer further disappointments when appear hard tasks to achieve fluency, and comprehension of the Spanish-speaking people.

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Written By Alberto Otano

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